Just to be clear, there was no hanky-panky between poodles and cats to make a poodle cat. Rather, in 1987 a stray cat in Montana had a litter of five kittens in which one kitten was bestowed with a genetic mutation that made its fur uniquely thick and curly. A breeder of persian cats, Jeri Newman, adopted the kitten and named her Agnes DiPesto (or Miss DiPesto) after the curly-haired receptionist in the popular 1980s TV show, “Moonlighting.”
Realizing that Miss DiPesto was an unusual cat, Jeri had her genetically tested and learned that indeed, Miss DiPesto was genetically distinct from other cats due to this random mutation in the fur gene. So, Jeri created a distinct bloodline of cats with this mutation dubbing them “poodle cats.” Nine generations later, researchers from the University of Vienna declared that indeed poodle cats are a distinct breed and the fourth recognized “curly hair” breed of cat, which are now scientifically referred to as Selkirk Rex.
Since, the mutation is dominant, poodle cats can be bred with other cat breeds and retain their unique thick curly fur. Hence, the wide variety of colors and both short and long-haired poodle cats. Some people refer to the breed as “a cat in sheep’s clothing.”
If you covet one of these plush kitties however, be prepared to fork over about $1000 as the breed is still rare. Furthermore, if you have even a hint of feline allergies a poodle cat is not for you — they shed frequently and copiously!