Devon rex cats are visually striking and known for their impish faces, tall ears, and slender frames. These wide-eyed cats love to play, climb, and clown around. They're a great fit for engaged owners with lots of time and attention to give. These super social cats absolutely adore people and love making friends, so don't expect them to be quiet and reserved felines.
The Devon rex is a relatively uncommon breed. Potential owners can expect to spend $600–$1000 for a Devon rex kitten from a quality breeder.
The Devon rex has an elven, almost alien-like appearance. She's a medium-size cat, weighing 6–9 pounds and standing about 10–12 inches tall. Her large ears, big eyes, high cheekbones, long neck, and slender body are some of the breed's most obvious traits—aside from the wavy coat, of course.
These curly cuties have fine, wavy coats of hair. Their coats are short all over, but especially short near the head, ears, neck, paws, chest, and abdomen. Their coats come in nearly every available color, including black, blue, chocolate, cinnamon, lilac, and white. Devon rex cats can also have tortoiseshell, calico, tabby, pointed, and shaded patterns, amongst others.
And while there's no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic pet, the Devon rex's short and fuzzy fur can be a good fit for a family with allergies. This isn't to say the Devon rex doesn't shed—they do, but their waved hair does help to lessen the amount of loose hairs left behind on furniture and fabric. But before bringing home a Devon rex kitten, spend time with the breed to see how your allergies react.
The Devon rex is often compared to the Cornish rex, and they have similar looks, though the curly coats they have in common are caused by totally different genes. The Cornish rex also tends to have a somewhat longer coat and a face that's more slender.
Devon rex cats are intelligent, friendly, and outgoing. These super sociable animals are good with kids (as long as the kids know how to properly interact with cats!) and love to be around pets and other people. Cuddling and goofing around with her pet parents is a Devon rex's favorite thing to do.
The highly active Devon rex is clownish in character and loves to entertain her people, sometimes to the point of being a little demanding—this breed isn't afraid to do what it takes to get your attention. These cats also remain playful into old age, retaining a kittenish energy well into their senior years.
Although her personality can be a bit in-your-face, the Devon rex isn't a particularly loud cat. They're not totally silent, however, and will give a little meow here and there to communicate with you, but their meows "are a little softer," Krieger says.
The Devon rex needs a home that can offer playmates and lots of attention. These kitties love to initiate play by motioning to favorite toys with their paws or by bringing toys to their owners. Provide them with lots of playthings and opportunities for human interaction.
These playful pets do great with older children, other pets, and frequent guests to socialize with. But just how social a Devon rex is all comes down to the individual cat and her history, Krieger says.
"They are people cats," she says. "But it depends on where they come from, if they're from a breeder, and if that breeder socialized them early."
Because they tend to crave attention so much, they don't do well if left alone often. Busy families or owners who are frequently out of the house would leave their Devon rex feeling lonely. If you have to be on the road a lot, the Devon rex is a good traveler who much prefers road tripping with you to waiting at home. Or, Krieger recommends adopting a bonded pair so they can keep each other company when you're not home.
Because of their short coats, Devon rex cats can be sensitive to the sun. Keep an eye on your cat to make sure she stays inside to minimize risk of sunburn.
Caring for a Devon rex is fairly simple. They require a little more care than some cat breeds, but nothing overwhelming in the way of grooming. Their short coats can get greasy easily, so your Devon rex will need regular bathing with a mild pet shampoo and warm water. You'll also need to do periodic nail trimming and ear cleaning, and keep her litter box clean.
"[The Devon rex is] a highly active breed, known for her clown-like antics," Kurt Venator, DVM, PhD, and Chief Veterinary Officer at Purina says.
To help keep your high-energy Devon rex moving, provide lots of opportunities for play and be willing to entertain her silly and fun-loving personality. Toys and cat trees are great ways to provide for your cat's exercise needs.
"They are trainable," Krieger says. "A lot of people think they're not, but they are if you find what motivates them."
Feed your Devon rex high-quality cat food—no special diet is typically required, and these cats aren't prone to obesity. Check in with your vet to know how much and how often to feed your individual pet.
Devon rex cats have a lifespan of 9–15 years and are typically healthy pets. The breed's greatest health risks include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), hip dysplasia, luxating patella, congenital myasthenic syndrome (a muscle condition) and hereditary baldness. Reputable breeders will screen for health issues in your kitten, but it's important to have them screened regularly into adulthood. HCM and other health problems can go undetected until later in your cat's life.
Prioritize your Devon rex cat's health by scheduling frequent vet visits and taking the advice of your cat's veterinarian.
This unique breed began in the 1950s, when a wavy-coated kitten was born in Buckfastleigh, a town in Devon, England. The owner of the kitten was a woman named Beryl Cox, who also owned the stray tortie mother. The father of this eye-catching breed was a local feral cat with a curly coat.
Cox named the kitten Kirlee. Because she knew of the effort to preserve the already discovered Cornish rex cat's curly-coated gene, Cox reached out to the conservation program offering Kirlee to help preserve the breed. During this process, it was discovered that Kirlee actually had a different wavy-haired gene than the Cornish rex—and the Devon rex was discovered.
After this discovery, breeders started doing work to preserve the Devon rex, and the breed was introduced to the United States in the late 1960s. All Devon rex cats today can have their genealogy traced back to Kirlee, who died in the '70s.
- Some Devon rex cats have tufts of hair inside their ears that are reminiscent of ear muffs.
- Two Devon rex cats, appropriately named "Devon" and "Rex" appear in Disney's 2019 film Lady and the Tramp.
- Several celebs have professed their love for the Devon rex, including Dita Von Teese, who sadly lost her 17-year-old Devon rex Aleister von Teese in June 2020, and musician Marilyn Manson, whose Devon rex Lily White appeared in several of Manson's creative works before her death in 2016, including a painting titled Lily White and several short films.