Cornish Rex History


The first Cornish Rex

Kallibunker was the first Rex ever registered…Born on July 21, 1950, his registration number is SR78021. Kallibunker died on September 12, 1956

The first Rex coated cat, recognized as such, appeared on a farm in Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, England. A tortie and white cat named Serena delivered a litter of five kittens on July 21, 1950.

The cat and her kittens belonged to Mrs. Nina Ennismore. In the litter was a curly coated cream male that she named Kallibunker. Since Mrs. Ennismore knew of a similar mutation in rabbits, she called the new coat in cats the same name, specifically Rex.

And so it began with Kallibunker, Although Kalli had sired Butterfly and Orange Girl, it was not until 1952 that he was bred to his dam Serena. Their litter of three kittens, born August 27, 1952, contained two Rex coated kittens which were kept. One of the kittens failed to thrive and died March 1953. However, the other Rex kitten named Poldhu grew to maturity and sired.  Poldhu was thought to be a blue-cream male, and because of his fertility, unfortunately, interested the local veterinarian. A testicular biopsy was done, and thereafter Poldhu sired no more. Helen Weiss had suggested that in all likelihood Poldhur was a blue tabby and white.

Although fertile blue-cream males are rare, they are not unheard of. Kallibunker and Poldhu were bred to several normal and Rex coated females. From the breeding came a number of cats that were historically significant. Millie Brim, a normal coated female, when bred to Poldhu produced Lamorna Cove. Another was Pendennis Castle, a red male. Lamorna Cove and Pendennis Castle were sent to California.

Kallibunker’s brief span of life was from 1950 to 1956. Although Mrs. Ennismore received help with the breed from the late Mr. Brian Sterling-Webb and A C Jude, she bore the brunt of expense herself. Ultimately, she destroyed a number of Rex and the dam Serena and her son Kallibunker were among the number destroyed.

Mrs. Ennismore had enlisted the help of interested breeders, and they worked together to preserve the breed. Mr. Sterling-Webb had bought a male and two females. Mr. Rickeard had been given a cream male.

In 1957 Lamorna Cove and Pendennis Castle went to Mrs. Frances Blancheri in California. Having been bred to Poldhur prior to export, Lamorna delivered four kitten; one died in less than a year, one male lived to age six years and never sired, while the other two kittens went on to establish the Cornish Rex in America.

The kittens were Diamond Lil of Fan-T-Cee and Marmaduke of Daz-Zling. Diamond Lil went to Mrs. Fred Galvin, while Marmaduke went to Mrs. Helen Weiss. Various breeding are outline by Mrs. Weiss in her excellent article Rex the King, published in the CFA Year Book, 1965. It is important to note that Diamond Lil and Lamorna cove had no more kittens.* Reference 1974 CFA Year Book



Photographed at three years of age. He is in the pedigree of most Cornish Rex cats