Cornish Rex Pixel & Sophie Put on a Show
Cornish Rex Pixel & Sophie Put on a Show for their fans and the show circuit Read on to learn about the breed and what it is like being a show champion.
by Robert Hudson
Pixel and Sophie are a wonderful representation of their breed. Adorable little faces, wirily and athletic bodies, and that skinny tail. They show a comedic demeanor like little clowns.
“The unique look of the breed is what first drew me to the Cornish Rex, but after seeing their personalities and how energetic and playful they are, I fell absolutely head over heels for them. I’d have to say that their clownish personalities are my favorite Cornish Rex trait,” Alyson told me.
She went on to say, “Pixel turned 3 years old this past December 9th, and Sophie will celebrate her 3rd birthday on May 30, 2022.”
The Cornish Rex was developed from the Siamese cat. A barn cat with kittens was discovered that had a kitten with a very short and wavy/curly hair coat. The kitten was later bred with the Mother cat that produced two more kittens with the natural mutation. These were then bred with the Siamese, Burmese, and British Shorthair. Normal cats have a three layer coat. The bottom layer is like a fine down and curly. The Cornish Rex only has the curly undercoat. The coat is thin without a great amount of protection, making the breed more susceptible to heat, cold, and sunburn.
- Life Span: 11 to 15 years
- Weight: 6 to 10 pounds
- Origin: United Kingdom
- Congenital hypotrichosis, otherwise known as hereditary baldness, a condition that is probably the result of an inherited recessive gene. The Cornish Rex naturally has a very fine coat, but those with less hair than normal for the breed are considered to be hypotricotic.
- Umbilical hernia, which occurs when a defect in the abdominal wall—near the umbilicus, hence the name—allows part of the intestine or other abdominal organs to protrude through the abdominal wall. The last known report of umbilical hernias in the breed was from 1997. Umbilical hernias can also have non-genetic causes.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease that is inherited in some cat breeds such as the Maine Coon. Heritability has not been proven in the Cornish Rex.
All in the family
Breeds that were developed from the Siamese share many of the same traits. One trait that the Cornish Rex does not have from the Siamese family is being very vocal. It is not chatty nor does it have that warbling, piercing cry of the Siamese cat that sounds a lot like a human baby crying.
Breeds derived from the Siamese are:
- Havana Brown,
- Oriental Shorthair,
- Oriental Longhair,
- Thai Cat,
- Tonkinese and
- Mekong Bobtail.
The Big Show
In addition to showing her fans the antics of these little imps, Alyson competes at breed shows, and Pixel is a champ. I asked Alyson to tell us more about this experience.
How did you first get into showing?
I have always had an interest in showing and let the breeder know that I was looking for a show-quality kitten when I first set out to get Pixel. The owner of Browncoats Cattery, Jeremy Basterash, was well-versed in breeding and agreed to mentor me and help me get started.
What was your first competitive show like, was it nerve racking?
I was so nervous the first time we went to a show! I felt like I had no idea what to do, but luckily Jeremy and others stepped in to show me the ropes every step of the way. Quickly I found that it’s not only the cats, but the incredible people in the cat show community that make it such an awesome experience. With the help of other, more seasoned exhibitors, I learned what to do quickly and Pixel came away from his first show with a 9th Best Kitten final.
Do you need to train a cat to show?
The only thing a cat needs to do in order to show successfully is to be calm in the presence of people and other cats so that the judge can effectively examine them. This doesn’t really require training, but it is helpful if you’re able to condition your cat to being handled by other people at a young age.
How do you know if your cat is suitable for competition?
One thing that I love about cat shows is that literally any cat can be a show cat — there is even a class for non-pedigreed kitties, the Household Pet Class — so if your cat is healthy and agreeable to handling, then they are more than suitable for entry! Another thing I love is that you can show cats that have been spayed or neutered in the Alter class. In fact, Pixel and Sophie are both Alters and show in that class.
Does it require a monetary investment?
Showing cats is definitely not a cheap hobby. If you’d like to get into it, you’ll want to budget for show entry fees, a suitable enclosure for your cats when they are not in the show ring, hotel costs, and more. Once you do your first show, you’re likely to be hooked — so these can quickly become recurring costs that you’ll need to plan for.
Do you get nervous being in front of a large audience?
I have always had a bit of stage fright, but the good thing about cat shows is that most of the focus is on the cats rather than the people, so it helps! The only time you really get singled out is if your cat is lucky enough to place in the finals, and in that case I’m usually too excited to worry about being in front of people.
Is the community supportive of one another,, or is it a mad competition?
There is competition, but it is honestly the friendliest competition I have ever been a part of. I love the fact that the show community is so helpful and supportive of new exhibitors and so willing to help them get started in the hobby. W+e all cheer each other’s cats and it is really an amazing thing to be a part of.
Why do you show, what keeps you going?
I first started showing because I thought it would be neat to have a cat with a champion title, but I quickly found that the reason I always wanted to go back was for the incredible friendships that I’ve made with others in the show community. There is something very special about being part of an event that is for and by people who love their cats more than anything in the world. I really feel like I found my “tribe” in the show halls.
In the show, what is the criteria you are being judged for?
Each breed is judged against a written breed standard. So in effect, the cats aren’t really competing with each other as much as they are competing against the standard. This describes the ideal presentation of a particular breed.
Do you travel a lot, or is it all local to you?
Showing cats definitely involved traveling! Most shows do require some travel and overnight hotel stays. Now and then I am lucky enough to find one close enough to home.
What is the hardest part of showing?
The hardest part, for me, has been all the travel costs. It can add up and make it difficult to get to as many shows as I’d like to do.
Meanwhile…at the Cat House..
Back home it’s non stop action and giggles. “Pixel and Sophie are by far the most active, and interactive, cats that I have ever owned. They are very high-energy and sometimes dog-like in personality,” exclaimed Alyson. They are snuggly, cuddly lap cats on their own terms. But also have a ton of energy and a kitten-like drive to play that absolutely enchants me. These are not the type of cats to lie around in their beds all day. They want to be in the middle of everything that the family is doing.”
It is non stop entertainment in this home. “One of my favorite things about Pixel and Sophie is how clownish they can be. They love to climb and I often find them in hilarious places. For example, on top of my shower curtain rod. My husband and I jokingly call them our little monkeys.”
Most of their mischief-making seems to stem from curiosity about things. “If something new comes into the house, they are going to investigate it any way they can. For example, not long ago I brought a whole pineapple home, which is something they had never seen before. The next morning I find that they had rolled it off the counter and halfway across my living room.
Alyson cares deeply for the welfare and well being of her cats. You can see this in her social media and how she talks about her cats. Visit her on Facebook
Ask Alyson a question in the comments below.
Alyson’s advice for first time cat showing
“If someone is just starting out in cat shows, they should ask the show clerk to bench them with someone who wouldn’t mind helping them learn how shows work. In my experience, it’s not hard to find someone who would be willing to take a newbie under their wing, and having someone to ask when you have a question is priceless. They should also be prepared to spend a bit on entry fees and hotels, and to make weekend travel part of their lives during the show season. Most of all, they should expect to meet some of the most amazing people — people whose love for cats is more of a lifestyle than a passing interest.”