Devon Rex Cat
History of the Devon Rex
The Devon didn't settle into the unsuspecting laps of us humans until 1960. The father of the Devon breed, a feral, curly-coated tom, lived around an abandoned tin mine near Devonshire, England. He mated with a straight-coated calico female that produced a litter of kittens in the garden of cat fancier Beryl Cox.
One of the kittens, a brownish-black male that Cox named Kirlee, had the same short, curly coat as his father. Breeders think that the calico female and the curly-coated male must have been related, since the Devon Rex gene that governs the curly coat is recessive and must be present in both parents to manifest in the offspring.
At first, Kirlee was thought to be related to the Cornish Rex. Subsequent matings between Kirlee and the cats of Cornish breeder Brian Stirling-Webb resulted in only straight-coated offspring, from which Cox and Webb concluded that the two breeds were unrelated.
The name Devon Rex was adopted for the new breed, and a breeding program established. The first Devon was imported to the United States in 1968. In 1972 ACFA became the first United States association to accept the Devon for Championship. The Devon was accepted by TICA in 1979 (the year TICA formed).
The CFA recognized the Devon for Championship in 1983. Through careful outcrossing, breeders have expanded the Devon Rex gene pool while retaining the integrity of the breed. While he has never quite caught up to the Cornish Rex in popularity, the Devon has made great strides and is seen more and more frequently in the show halls and judging rings.
Devon Rex Personality
Devons have been compared to pixies, elves, and, of course, space aliens for their jumbo-sized satellite-dish ears, large, mischievous 'window-to-the-soul' eyes, and ethereal appearance. Fanciers laud the 'poodle cat' (as the breed is affectionately called), as people-oriented snugglers that love nothing better than to cuddle up with you at night and wake you in the morning with hugs, kisses and purrs of affection.
And since the Devon sheds less than other breeds, you can snuggle back without fear of covering yourself in cat hair. But there's lots of other reasons to acquire a Devon besides their coats: their loyalty, devotion, playfulness, courage, and intelligence, just to name a few of the qualities that make them a good choice for the cat-obsessed.
Devons are shoulder perchers, lap sitters, tail waggers, and retrievers of tossed cat toys. They have a well-developed sense of curiosity and want to be involved in whatever you're doing, whether it's peeling potatoes for dinner or showering for a Saturday night date.
Devon Rex Breed Traits
While the Cornish's coat lacks guard hairs, the Devon's coat contains all three hair types (guard, awn, and down), but the guard hairs are typically fragile and stunted, and the whisker hairs are often missing altogether.
The hairs break easily and therefore this breed can develop bald patches that remain until the next hair growth cycle (typically fall and spring). Devons need very little grooming; their favorite grooming tool is your hand, applied on their heads and down their backs.