Devon Rex

Devon rex cats are known as “poodle cats,” thanks to their wavy coats and intelligent, outgoing personalities. Learn more about owning a Devon rex cat.
By Hilary Braaksma
August 24, 2020
Devon Rex
Coat Length
Pattern
Other Traits
Temperament
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Devon Rex

height
  • 10 to 12 inches
weight
  • 6 to 9 pounds
life span
  • 9 to 15 years
good with
  • children
  • seniors
  • dogs
  • cats
  • families
temperament
  • sociable
  • affectionate
  • neurotic
  • bold
intelligence
  • high
shedding amount
  • normal
playfulness
  • high
activity level
  • hyper
vocalness
  • when necessary
coat length
  • short
colors
  • chocolate / brown / sable
  • cinnamon
  • lavender / silver
  • fawn
  • blue / gray
  • white
  • black / ebony
  • red / orange
  • cream / beige / tan
patterns
  • bi-color
  • solid
  • calico / tri-color
  • tabby
  • color point
other traits
  • easy to train
  • easy to groom
  • friendly toward other pets
  • friendly toward strangers
  • friendly toward humans
  • good for first-time pet owners
  • strong loyalty tendencies
  • good lap cat
  • tolerates being picked up

The Devon rex cat is 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 active owners with lots of time and attention to give. These super social cats absolutely adore people and love making friends.

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.

Appearance

The Devon rex has an elven, almost alien-like appearance. They’re a medium-size cat, weighing 6–9 pounds and standing about 10–12 inches tall. Their large ears, big eyes, high cheekbones, long neck, and slender body are some of the breed’s most obvious traits—aside from their wavy coats, of course.

These curly cuties have fine, dense, and wavy coats of hair. Their coats are short all over, but especially short and less dense 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 tortoise shell, calico, tabby, pointed, and shaded patterns amongst others.

This breed isn’t technically hypoallergenic, but their wavy coat tends to be less triggering to 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.

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 different genes. The Cornish rex also tends to have a somewhat longer coat.

Temperament

Devon rex cats are intelligent, friendly, and outgoing. These super sociable animals are great with kids and love to be around pets and other people. They’re not aggressive and prefer to walk away rather than engaging with roughhousing playmates. 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 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 demanding, 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.

These cats love to climb and will use their fifth toes to hold things and help them scale furniture and cat trees.

Living Needs

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. Because they crave attention so much, they don’t do well if left alone very much. 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.

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 and minimize risk of sunburn.

Care

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.

“[Devon rex is] a highly active breed, known for her clownlike 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.

The Devon rex is a highly intelligent cat breed that’s easy to litter train, will play fetch, and has the capability of learning difficult tricks. Be warned though—their smart personalities means these stubborn cats can be hard to motivate. Praise, play, and snacks are good tools to use.

“This extraordinarily social cat is a wonderful family pet that gets along well with cats and cat friendly dogs,” Venator says.

Because of this, your Devon rex cat should be fairly easy to socialize. Make sure to do introductions early on after bringing your cat home to help her get adjusted.

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.

Health

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), dislocating joints, hereditary myopathy (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.

History

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.

Fun Facts

  • 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 remake of 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. Manson and Von Teese were actually romantically involved for years and fought over custody of their animals when the relationship dissolved. Von Teese won custody of Aleister while Manson was rewarded custody of Lily White.