Resembling Hollywood’s infamous space alien, E.T., with the affectionate personality of a loyal dog, the Devon Rex is a handful – of laughs, that is. Often compared to a chimpanzee, this cat not only looks comical, it is one of the most intelligently talented and amusing felines alive. Preferring to perch on your shoulder or sit in your lap, this cat will implore your undivided attention every hour of the day. Able to melt your heart with priceless expressions of love, this cat will take hostage the emotions of every living being in your home.
The Devon Rex Cat, known for its slender body, short wavy coat, large ears, and splendid temperament, didn't capture our unsuspecting hearts until 1960. The granddaddy of the Devon breed, a curlycoated, feral tomcat who lived around an abandoned mine near Devonshire, England, mated with a straight-coated calico female who produced a litter of kittens in the garden of cat-lover 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 mother and the curly-coated father must have been related, since the Devon Rex gene that governs the curly coat is recessive and must be present in both parents to produce curly-coated kittens.
At first, Kirlee and his father were thought to be related to the Cornish Rex breed. Experimental matings between Kirlee and the cats of a Cornish breeder resulted in only straight-coated offspring, which led to the conclusion that the two breeds were unrelated. The name Devon Rex was adopted as its name, and an official breeding program was 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 Rex for showing in the championship ring. The Devon was accepted by TICA in 1979, the same year that TICA was formed. The CFA recognized the Devon for Championship status in 1983.
Through careful outcrossing, breeders have expanded the Devon Rex gene pool, and retained the integrity of the breed. While this cat has never quite surpassed the popularity of the Cornish Rex, Devons have made great strides and are becoming more and more prevalent, as pets and show cats alike.
Although the breed is primarily distinguished by its curly coat, this cat has so many other famous traits which set it apart. Personality plus is undoubtedly one major reason for the Devons’ worldwide acceptance. Often compared to pixies, elves, and visitors from outer space, these cats feature the ears of a galactic traveler, eyes of an extraterrestrial, and the look of a ghost. Aficionados praise this cat as a people-oriented snuggler who love nothing more than to cuddle up with you at night and wake you in the morning with hugs, kisses, and purrs of affection. Since the Devon sheds less than other breeds, you can snuggle back all you want without covering yourself in cat hair.
The Devon’s loyalty and human devotion are a couple of the qualities that make them a great choice for the cat-obsessed fan. Devons are shoulder perchers, lap sitters, tail waggers, and retrievers of tossed cat toys. They have a strong sense of curiosity and want to be involved in whatever you're doing, whether it's chopping vegetables for dinner or showering for a Saturday night date—and they’ll be more than happy to help you put on your makeup, as well!
The typical Devon Rex is very intelligent. Seemingly related to a dog, they will walk on a leash, heel, follow you from room to room, and greet you at the door. But like a cat, they are high jumpers and will try to occupy any space large enough to barely even contain them. With this trait, they are often found in odd nooks and crannies of a closet or a bookshelf. Most Devons choose one favorite person on whom they lavish their most ardent love, and with whom they will most often prefer to embrace. Remaining kitten-like throughout its entire life, this cat goes beyond frisky. It will demand your devotion and steal your heart with no hope for recovery ever.
A medium-sized cat with unusually large ears, tremendous eyes, and cute turned-up noses, their whiskers seem nonexistent. With a slight body type, they have long slender legs and very big toes. Both their coats and eyes are available in many different colors. Grooming is low-maintenance requiring little more than the stroke of your hand. While shedding is extremely minimal, they are not scientifically described as hypoallergenic, but the next best thing. Unlike the somewhat similar Sphynx, who can be shy around strangers, the Devon Rex is everyone’s best buddy, including children and dogs.
Hilariously acrobatic in more ways than one, some of their sleeping positions may remind you of a circus contortionist as they literally hang off the side of a bed. Natural-born comedians, this cat will keep you laughing for many years to come!
Barron’s Enyclopedia of Cats—J.A. Helgren