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The Fun-Loving Pet That's a Cross Between a Dog, Cat, Monkey, and Dennis the Menace

July 17, 2015

Story at-a-glance

  • The Devon Rex has oversized ears and an “elfin” face leading many to call it the pixie of the cat world
  • Devons have curious, playful personalities and love to be with their owners; they dislike being left home alone
  • The unique features of the Devon Rex are thought to be the result of a natural mutation

By Dr. Becker

The Devon Rex is a playful cat breed often described as forever a “kitten at heart.” They’re also known for being a cat with dog-like qualities, so if you’re looking for a pet that will follow you around the house and be at your side day and night – but a dog isn’t for you – a Devon Rex may be perfect.

From its unusual (but irresistibly cute) physical features to its quirky, curious personality, the Devon Rex has become one of the most popular cat breeds in the US. If you want to know more, Mom.me has compiled 10 Devon Rex facts that every cat enthusiast will enjoy.1

10 Devon Rex Cat Facts

1. The “Pixie” of the Cat World

The Devon Rex has large, oversized ears, high cheekbones and large wide-set eyes… coupled with a mischievous personality. The combination has earned the Devon Rex the nickname of a pixie.

2. It Originated in Devon, England

The Devon Rex got its name from Devon, England, the town from which it originated. A feral tomcat with a curly coat sired a litter in 1960. One kitten had a curly coat, and it was taken in by owners who wanted to further the Cornish Rex gene (which is a curly-coated cat).

However, mating between the curly-coated cat and Cornish Rex females resulted in straight-haired kittens, which means the two were actually unrelated breeds. The Devon Rex’s distinct characteristics are thought to be the result of a natural mutation.

3. Stubby Whiskers

The Devon Rex has short, stubby whiskers that may even be missing entirely. This is one way to tell them apart from the Cornish Rex, which has bent, curled whiskers. In addition, the ears of a Devon Rex are low-set and stick out to the side while the ears of a Cornish Rex are on top of the head and straight.

4. It Came to American in 1968

The Devon Rex is a relatively new cat breed, reaching American shores in 1968. In 1972, the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) recognized the breed and it also became eligible for the ACFA championship. In 1983, the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) recognized the Devon Rex for championship status.

5. A Distinct Coat

The Devon Rex has a soft, short, and curly coat. It may also have bare patches without fur, and this is considered a normal part of the breed.

6. Not Hypoallergenic

Often described as hypoallergenic due to the short coat, the Devon Rex is actually not a hypoallergenic cat. That being said, they do not shed as much as many other breeds, which means they may spread fewer allergens around your home.

7. Food Hounds

The Devon Rex loves to eat and may even steal food right off your plate if you’re not careful. As noted by CFA:2

Devons are food hounds. Whether it is the traditional burger and fries or the more unusual asparagus tips, grapes, or olives, be prepared to guard your dinner plate from the fast and crafty Devon in the house.

They never turn down a meal and would be happy to assist you with yours. Do not be taken in by the pleading or the heartbreakingly pitiful expressions that would suggest they have not had a meal in weeks.”

8. Social Kitties

The Devon Rex is a curious, playful breed. They enjoy games of fetch and learning tricks, and dislike being left home alone. CFA describes them as having a “mad-cap personality,” and:3

“…a cross, some say, between a cat, a dog, a monkey, and Dennis the Menace. They are a fun and fun-loving breed with a relaxed and social attitude rarely associated with cats.

Delightfully silly in both appearance and antics, Devons are interested in everything and everyone around them. Their playful nature means Devons easily learn tricks and are always up for a game of hide-and-seek, tag, or fetch.”

9. National Title Winners

In 1998, a Devon Rex named Rassy Sassoul became the first to earn a CFA national title. She also won a “Distinguished Merit” (DM) distinction, which is given to cats that produce five or more offspring that earn a Grand Champion, Grand Premier or DM title.

10. Have You Seen Stitch?

Stitch, a Devon Rex from the UK, is a well-known feature on Instagram. He already has 12,000 followers and his fans keep growing, along with an increasing awareness of the Devon Rex breed.

Do You Have Your Heart Set on a Devon Rex?

If you have your heart set on a certain color pattern or personality trait in a cat, you might be surprised to find exactly what you’re looking for at your local shelter. Along with the occasional purebred, shelters are packed with mixed-breed cats that have some mix of purebred cat in their background, along with domestic cats, which is a term used to describe cats of unknown breed.

You’ll find all mixes of colors and personalities, cats that fetch, and cats that love to cuddle. So before going purebred, you might want to make a trip to a nearby shelter. If you have a certain trait in mind, be sure to talk with the workers and volunteers. They’ll probably be quite familiar with each cat’s personality and can help you find the perfect match for your family.

If only a Devon Rex will do, check out your local rescue organizations first. Devons of all ages are being fostered and are looking for homes across the US. One of them just might be your new best friend.
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Sources and References

  • 1 Mom.me May 12, 2015
  • 2, 3 Cat Fanciers’ Association, Devon Rex
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