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Norwich Bulletin - 5/23/2010

The Devon Rex

The Devon Rex looks like a little alien creature straight out of a movie. With huge bat ears, large eyes, short wavy coats and a distinct look caused by their high cheekbones, makes them look very elflike. They have short, wavy coats and they are generally as mischievous as they look.

The Devon Rex got its name from a single cat that was born in Devon, England, in 1960, to a stray calico. This male kitten had a short, curly coat and Beryl Cox, was enthralled with his look. She adopted him and named him Kirlee. Kirlee began the breed and the Devon made its debut in North America in 1968. The Devon is accepted in championship status in all of the cat associations.

When I am judging Devons at a show, many spectators will ask if they have been shaved, trimmed or even permed to get their wavy, short coat and are surprised to hear that it is a natural coat. They are often likened to Poodles, except that they purr!

Itís hard to believe but the Devonís coat has all three hair types; guard hairs on the outside and awn and down hairs on the undercoat. And the Devonís whiskers are also a kind of guard hair that is often short, stunted or missing. If present, these fragile whiskers will easily break and are usually curly.

Devonís are very clown-like in their personality. They love to play and are happy cats. If they can get you to play a game of fetch with them, they will continue on for hours Ė as long as you are willing. And when you are ready to quit because your canít hold up your arm any longer, they will continue to follow you to make sure you have their help in whatever it is you think you are going to do. They will be glad to help you prepare dinner, work on the computer, or try to read a newspaper. And when you sit down to watch some relaxing television, they will wrap themselves around your neck and watch with you.

Devons are very social creatures. They should not be only cats, especially if you go to work every day. They need that companionship or they will become very lonely. If you donít want two cats for any reason, then a cat friendly dog will do just fine. And, they are a breed that like children because they are like kids themselves. You can pretty much say that the Devon Rex is an all around great family cat.

To make them even more perfect, they require very little grooming. Probably the most care you would need to give your Devon is ear cleaning. Their large ears accumulate wax and need to be kept clear so they donít end up with yeast infections. Of course, they require the same type of care every cat does; trimming nails, and an occasional wipe down with a warm washcloth if their coat starts feeling oily. This is not to say they are hypoallergenic. There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat, although many people think that all of the Rexes and hairless cats are. They may have less dander than other cats, but it is a case by case basis and anyone with allergies should plan on spending some time in the breederís home before making a decision to by a Devon.

They are probably one of the healthiest pedigree cats with few inherited diseases. They have had a muscular dystrophy like disease found in a few bloodlines, but breeders have worked very hard to eliminate that disease. They donít require special food or care. A high quality cat food and a human to interact with will suit them just fine.

If you think a Devon may be right for you, remember to go to a reputable breeder. Many breeders with great reputations will have a waiting list for their kittens. It is worth it to wait for that healthy, socialized kitten. Never buy a pedigree kitten from a pet store.

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