Devon Rex Cat: Breed Profile, Characteristics, and Care Guide

Devon Rex Cat

Have you ever seen a cat that looks like an elf? If you have, chances are you’ve met a Devon Rex, one of the most unique and charming cat breeds in the world. The Devon Rex has a distinctive wavy coat, large ears, and an elfin face that give it a whimsical appearance. But this breed is not just about looks. The Devon Rex is also an active, sociable, and friendly cat that loves to play, learn tricks, cuddle, and interact with humans and other pets. In this article, you will learn more about the Devon Rex’s characteristics, history, and care tips and why this breed can make a great companion for any family configuration.

Breed Overview

Weight Six to nine pounds
Length 18 inches long
Coat Length Short hair
Coat Color Any colors
Coat Pattern Solid, tabby, shaded, tortoiseshell, calico, and more
Eye Color Any color
Personality Active, playful, social
Hypoallergenic Yes
Good with Kids High
Good with Pets High
Origin England

History of the Devon Rex Cat

The Devon Rex cat was first discovered in the Devonshire region of England in 1960 when a woman named Beryl Cox stumbled across a novel curly-coated kitten that she named Kirlee. Cox initially believed that Kirlee was related to the Cornish Rex breed that had been developed a decade earlier from another curly-coated cat named Kallibunker. However, attempts to crossbreed Kirlee with Cornish Rex queens proved otherwise.

Kirlee was bred to female Cornish Rex cats to try to produce kittens sharing the same coat qualities of the Cornish Rex breed. Unfortunately, the mix only bred kittens with straight coats. Later, it was discovered that an unrelated gene mutation was responsible for Kirlee’s wavy coat and other features. This mutation was recessive, meaning that both parents had to carry it for their offspring to inherit it.

Following this realization, Cox developed a more comprehensive breeding program to preserve and promote Kirlee’s mutation. She contacted other breeders who had similar curly-coated cats and started exchanging kittens to expand the gene pool and avoid inbreeding. She also registered the new breed as Devon Rex after its place of origin and its rex-like coat (rex means king in Latin). The breed was recognized by various cat associations in the 1970s and 1980s and gained popularity among cat lovers for its unique appearance and personality.

The Devon Rex has also earned some nicknames for its elfin look and playful nature over the years. Some of these nicknames are pixie cat, alien cat, poodle cat, or monkey in a cat suit.

Devon Rex cat laying down and looking at the camera
Photo: Pixabay

Appearance

Coat

The most striking feature of the Devon Rex is its coat. The coat is soft and curly and varies in length, texture, and color among different cats. Some Devons have a short coat that feels like suede, while others have a longer coat resembling a lamb’s wool. The coat can come in any color or pattern, from solid white to calico to tabby. The coat requires minimal grooming and sheds less than other breeds. However, it is also fragile and can break off easily if brushed or combed. The best way to keep the coat healthy is to rub it gently with a cloth or your hand.

Size

The Devon Rex is a small but mighty cat with a friendly temperament. The cat usually weighs between six and nine pounds and stops growing at around 12 months. While not as vocal as other breeds, these cats make themselves known through their vibrant personality and playful behavior.

Another distinctive feature of the Devon Rex is its ears. The ears are extremely large, set low on the head with a wide base. These butterfly ears, along with the other facial features, give the breed a look like that of a pixie or elf. The ears are also very sensitive and expressive and can move independently to show the cat’s mood or curiosity.

Personality

The personality of the Devon Rex is as delightful as its appearance. This breed is exceptionally active, sociable, and friendly. The Devon Rex loves to play and can learn tricks such as fetching, jumping through hoops, or opening doors. It is not uncommon to see a Devon Rex climbing on curtains, shelves, or cabinets to explore its surroundings or find a high perch to observe the action. The Devon Rex also enjoys human company and will follow its owner around the house or snuggle up on their lap or shoulder. If all that wasn’t enough, they usually get along well with children and other pets and can adapt to any living situation.

Common Health Issues

The Devon Rex is generally a healthy breed that can live up to 15 years or more with proper care. However, like any other breed, it may be prone to some health problems that you should be aware of and watch out for. Some of these include:

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
  • Patellar luxation
  • Hereditary myopathy

To prevent or detect these health problems early, you should regularly take your Devon Rex to the vet for check-ups, vaccinations, and screenings. You should also spay or neuter your cat to prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce the risk of certain cancers. Additionally, you should keep your cat indoors or supervised when outside to protect it from accidents, infections, parasites, or predators.

Grooming

Caring for your Devon Rex’s coat, teeth, ears, nails, and eyes is also important to keep it healthy and happy. Here are some tips on how to do that:

  • Coat: The Devon Rex’s coat is delicate and requires minimal grooming. You should avoid brushing or combing it as it can damage or break off the fur. Instead, you can rub it gently with a cloth or your hand to distribute the natural oils and remove any dirt or loose hair. You can also bathe your cat occasionally with a mild shampoo made for cats if it gets greasy or dirty. However, you should not overdo it as it can dry out the skin and coat.
  • Teeth: The Devon Rex’s teeth need regular brushing to prevent plaque buildup and dental diseases. You should use a soft toothbrush and toothpaste made for cats and brush your cat’s teeth at least once a week. You can also give your cat dental treats or toys to help clean its teeth and freshen its breath.
  • Ears: The Devon Rex’s ears are large and prone to accumulating wax and debris. You should check them weekly and clean them if needed with a cotton cloth and a product made for cleaning cats’ ears. You should avoid using cotton swabs or anything that can damage the ear canal or eardrum. You should also watch out for signs of ear infections, such as redness, swelling, discharge, odor, or scratching.
  • Nails: The Devon Rex’s nails need regular trimming to prevent them from growing too long and causing problems such as ingrown nails, infections, or injuries. You should use a pair of nail clippers made for cats or humans and trim only the tip of the nail without cutting the quick (the pink part that contains blood vessels and nerves). You should trim your cat’s nails every two weeks or as needed.
  • Eyes: The Devon Rex’s eyes are big and expressive but can also get irritated by dust or allergens. You should wipe them gently with a damp cloth or a pet wipe to remove any discharge or crusts. You should also watch out for signs of eye problems such as redness, swelling, discharge, cloudiness, or squinting.

Lifestyle Care Needs

Providing adequate exercise, stimulation, nutrition, and warmth for your Devon Rex is also essential to keep it healthy and happy. Here are some tips on how to do that:

Exercise

The Devon Rex is a very active and athletic cat that needs plenty of physical and mental stimulation. You should provide your cat with various toys, puzzles, and games to keep it entertained and challenged. You should also play with your cat regularly and teach it tricks. You can also provide your cat with cat trees and perches to allow it to climb and explore its surroundings or find a high vantage point to observe the action.

Devon Rex cat playing in grass
Photo: Pixabay

Nutrition

The Devon Rex has a high metabolism and burns calories quickly due to its activity level and thin coat. You should feed your cat high-quality cat food that meets its nutritional needs and supports its health. You should avoid cheap or low-quality cat food that contains grains, fillers, or artificial ingredients that can harm your cat’s health or cause allergies. You should also avoid overfeeding your cat or giving it too many treats, as it can lead to obesity or other health problems. You should consult your vet for the best cat diet based on age, weight, activity level, and health condition.

Warmth

The Devon Rex has a thin coat that does not provide much insulation from cold or heat. You should keep your cat indoors or supervised when outside to protect it from extreme temperatures or weather conditions. You should also provide your cat with warm spots in the house where it can curl up and relax, such as sunny windowsills, heated beds, blankets, or your lap. You should also avoid exposing your cat to drafts or air conditioners that can chill it or dry out its skin and coat.

Where to Buy a Devon Rex Cat

You can expect to pay between $600 and $1000 for a Devon Rex kitten from a breeder depending on the quality and pedigree of the kitten.

You should do some research before choosing a breeder and make sure they are registered with reputable cat associations such as Cat Fanciers Association (CFA), The International Cat Association (TICA), or American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA). If you can, visit the breeder’s facility and meet the kittens and their parents before making a decision.

To get you started in your search, these associations keep a list of Devon Rex breeders:

Compared to a variety of other cat breeds, this one is just common enough that you may have some luck adopting from a rescue. Often the best option, in my opinion. This way, you can give a home to a cat that needs one and save money on the initial cost of buying a kitten. However, finding a Devon Rex at a shelter will be harder than at a breeder.

Conclusion

The Devon Rex is a unique and charming breed that can make a great companion for any family configuration. With its distinctive appearance, playful personality, and friendly nature, the Devon Rex will delight you with its antics and tricks and cuddle with you on your lap or shoulder.

We hope this article has helped you learn more about the Devon Rex breed and what it takes to care for one. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. If you already have a Devon Rex or are planning to get one, we would love to hear from you and see some pictures of your furry friend. Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful day with your Devon Rex! 😊

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FAQ

Q: Is the Devon Rex hypoallergenic?

A: The Devon Rex is considered to be hypoallergenic because it sheds less than other breeds and produces less dander and saliva that can trigger allergies. However, no cat is completely allergen-free, and some people may still be allergic to the Devon Rex. If you have allergies, you should consult your doctor before getting a Devon Rex and spend some time with the cat before adopting or buying it.

Q: How often should I bathe my Devon Rex?

A: The Devon Rex has a thin coat that can get greasy or dirty easily, especially in the folds of its skin. You should bathe your Devon Rex occasionally with a mild shampoo made for cats if it gets greasy or dirty. However, you should not overdo it as it can dry out the skin and coat. You can also wipe your Devon Rex with a damp or pet wipe to keep it fresh and clean.

Q: What are some common health problems of the Devon Rex?

A: The Devon Rex is generally a healthy breed, but it may be prone to some health problems such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), patellar luxation, or hereditary myopathy. These are inherited conditions that affect the cat’s heart, knee, or muscles. You should take your Devon Rex to the vet regularly for check-ups, vaccinations, and screenings and watch out for any signs of these problems. You should also spay or neuter your cat to prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Q: How do I trim my Devon Rex’s nails?

A: The Devon Rex’s nails need regular trimming to prevent them from growing too long and causing problems such as ingrown nails, infections, or injuries. You should use a pair of nail clippers made for cats or humans and trim only the tip of the nail without cutting the quick (the pink part that contains blood vessels and nerves). You should trim your cat’s nails every two weeks or as needed. If you cut the quick by accident, you should apply pressure on the tip of the nail and use styptic powder or cornstarch to stop the bleeding. You should also clean the area with mild soap meant for cats and watch for any signs of infection.

Q: Where can I find a Devon Rex to adopt or buy?

A: Oftentimes, cat associations, such as Cat Fanciers Association (CFA), The International Cat Association (TICA), or American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA), keep a list of registered breeders.

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