The Devon Rex cat owes its special characteristic to its fur, which has a wavy coat. It was born by chance in Devonshire in England and its story is a singular one. The first kitten of this breed came out of the mating of Mrs Cox’s family cat, in Buckfastleigh, with a stray that lived in an abandoned mine and that had precisely the characteristic of wavy hair. Only one kitten in the litter had the father’s coat and this male kitten was named Kirlee and was the progenitor of the breed. A neighbouring breeder of Cornish cats heard about this birth and tried to breed Devon cats with Cornish cats, but none were born with curly hair. Therefore it was established that the Devon Rex cat was a breed of its own. The term Rex is attributed to the cats with curly hair. This breed is however the result of numerous crossings with a high rate of inbreeding. For this reason, many cats are characterised by a rather obvious delicacy with regard to their health and protection from possible diseases.
Character of the Devon Rex cat
The Devon Rex cat has a very sweet character and is very fond of almost constant attention and cuddles. It is always around its owner in search of caresses. Unlike almost all cat breeds, it is not independent at all and some cats are particularly jealous and possessive towards their owners. Therefore, it is not a cat to be kept if you are away from home for a long time, this breed does not tolerate loneliness and it takes little to make it become sad and even cry in despair.
He likes to play a lot, so he gets on well with children and also with other pets. It is able to fit into the family context immediately and apart from its almost maniacal predilection for its owner, it is affectionate with all members of the family. This breed has a habit of perching on its humans’ shoulders and curling up on their legs as soon as they sit down. It is very curious and is attracted to any object or situation in the home. Its sociable nature leads it to greet every guest with friendly chatter, purrs and wags.
It needs a lot of physical activity, so it is necessary to spend some time playing with it and keeping it occupied, as it gets bored easily. It is a very cold cat, so it would be good if it lived a life practically alone in a flat; its curiosity would then get it into serious trouble if it managed to leave the house.
Appearance of the Devon Rex cat
The Devon Rex cat is a small to medium-sized cat, its weight does not exceed 4 kilograms for the male and one kilogram less for the female. It is, however, very agile and has a powerful musculature, with rather long and slender legs, small and oval feet and a long, thin tail.
The appearance of this cat is unusual, the head is triangular, the eyes are very large, as are the ears which are one of the breed’s special characteristics. As already mentioned, they are very large and positioned low on the head, very wide at the base, rounded at the ends and protected by fine fur. This characteristic makes it look almost like a pixie, especially as a puppy.
The coat is also a peculiarity of the breed, in fact it is short, wavy and dense, a little ruffled like that of a poodle or a sheep. The hair of this cat grows very slowly, and for this reason, it can produce little allergenic hair compared to other feline breeds. It will therefore be the ideal companion for cat lovers suffering from this type of allergy. The coat pattern can be two-coloured, three-coloured, spotted or striped. The most common is the black and blue Tortie (with or without white spots).
Health and care of the Devon Rex cat
As far as grooming is concerned, this cat does not need much care. A brush once a week is sufficient to maintain the shine and cleanliness of its coat. The ears must be cleaned of wax weekly and the nails must also be trimmed regularly. As this animal sweats a lot it can develop skin diseases such as dermatitis, so it would be good to get it used to having a bath periodically from an early age. It is very sensitive to the cold and especially when it is a puppy, it often has very little hair, especially on its belly and neck, and needs to be kept warm and protected from draughts.
It has a life expectancy of about 15 years. Due to its high inbreeding rate, the Devon Rex cat has risks related to certain diseases. Among others, myasthenia. This is an auto-immune neuromuscular disease characterised by excessive muscle weakness. It is also prone to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which results in thickening of the heart muscle.
His diet must be controlled, as he tends to eat too much and therefore gain weight. In part this is also due to an excess of sedentariness, in fact it is good to stimulate him to move.