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Tennessee Rex Breed Description
2006: The Tennessee Rex is a naturally occurring mutation that spontaneously appeared in the Tennessee Valley in the summer of 2004. The cats are curly coated from birth with a very soft consistency to the coat. The coat includes all types of hair (guard, awn, down), however the guard hairs are softer and finer than usual. The curly hair is most prominent on the neck, shoulders, chest, legs, and tail. The soft textured coat has a definite satin sheen and does not tend to mat. The fur glistens in the light with a rich satin appearance that intensifies the color of the coat. The satin appearance is believed to be an expression of the Tennessee Rex mutation in the hair shaft along with the curly hair. The satin effect is caused by "air pockets" in the hair shaft. The hair seems to be more fragile on the back feet and the hair may appear to "molt" in that area. As kittens the fur in the temple area between the ear and eyes may thin at about four months of age, but in general the cats do not appear to have the tendency toward baldness seen in some of the other rex mutations.
The Tennessee Rex is a medium to large-sized cat, with a semi-cobby type body and a short and thick neck. The ears are medium to moderately large with slightly rounded tips and wide at the base. The eyes are medium large which are almond shape at rest and rounder when alert. The eyes can be all colors. The nose should be straight with no bump. The chest is full with fully rexed hair extending down the chest to the stomach. The torso is large, long, and rectangular, but not slender, with very curly hair starting at the base of the ears and becoming wavy as it extends toward the hips. The curly hair follows the same pattern on the stomach as on the back, starting small and curly on the chest at the base of the chin and becoming long and wavy at the flanks. The body is muscular and athletic in appearance. The back is straight, but higher in the hips. The legs have very curly hair extending all the way and including the shoulders. The legs are in proportion to the body, with large, rounded paws that are fully rexed. The rear legs are very curly on the front edge, which turn into wavy fur on the britches. The tail is wide at the base and tapering to the tip. The tail is three-quarters to full length and fully rexed. The longhaired Tennessee Rex will have a full plumed tail. The whiskers may be long or short, but will always be slightly to extremely curly. The whiskers can also be fragile and some breakage may occur. The coat can be all colors and patterns with eye color being independent of the coat.
The temperament is gentle and loving. The Tennessee Rex will often follow its owner around and sit at their feet. The only allowable outcrosses will be domestic shorthair and domestic longhair and no recognized breed. Crosses to other rex mutations are to be discouraged. The Tennessee Rex appears to be a strong, solid, healthy cat and should make a fine addition to the cat fancy. The coat is unique and is quite distinctive in structure and appearance from the other known rex mutations.
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