Devon Rex Cat Breed Profile
Devon Rex cat at a glance
Average lifespan: Early to mid teens
Temperament: Home loving, friendly and affectionate, intelligent, loyal and devoted, playful into adulthood, good with children and other pets
Weight: Males 4 to 5kg; females weigh slightly less
Colours: Can be bred in any colour or colour combination, with or without white markings, so the choice is endless
Grooming: Apart from regular ear cleaning, they don't need to be groomed
About the Devon Rex cat breed
Just one look at their gremlin-like looks and hearing their noisy chatter, you know your life will never be the same again when you adopt a Devon Rex - good luck trying to keep up with them! Nicole Rankin of the Rex Cat Club says: "Devons crave human company and hours of high-powered, fast games. They have the energy to run all day without napping and want to do what their human is doing. If you take a bath, use the loo or shower, make the beds, prepare meals, vacuum, dust or anything around the house or garden, then expect your Devon to be there 'helping'."
Be prepared that nothing will ever be secret again as Devons are known investigators - there will be no doors unopened, curtains unclimbed and cupboards unexplored - even the top of wardrobes aren't safe! "They are action-packed and smart; nothing goes unnoticed," laughs Nicole. "Be prepared to laugh a lot and be entertained with their monkey-like behaviours. They also play fetch like a dog and wag their tails when they are happy. They are like having a constant two-year-old child with you all day."
But on top of their 'go go go' personalities, Devons are also big softies as they love plenty of affection and will often come to you for cuddles and kisses. "Devons love to be up as high as possible - so that generally means you develop a stoop as your Devon rides on your shoulders all day and are deafened by purring!" Nicole adds. "I can't lie, they are full on, jet-propelled and action-packed right up until the moment they leave this mortal coil. Forever young and naughty as anything!"
Devon Rex cat breed history
The original Devon Rex came about due to a natural mutation which occurred in Devon back in 1959, where a strange black, curly-coated kitten, named Kirlee, was born in a litter of moggies thought to be fathered by a large black cat with ringlets.
This kitten was then bred to two Cornish Rex variant queens (as a result all Devon Rex have Cornish Rex ancestors), which produced normal shorthair and semi-longhair kittens, yet no curly kittens were produced. This led the breeder to believe that the Cornish and Devon Rex have two different curly hair genes and with a careful breeding programme, Kirlee became the founding Devon Rex.
Devon Rex cat breed look
Obviously, what you'll first notice about Devon Rex are their large, bat-like ears and big, wide set oval eyes which gives them a cheeky, impish expression. Devons have long, slim legs and long, fine tails covered with short fur and muscular bodies. Their short, soft, wavy fur has a wool-like texture with waves extending down their legs and on to their paws.
Devon Rex breeders describe the whiskers as 'designer stubble' as their curled whiskers are brittle and rarely grow to much more than an inch in length. Devons can be bred in any colour or colour combination with or without white markings, as well as patterns including torties and tabbies. The most popular colour is original Devon Rex Kirlee's colour pattern - the black smoke.
Devon Rex cat breed characteristics and personality
Ask any Devon Rex breeder or owner and they will tell you that generally these cats are very entertaining and funny! They are both active and interactive, seeking you out to play and for a cuddle. Even when these naughty little wavy-coated, long-necked, large-eyed cats are pouncing on shoulders from great heights, climbing curtains, ambushing showers and hogging the bed, Devon Rex enthusiasts will tell you it's all part of their charm.
Devon Rex kittens
Devon Rex kittens can vary massively in appearance, some will appear bald and grow their fur over time, while others are born with lots of little curls. Nicole says: "Their fur should be the finest softest velvet, although some kittens drop all of their coats and start all over again. This is quite normal. At this point they feel like suede and look adorably 'leggy' with their back ends higher."
Expect to pay between £450 to £525 for a pet quality kitten - the higher priced Devons tend to have been neutered. Kittens should be of a good healthy weight and be very alert with bright, wide-open eyes free of squinting, watering or discharge. Look for a fine covering of healthy 'kitten fat' with rounded tummies, but beware of a 'bloated belly' as this could be a sign of worms or disease. Read our advice on choosing a healthy kitten.
Devon Rex cat breed health and lifestyle
Devon Rex cats are the perfect companions for anyone looking for a lively and attention seeking pet. Many people with allergies find they can live with a Devon Rex but it's important to spend time with the breed just to make sure.
As they have short, low maintenance fur, a regular hand groom will normally suffice to keep your Devon looking his best, but the woolier or longer-coated Devons may need the occasional groom with a soft bristle brush and a fine tooth comb. Their large ears will need regular cleaning as well.
Nicole says: "Some Devons are prone to yeast infection Malassezia dermatitis, which makes the cats smell 'yeasty' and causes greasy skin and dirty ears and feet." This condition can be treated with topical shampoos or oral anti-fungal medications, prescibed by a vet.
All kittens should be health checked and any hereditary heart disease or patella issues will be picked up at the early stages of kittenhood. Myopathy in Devon Rex is very rare now in the UK through good outcross breeding. Devons can be prone to food intolerances so be prepared to pay for special foods if this is the case, such as good quality dried protein kibble with no grains. Read our advice on feeding a cat.
Remember! All breed profiles are general and every cat is an individual.
A full feature on the Devon Rex cat breed was published in the February 2015 issue of Your Cat magazine.
Living with a Devon Rex
Penny Pickering was bitten by the Devon Rex bug years before her first entered her life. Eleven years and five Devons later, she's never had a moment's peace!
"I first came across the Devon Rex while I was working at a local boarding kennels and cattery," explains Penny from Nuneaton, Warks. "A pair came in for their holidays and it was love at first sight. Just that little devilish pixie look, the big ears, the wavy coat - and of course their loving nature and playfulness.
"A few years passed without me even thinking about getting a cat - then by chance a friend of mine's sister, who was a breeder, had a few adults that she needed to rehome, so along came Ernie, my first Devon Rex. He had a lovely playful temperament, very mischievous and always into everything - he could talk the hind legs off a donkey! Due to divorce, I moved out and Ernie came with me, and it wasn't long before I saw a little female on the Internet looking for a home. So along came my first Devon Kitten, chocolate tortie Elma. She certainly made sure she was boss straight from the start! Ernie seemed to settle quickly with her, and they both got on very well - even though he had to put up with her ambushing him!
"After I moved in with my now husband Mark, the Devon bug bit again and another Devon kitten, a black smoke tortie called Erma, arrived. She certainly wasn't a scared little kitten, and she was racing around like a complete looney! Ernie wasn't really all that bothered about her, he was starting to age a bit by now, but Elma, having a fantastic nature, took Erma under her wing.
"A year or so went by, and I kept in regular contact with Elma's breeder through social media. She had posted a picture of a new litter just a couple of days old and I could just see a little blue face amongst the litter. Here came that bug again! Before we knew it we had reserved Eric, a blue male. Sadly, four weeks later Ernie passed away.
"The week before we were to collect Eric, his breeder posted a picture of his litter sister who had just become available - a week later we picked Eric up along with Eva (pictured), a classic silver tabby! When we introduced them to the other girls, Elma took to them like she was their own mummy. Erma on the other hand, stayed behind the sofa growling! It didn't take long for them to settle in though!
"So now we have four Devons, and I would never look back - they are such funny characters; always helping out, they have to know what you are doing and follow you around like a loyal puppy! And when you settle to watch the TV, they'll be with you as well. Eva is very vocal and will have a conversation with you, they all like hugs and Eric likes to be picked up like a baby! There's always toys about and quite often we'll have a game of fetch - we even taught Eva how to give a paw. A Devon really isn't a cat that likes to be by itself - they're always up to no-good together."
Watch our Devon Rex cat breed video below: