There’s rarely an in between when it comes to cats. You’re either a cat person or you’re not, and only cat people truly understand these creatures. For some, cats are just mysterious animals that like to clean themselves with their tongues or just sit by the window all day. But cat lovers know their cats better.
There are over 70 breeds of domestic or house cats recognized from different registries all over the world. While house cats all have similarities, each breed of cat has its own characteristics. Some of the most popular ones include the Persian cat, Siamese cat, the American bobtail, the Birman, Maine Coon, and the Abyssinian. Many cat breeds are product of cat fancy—the proper terminology for the hobby of breeding cats—and one breed seems to be a favorite among others.
Meet the Devon Rex. These cats are not nearly as popular among average people, especially in comparison to the other breeds. But there’s something about this breed that makes cat lovers swear their greatness. Devon Rex cats might be mistaken for their Cornish Rex friends, but the two breeds cannot be any more different. Devon Rex cats have a few things that set them apart from the other breeds: their characteristic looks and their personalities. If you own or have ever owned a Devon Rex, you know exactly how much fun it is to have these cats as companions. If you know nothing about the Devon Rex breed, here are 20 things about them you should know—some of which might make you want to get one ASAP.
Devon Rex cats lack the hair that can usually protect them from harmful sun’s rays, so they tend to stay mostly in the shade, mostly indoors. If you were to take these cats outside, you’ll have to slather on a good layer of sunscreen to prevent sunburn, and you can probably only take them out for a really short amount of time. These cats will be a good match for those who prefer to stay away from sunlight anyway, people who like to stay indoors. If you thought your house cat loves being indoors, wait until you meet one Devon Rex. The good thing about it is a Devon Rex’s personality will make you want to stay in with it most days. You both might be better staying in anyway. Netflix and chill—with your cat.
Monkey in a Cat Suit
We can discuss the rest of this breeds other nicknames better, but one name stands out among the rest. Devon Rex cats are often nicknamed monkeys in cat suits. It’s an interesting name and you might think it’s a nod to the way it looks. It’s actually far from that. The nickname is a nod to the cat’s personality actually, a similarity to a monkey’s silliness and playful nature. So if you ever hear someone say they own a cat in a monkey suit, don’t expect a four-legged, monkey-looking kitty to come out and frighten you. Instead you’ll be charmed with the Devon Rex’s personality, before it completely tires you out with its personality as well.
Loyalty and Devotion
If you’re looking for a pet that will easily adore you and crown you king or queen of the humans, the Devon Rex will be a perfect match. These cats are extremely loyal to their owners. They’ll never shy away from human interaction, and they’ll easily miss you if you were gone. This is why Devon Rex cats do best in homes where they’ll receive the attention they crave. Because of their playful and mischievous nature, it’s not wise to leave these cats on their own for too long. They’ll make sure they keep themselves entertained by jumping on your couches or raiding all the spots where you hide your food. The only way to keep them settled down is to give them exactly what they long for—your love and affection.
A Kitty at Heart
Even as they mature, Devon Rexes seem to remain kitten-like in many aspects. It doesn’t mean that these cats don’t grow. They do grow to the average house cat size. You can say that they remain immature for most of their lives, however, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can take everything that you loved about your kitten—the playfulness, the curiosity, and the longing for your attention—and put them inside a mature Devon Rex. It’s almost like being a kid at heart. This is also one of the reasons why they don’t like to be left alone. A large family environment that can take turns watching a Devon Rex will be a good home for this cat.
It’s not just because they love you as their owner. Sure they crave your affection all the time, and you might think that they’re cuddling you because they’ve missed you so much after not playing with you for the last hour. But Devon Rex cats are actual natural huggers, if that were a thing. They cuddle to keep their body temperatures warm, since they don’t have the proper coat to do it on their own. You can expect to have your Devon Rex sleeping next to you in bed underneath the covers at night. They also like to snuggle on the sofa while you relax or sit atop your shoulder whenever it can. However, don’t deny a Devon Rex the attention it seeks; you actually might not even be able to deny at all. You might find that it’ll only keep on prodding until you give in to the cuddles.
We say that this cat is unique in many ways, but all cats are. Some cats just have more striking feature than others. Most cats have long whiskers that extend straight out of their muzzles, but the Devon Rex breaks away from that typical cat characteristic. Devon Rex cats have extremely short whiskers. Not only are they short, their whiskers are very tightly curled. One quick glance at a cat and you might think they don’t have whiskers altogether. Well, they might not. Some Devon Rex cats lack whiskers completely. This is one of the best and easiest ways to distinguish the Devon Rex from similar-looking breeds such as the Cornish Rex. We’re not sure what it means for them sensory-wise not to have whiskers or to have such short, tightly wound ones. Maybe they’ve evolved to not need them altogether.
If they have unique whiskers, you can expect Devon Rex cats to have unique hair as well. We’ve already previously discussed how these cats don’t have enough hair to be protected from the sun, but it’s a little bit more detailed than that. A Devon Rex cat will have very short, curly, and soft hair. Most cats have three layers of hair: guard hair, awn hair, and down hair. Devon Rex cats have very little guard hair, and this is the reason for them being safer away from the sun. Devon Rex hairs are quite distinct and set them apart from other breeds. Don’t be surprised if you find bald patches on a Devon Rex; it’s quite common and doesn’t mean the cat is unhealthy. Their hair density depends largely on the current season.
Devon Rex Discovery
Domestic cats have been around a long time. We know from history that the Ancient Egyptians adored cats so much that they put them in everything. Many cat breeds are generally old as well; there are actually several ancient breeds. There are also many breeds that originated from thousands of years ago from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Anything else after that is young in comparison. So in comparison, the Devon Rex breed is a newborn. The breed was only discovered in 1959 in Buckfastleigh, Devon, UK. Garden cat fancier Beryl Cox was the original breeder of the Devon Rex. The father was a feral, curly-coated tom, while the mother was a straight-coated Calico female. One of the kittens in the litter was a brownish-black male that had the father’s short, curly coat. Cox named it Kirlee just for that, and a new breed of cats was discovered.
Introduction to the U.S.
The Devon Rex didn’t get introduced to the U.S. until 1968 when it was first imported. The breed found immediate popularity back then, but the American Cat Fanciers’ Association (AFCA) did not recognize the Devon Rex for championship until a few years later in 1972. They were the first association to do so. The International Cat Association (TICA) recognized the Devon Rex in 1979, the very same year the association formed. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) recognized the breed for championship in 1983. Since then, the Devon Rex gene pool has expanded all while retaining its integrity.
Devon Rex Nicknames
The Devon Rex is an interesting breed of cats in every way. They’re interesting in the way they look and the way they play; therefore, they’ve accumulated quite a few nicknames since their discovery. We’ve already discussed one of them: monkey in a cat suit. Alien cat is another nickname for the Devon Rex. This is because of its angular face and large brooding eyes. It’s quite difficult to resist the Devon Rex once you gaze into its wide eyes. They’re also known as Poodle cats because of their curly hair. There are many cat breeds with curly hair, but there are very few breeds that have short curly hair. The Devon Rex is one of them. Other cats that have short curly hair include the Cornish Rex, Selkirk Rex, and the LaPerm cat. Another nickname for the Devon Rex is Pixie cat. Their large, protruding ears make them look like pixies; thus the nickname.
In Relation to the Cornish Rex
They have similar names. They even have very similar looks. They share the same coat and even have similar ears. Even breeders back then thought they were related. However every time they are mated together to breed, they produce litter with straight hair. Also upon closer inspection, you’ll see the differences between the two breeds. Starting with their whiskers, we already know that Devon Rex cats have short curly ones. Cornish Rex has the typical long straight whiskers. Devon Rex ears are also slightly further down the sides of their heads instead of upright like the Cornish Rex’s. Devon Rex cats are the result of natural gene mutation and therefore has no relation whatsoever to the Cornish Rex.
Devon Rex and Allergies
Technically speaking, Devon Rex cats are not hypoallergenic. If you are highly allergic to cats in general, there’s a good chance that you won’t be able to tolerate the lovely Devon Rex cats. But if your allergies are very mild and you just love to have cats around, you might be better off with a Devon Rex. Because of their short hair, Devon Rex cats shed a lot less than other breeds. They won’t cure you of your allergies, but you might fall in love with them so much that you forget about your allergies. Otherwise, if you’re just looking for a cat that will not need a ton of maintenance, the Devon Rex will be a good option because they won’t need too much brushing either.
Built for Jumping
One of the Devon Rex’s favorite things to do is climb up to high places. You can often see them getting up on countertops, tables, cabinets, etc. They do that because they just love to jump. Actually, these cats were made for jumping. They have very light bodies and long legs that allow them to handle tall jumps. In addition, they have unusually large toes. It’s an interesting mutation especially since the cats are probably built to be indoor cats as well. Either way, they have the body and skill for jumping and they’ll definitely use that around your house. If you can manage a playful cat that will constantly be active with jumping and playing, then you should be okay with a Devon Rex.
Don’t let its kitten-like manners fool you; these cats are extremely intelligent creatures. Breeders know just how capable these cats are. Devon Rex cats know how to respond to their own name and can recognize their owners’ names. This is another reason why they are sometimes called cats in monkey suits. Their cognitive abilities are much higher than average cats. In fact, given proper training, Devon Rex cats can learn how to do different tricks. These cats can even learn how to do tricks that only dogs are most associated with learning. Devon Rex cats can learn how to fetch, heel, and even jump on command. With a bit of imagination and patience, you can probably teach these cats to do even more.
As curious and intelligent as these cats are, you can bet that they love to play hide-and-seek. If they’re not cuddling with you, they’re probably trying to hide from you just so you can find them. Devon Rex cats like to hide in high places, of course, because we already know they love to jump off. But they can also be found odd spaces. They can be found in various nooks in closets, shelves, or even laundry baskets. It’s never a bore to have these cats around because you’ll just never know when and where you might find them if they were hiding. This is a testament to how smart and curious these cats are; they’ll always try to outsmart you.
Being the curious creatures that they are, Devon Rex cats love food. They will hunt for food in your home like no other pet would. It just so happens that Devon Rex cats are not very picky with what they eat, so if you aren’t either, chances are they’ll find whatever junk food you have and try to eat it. This is not always the best for the cat’s health, but if you only have healthy food around, you and your Devon Rex should be okay. Devon Rex cats will never turn down a meal from you. They’re always happy to eat, and they always seem to be hungry as well. If they get bored, one of the ways they’ll keep themselves busy is by trying to sniff food around so they can find them. It seems that if they can’t play hide-and-seek with you, they’ll play hide-and-seek with their food instead.
The Perfect Companion
Who needs anyone else when you’ve got a Devon Rex? This cat will not only keep you entertained, it will also be your best company. They may not know how to talk, but Devon Rex cats will communicate with you in so many different ways. They will literally hang out with you whatever you’re doing in your home. It doesn’t matter if you’re peeling potatoes in the kitchen or doing the dishes. Or you may be working on your computer at your desk. You could be napping on the couch or just reading a good book. Whatever it is you’re doing, your Devon Rex cat will be right next to you, keeping you company. They probably do this because they’re too curious about what you’re up to.
Devon Rex Health
Devon Rex cats are generally healthy. They’ll typically last around 12 years unless they acquire some type of disease. There are a few diseases that are common among the Devon Rex breed. The first is congenital hypotrichosis, which is simply hereditary baldness. This is nothing uncommon to Devon Rex cats because they have very little hair to begin with. They can also suffer from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is a type of heart disease; malassezia dermatitis, an ear and skin infection; hip dysplasia, a malformation of the hip socket; urticarial pigmentosa, a skin issue that causes crusty sores on the body; and Devon Rex myopathy, an inherited condition that causes generalized muscle weakness. It’s a chronic condition that may remain stable or slowly progress.
Best Pet for Children
If you’re looking for a pet that can either keep up with your kids or just keep your kids entertained, the Devon Rex cat is a great option. First, consider their playful nature. They’ll never shy away from children, and Devon Rex cats will actually keep up with the energy of the kids too. They’re gentle animals, so you’ll never have to worry about the children getting harmed in any way. They’re also just as curious like kids, so these cats will be right alongside kids as they explore and discover. Children crave for constant affection, something that these cats like to give. They can keep children company at night as they go to sleep; this way, children never really sleep alone when a Devon Rex is at home. The cat, much like all cats, is an extremely clean animal. They love to have a clean kitty litter, so having this cat around can also be a lesson in responsibility and care. Devon Rex cats will keep children entertained like no other cats probably could.
People often think that cats are not very social animals. In many ways, that’s very true. Cats like to keep to themselves. But you do get the occasional unique cat that likes to be around people more than they like to be alone. Devon Rex cats prefer company. They actually crave it and don’t do well without it. It just so happens that Devon Rex cats do well with other pets as well. So if you suspect that you’ll be gone for long periods of time—work every day, school, trips, or anything else—make sure your Devon Rex has company. Devon Rex cats will do well with other cats and even dogs and the occasional bird, ferrets, or even rabbits. They’re naturally friendly creatures. They’re not confrontational or territorial. All they really need are affection and attention.