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Devon Rex Cat Facts

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white devon rex kitten perched atop a scratching post at home

The Devon Rex is unmistakably a one-of-a-kind kitty. Often described as pixie-like, both in appearance and personality, these playful and mischievous cats have a distinct appearance that has caught peoples' attention for decades.

History of the Devon Rex

In 1960, in Devonshire (Devon), England, a lady named Beryl Cox found a stray litter of kittens near an old mine. In particular, these kittens caught Cox's attention because one of them had a curly coat, which isn't a prevalent trait among cats. This kitten's mother had a straight coat, and the father had a curly coat. Cox named the kitten Kirlee, and he would later become famous as the first of the Devon Rex breed.

Upon finding Kirlee, it was first believed that he was related to the curly-coated Cornish Rex. To test this theory, a Devon and a Cornish Rex were bred together, but the results were not exactly what people expected them to be. Instead of having more curly-coated kittens, all kittens in subsequent litters had straight coats. These results confirmed that, in fact, the Devon and Cornish Rex were two separate breeds.

Devon Rex cats were first brought to the United States in 1968. Today, they can be found all over the country, but they are still not a common house cat, so don't be surprised if your Devon catches some attention.

devon rex tabby cat resting on a scratching post


There is much to learn when it comes to a Devon Rex's physical characteristics and personality traits.

Devon Rex Personality

Devon Rex cats are notorious for being curious, playful, and mischievous. It should come as little surprise that these felines enjoy jumping up to the highest point in a room, whether that is a shelf, the refrigerator, or your shoulder. Due to their curiosity, Devon Rexes even love to explore behind or under tight spaces. Being a Devon Rex parent means that you'll never know in which nook or secret hideaway you'll find your cat.

These unique kitties are often described as dog-like—a Devon is typically happiest when they are around others. Because they are naturally social animals, they do not always enjoy being left home alone, especially for a long time. Thankfully, these cats usually get along great with other cats or dogs, so having another animal in the house can provide your feline with some much-needed companionship.

When you are home with your Devon Rex, chances are they will not stray too far from your side, and at their first chance, they will most likely jump to your shoulders, arms, or lap. If you have always wanted a lap cat or one that will snuggle up to you when you sit on the couch, then a Devon may be a perfect choice.

Besides their charming personality, Devon Rex cats are also quite intelligent. They can learn many of the same tricks and commands people typically teach their dogs. To help exercise their mind, try playing games that provide mental stimulation.

Devon Rex Appearance

There's no doubt about it—Devon Rex cats often turn heads. These cats have a lean body that's supported by long, muscular legs. Their large ears sit atop a wide, triangular head, and there's no missing their large, round eyes. As a combination of each of these features, this breed is often described as pixie-like.

Devon Rex cats also have a distinctive coat. Unlike most cats, which have a straight coat, the Devon Rex coat is curly. Their fur is unusually fragile as well. Thus, it is not uncommon to have a Devon with some spots that are lacking fur.

Devon Rexes are considered small to medium-sized cats, with a typical weight of 5-10 pounds. The average Devon Rex life expectancy is 9-15 years. Although these are the mean numbers for this breed, there's always the possibility that your cat could be above or below the average.

Grooming and Care

Overall, Devon Rex cats do not require an extensive amount of grooming. Due to their delicate coat, these cats do not need to be brushed at all—this could actually cause the fur to break.

Knowing that they have a unique coat, people often wonder, "do Devon Rex cats need baths?" By just petting your cat, you can help smooth out their natural oils over their coat. Like the coat care of Sphynx cats, you can also use pet-friendly wipes to clean your Devon. Of course, these cats will give themselves baths, which additionally helps keep their coat in tip-top shape.

Due to their thin coat, you may be asking, "are Devon Rexes good for allergy sufferers?" Technically these wavy coated felines are not a hypoallergenic cat breed, so individuals who are allergic to cats should still be aware of the risks. However, because these cats don't have a thick coat, they, in turn, have less dander, which means that some people with a minor cat allergy have experienced little to no reaction when around them.

As part of your cat's grooming routine, it will also be essential to check and clean your feline's ears, eyes, and teeth on a weekly or biweekly basis. Every few weeks or about once a month, your cat's nails will also need to be trimmed.

Be sure to use pet-friendly products for all grooming needs and to make each experience a positive one. If you are unsure how to groom your pet safely, talk with your veterinarian about your concerns and any helpful tips they may offer.

To provide the best daily care for your pal, it is ideal to supply them with daily exercise, mental stimulation, quality one-on-one time, and last but not least, a nutritious diet. Keeping your cat at a healthy weight can help hold many other health problems at bay.

devon rex tabby cat having his chin scratched by a woman with hot pink fingernails

Common Health Issues

Although the Devon Rex is considered a fairly healthy cat breed, they are still susceptible to health issues. According to our claims data,* the top five issues that affect these cats include:

  1. Digestive issues
  2. Unsettled stomach
  3. Lymphoma
  4. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  5. Corneal ulcers

Even though these are the most common Devon Rex cat health issues, there is no guarantee that your Devon will develop any or all of these problems.

One of the best ways to stay on top of your cat's health is to schedule a yearly visit with their veterinarian. These visits allow professionals to examine your cat and stay up to date with their overall health, plus they can better monitor any issues that may arise. Not to mention, it is typically during these yearly appointments that your four-legged friend will receive their necessary vaccines.

Another way to help your cat be at their healthiest is to be proactive about their preventive care. This can include staying up to date with their heartworm, flea, and tick medication. It's additionally helpful to keep your curly-haired feline as an indoor cat.

Fun Facts

Although there's no resemblance or relation to the Tyrannosaurus Rex or the Cornish Rex, the Devon Rex still has many fun and fascinating facts about their history and breed.

  • The Cornish and Devon Rex were first discovered in Cornwall and Devonshire, England, respectively. These towns are only about 85 miles from one another.
  • Devon Rex cats have been given the nicknames "Dennis the Menace" for their playful and ornery habits and "Poodle that purrs" for their dog-like characteristics.
  • Due to their thin coats, Devon Rex cats often enjoy curling up under blankets. They are also typically fond of wearing sweaters, especially when the weather is cooler. Learn more about keeping your cat warm and healthy during the winter.
  • The Devon Rex can be found in almost any coat color and with practically any eye color.
  • These cats are said to be great travelers, so next time you go on a road trip, consider taking your Devon with you—they could make for a wonderful co-pilot.
  • This breed enjoys food. They take eating and snacking very seriously, so keep an eye out that they don't sneak any goodies off the counter or table.

By so often being compared to playful fairies, pet parents shouldn't be surprised that adding a Devon Rex to the family means that there will rarely be a dull day. There's no doubt about it—these cats will keep you on your toes.

Name Suggestions

Check out these possible Devon Rex names, all inspired by famous fairies and other fictional magical characters from books, movies, and video games.

  • Tinker Bell
  • Orion
  • Fay
  • Ainsel
  • Ozma
  • Holly
  • Ciela
  • Flora
  • Fauna
  • Navi

After meeting your Devon Rex and learning more about their personality, you may be surprised how easy it can be to select a name that compliments your cat.

*Internal Claims Data, 2014-2019

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.


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