Meet the Cat Breed: The Devon Rex



The Devon Rex has been described as "the pixie of the cat world" or as "poodles that purr." They are a highly intelligent cats with a distinctive wavy coat and elfish ears. They can learn complex tricks and have a propensity for being mischievous and people oriented. 

Physical Characteristics:

The Devon Rex's face is one of the first things you'll notice after the curly coat. The eyes are large and the muzzle is short. They have prominent cheekbones and whisker pads. The unusual ears are also hard to miss. They are huge, like satellite dishes, set low and wide, extending beyond the side of the head, with large bells visible from the back. Some folks feel like they are looking at an alien when in the presence of the Devon Rex. Their frame is medium-fine and covered by a distinctive soft, wavy coat that comes in a variety of colors including pointed.  

History of the Breed:

The Devon Rex originated near Devonshire, England in 1960. A feral, curly-coated tom, lived around an abandoned tin mine and mated with a straight-coated stray calico that cat fancier Beryl Cox was looking after. One of the kittens resembled his feral father with the same brownish-black, short, curly coat. Cox kept him and named him "Kirlee." As the curly-coat gene is recessive, it is thought that the calico mother and curly father must have been related. When Ms. Cox saw a story of another curly-coated cat in the newspaper, which later became the father of the Cornish Rex breed, she volunteered Kirlee to participate in a breeding program. The resulting kittens were all straight-coated. Therefore, it was determined that it is a different gene causing the curly trait. The Cornish Rex and Devon Rex also have other differences in structure and in their coats. The Cornish Rex has a tighter, more orderly curl to the coat; whereas the Devon Rex has a looser curl or waves. Colorpoint Devon Rex kittens often surprise breeders with ther occasional appearance and Kirlee himself is thought to have carried the gene for pointed coloration. 


The Devon Rex is an active and intelligent breed. They are curious and athletic, which means cat proofing will have to extend to the tops of the cabinets. They enjoy perching on shoulders and supervising human activities. They are good with children and other pets. These are not particularly vocal cats. They are quite social and actually like pleasing their people. Their thin coats make them feel quite warm, so they are great to cuddle with. Don't be surprised to find them under your covers with you. This breed is a good candidate for the growing cat agility sport. 

  • Best suited for: Families who like a cat who will be involved in the center of family activities. Excellent for families with children and a lot going on. May be a good candidate for those with allergies. Always spend a good amount of time with the adult parents of a kitten to determine allergy reaction.
  • Preferred living conditions: This cat prefers a good amount of companionship. Can become destructive if left alone a lot. 

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy-care coat, but use caution with the brittle whiskers. An occasional bath may be needed but they dry quickly. Ears need to be swabbed weekly.
  • Exercise needs: Enjoys active daily play and mental exercise. 
  • Life expectancy: 15-20 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to hip dysplasia. 

Breed Club Links: Devon Rex Breed Club Perfect Pairings: Cat's Trapeze Cat Hammock

Have any stories about a Devon Rex? Please share!

Find adoptable Devon Rex kitties on

Photo courtesy of Nickolas Titkov.

This entry was posted by Mary.
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