The Devon Rex looks as if he sprang straight out of a Japanese anime film. His triangular head, oversize ears and zany personality do little to deny that this is one unusual cat. He’s the fascinating result of a natural mutation — one that obviously
included a gene for silliness. He likes to ride on shoulders, learn (and do) tricks and
chatter to you about his day. Clad in short, silky, fine hair, the Devon has a coat
that can feel like soft suede, or it can have a whirled and curled appearance.
This is a social and curious cat who loves the company of his people.
He’ll be unhappy if left to his own devices, so choose this breed only if
you’ll enjoy spending plenty of time in his company.
Living with a
The social and affectionate Devon
Rex communicates in a pleasant voice.
Trills, coos and chirps supplement the
meow and the purr.
The Devon Rex enjoys being a lap
cat and sleeping under the covers at
night. Think snuggling with an animated hot water bottle covered in crinkly
This breed’s “wash-and-go” coat is
easy to care for. Rub it lightly with a
chamois, or simply run your hand over it.
Voila! He’s groomed. However, his naturally waxy ears need frequent cleaning.
What you should know
The Devon Rex is a medium-size
cat and typically weighs 6 to 9
pounds. His coat comes in a wide array
of colors and patterns, including shaded, smoke, tabby, bi-color and pointed.
This breed has a reputation for
being hypoallergenic because of his
coat type, but that’s not really true of
any cat or dog breed. It’s dander (dead
skin cells), saliva and urine that carry
allergens, and all cats produce those
substances. It’s true that some people
with cat allergies tolerate this breed,
but spend some time with one to
The Devon’s lightly furred body
may need a sweater in winter to help
him stay warm.
The Devon Rex has certain
disease predispositions, including
hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the
most common form of heart disease
in cats; an orthopedic condition of
the knees called medial patellar
luxation; and hair loss resulting in
The founding, er, feline of the
breed was a cat named — what else?
— Kirlee. He was born to a stray cat
in Devonshire, England. The woman
caring for the cat, Beryl Cox, was fascinated by the kitten with the unusual
coat. Over the years, several other
kittens in the area were born with
“rexed” coats, referring to the genetic
mutation that results in soft, curly fur.
Cat fanciers became interested
in the new variety, which turned out
to be unrelated genetically to the
Cornish Rex. Kirlee was acquired for a
breeding program. By 1967, the Devon
had become a recognized breed in
Europe, and in 1968 a breeding program began in the United States.
The American Cat Fanciers Association
was the first organization to recognize the cats as a distinct breed, in
1972. The Cat Fanciers’ Association
granted them full recognition in 1983,
and the breed was granted championship status in The International Cat
Association in 1979.
Like a cat with a sense of humor?
The fun-loving and playful Devon has
been described as combining the traits
of a cat, a dog, a monkey and Dennis
the Menace. He has a reputation for
loving kids and getting along with all
kinds of pets.
The Devon’s coat molts as kittens
mature. The coat may also change seasonally. Cats shed, and the Devon is
no exception, but his shedding is less
noticeable than that of many other
This is not the classic finicky
feline. The Devon Rex loves to nosh
off your plate and will try exotic
items such as olives, asparagus tips
or whatever else he can get his paws
on. If you don’t offer food, he’ll try to
guilt you out of it with sad and hungry eyes. Guard your steak!
Kim Campbell Thornton
has been writing about
cats and dogs for 31 years.
She is the award-winning
author of more than two
dozen books and hun-
dreds of articles on pet care, health and
behavior. Her muses are two Cavaliers and
DiD You KNoW? The Devon Rex is known as the pixie of the cat fancy.
coat is easy to care for!