Tennessee Rex Origin and history



Breeding here at UpperValley Cattery has resumed

It has been several months since this site has been updated. We adjourned breeding the Tennessee Rex here with all the kittens going to other breeders to continue genetic diversification and handle the advancement to Preliminary New Breed at The International Cat Association. This has become necessary while I go through cancer treatments and other challenges, The Tennessee Rex breeding has now resumed. We have received a queen from a prospective breeder in the Midwest US for mating with out full curly male, UpperValley Pippin, the one full TR cat we retained during the oeriod of chemotherapy and other health issues. The Multiple Myeloma, the same cancer that NBC News anchor, Tom Brokaw,has had to deal with. The cancer is active but causing problems at this time. We expect to start a new litter of TR carriers as soon as our new queen signals she's ready. We are looking forward to a litter on the ground before the end of the year and kittens ready by Spring, 2019.

UpperValley welcomes Europe with the addition of the Furor Poeticus cattery in Poland. Elzbieta received our sire UpperValley Franklin on Monday 8 November. Expansion of the effort to develop the Tennessee (Satin) Rex breed into the EU is great news. We also expect to have another breeder in The Netherlands in the not too distant future

We have added several breeders in Canada and will be adding Australia to the list very soon. Additionally the originator of the breed, Mr Franklin Wittenburgh and other breeders are supporting the advancement as breeders and adding to the Tennessee Rex cats registered. By the time we make the presentation for advancement into the show rings we will have the required number of cats over eight months old to apply for the second stage, Advanced New Breed, but will have to wait a year before applying for that advancement.

The rest of our Tennessee Rex chapter here at this web site will be updated between now and the end of January, 2018.

Sandra received two cats from the UpperValley cattery in Fall, 2016. And on 6 November 2016 two of our March 2016 kittens landed in Victoria, BC after a long and arduous flight from Montreal. The nearly eight month old kittens are UpperValley Keri and Kira. They join Sparta and Hecktar, the cats that have already given Sandra several litters.

A kitten from one of their litters will be returned to our cattery and mated with a kitten from yet another breeder during the Fall of 2018. When we mate cats that each carry one of the curly hair genes the kittens from such a mating will statistically include one in four full curly hair Tennessee Satin Rex kittens. The other kittens are possible carriers but there is no way currently to test for the gene except by mating. These kittens become available as household pets that may carry the TR gene.

We then repeat this process over and over again using new mates in each generation, adding diversity, improved health and quality to the breed.

It takes "guts" to go through this breeding process for the curly hair Rex cat. All the effort and not even one curly hair kitten from thees cats that have been sent to the breeders. ALL the first generation kittens will just look like household pets from a shelter. But hiding inside is that special gene now mixed in with new genes that will add to quality of the cats in future generations.

Each breeder will exchange these carrier kittens and breed the carriers for that one in four special kitten. It will then be time to celebrate and announce that we have moved one generation closer to breeding the Tennessee Satin Rex cats together and have the quality and stamina needed for a successful new cat breed. Our hats off to the pioneers working on the Tennessee Satin Rex.

Copyright Franklin Wittenburg
Copyright Franklin Wittenburg

One of the original
Tennessee Rex cats
from about 15 years ago.

Here is a youtube video about
the Tennessee Rex breed

We have been told that one of the queens that has been bred to our outcross sires is about to have a litter of second generation outcross kittens. News about this new litter will be placed on our 2015 Tennessee Rex Kittens page We have only one kitten left from our previous 2014 litters She is an outcross kitten with very pretty long red hair including some white. Click this link to go to the 2014 kittens page to see her picture: 2014 kittens

The last information that we have
found from Franklin is posted here:

From Franklin Whittenburg --

I would like to take this opportunity to explain how the other T-Rex breeders are participating in the Tennessee Rex program. Originally I had the only two satin rexed males. Those two original males were mated to 3 different lines of unrelated females which produced all straight haired non satin kittens. Since I was the only one that had cats that possesed the satin rexed trait, I considered it risky to be in possesion of the only two and my first priority was in saving the gene mutations.

Since all the other T-Rex breeders only had straight haired non satin "carriers" of the T-Rex recessive gene, they saw about a 25% success rate, when mixing and matching, at producing satin rexed kittens which falls in line with what they should be seeing from a recessive gene mutation. I, on the other hand, had the original two homozygous T-Rex males, so I had the luxury of "double dipping" into the T-Rex gene pool by swap mating the two original satin rexed males with the straight haired non satin T-Rex gene "carriers" from the same first litters I sent the other breeders. This resulted in me seeing mixed Tennessee Rexed litters at 50% 20% 40% 75%. All breeders at this stage should have both male and female homozygous Tennessee Rexes and I can now provide any new breeders with homozygous satin rexed(T-Rex) male and female cats that will produce full homozygous Tennessee Rex litters.

I kept the cats from the first matings that I wanted to experiment with and sent the other straight haired non satin "carriers" of the recessive T-Rex mutations to other breeders**. To give the other breeders the best chance of having the most diverse gene pool to work from, I would take a straight haired T-Rex gene "carrier" from line 2 and match it with a straight haired T-Rex gene, "carrier" from line 1 or line 3 and send them to the breeder depending on which colors they wanted to work with. A breeder out west wanted to work with reds and creams so I sent them a cream female from line 2 and a red from line 1. A couple of breeders in the northern US wanted to work with blues and reds so I sent them straight haired T-rex gene "carriers" from all three lines to mix and match to see what they could get.

** note: we were one of these breeders

Enigma  now a 10 year old
Enigma now a 10 year old

This is Enigma as a kitten

Over several years and with several other breeders the breed developed enough backing to make application to The International Cat Association for the start of the recognition. The breed has advanced from Experimental to Registration Only and now in 2018 to Preliminary New Breed. The next step, to move up to Advanced New Breed will require many more breeders in new TICA Regions. Our first opportunity for this advancement will take place in 2019.

We are now looking for breeders who would be keenly interested in development of the breed and will have the time and facilities to breed these kittens. Some of the litters will only produce statically one in four rexed kittens and there will be expenses associated with this project. Also to qualify for the advancement the breeders will have to be TICA members for their litters to be included in the count. However, they do not have to have a TICA registered cattery, just a desire to advance the breed.


Franklin, a three day old TR
Franklin, a three day old TR

Our first curly hair Tennessee Rex arrived on 9 February 2015 at about 3 AM. He is one of three kittens out of Highball Sprinter, a cat that was from our first litter two years prior. The other two kittens are not curly. We have named him, Franklin, after a city in Tennessee.


Tennessee Rex Cats are here in UpperValley Cattery

It is with heavy heart that we report Doctor Solveig Pflueger, our mentor and guide in the development of the Tennessee Rex breed has passed away. She was director of the TICA Genetics group and worked with many breeders regarding different genetics studies. It was her work that focused the process we follow in developing the genetic diversity needed to make the Tennessee Rex a viable breed. . Dr. Pfueger is sorely missed. We will continue the development of the Tennessee Rex as a tribute to her memory.

We received three Tennessee Rex cats for breeding here in Vermont and were successful in breeding our outcross girl to the full TR male. This boy has been living in a breeder cage for too long a time and we are beginning to see improvements as we work to get him acclimated to living in a stud room at our new UpperValley cat facility also known as "The Best Little Cat House in New England." There are only a few cats that carry the TR gene mutation, however we now have one male kitten that is curly hair and carries the mutation from both outcross parents. This is great news and the beginning of a new generation of outcrossews and we expand the genetic diversity with the goal of being to mste TR to TR.

Page Revised 11 October 2018 @ 12am
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