Breed Description

Imoya Devon Rex Cattery - Pretoria, South Africa

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CFA Breed Profile: Devon Rex

In order to truly appreciate the unique appearance of the Devon Rex, you must first set aside your preconceptions of what a cat should look like. In 1960 in Devonshire, England, a spontaneous mutation caused British barn cats to conjure up their own version of the ultimate feline pixie. Low-set, oversize ears jut out and away from the side of an elfin cheeky face with a turned up nose. Large impish eyes suggest a madcap personality and a nimble mind. A deceptively muscular body is covered by a short coat of downy fur that curls and ripples.

Devons sport a variety of coats that range from a full-rolling loose uneven wave through lessening degrees of density that support a tighter rippling effect all the way to a thin suede-like cover. Kitten coats usually thin out (molt) at about eight weeks of age. Although some kittens escape this molt phase, many juveniles sport a suede look until the adult coat begins to come in. Further molts are sometimes witnessed at about six months and ten months of age, although these tend to be less dramatic and of shorter duration. Selective breeding is required to produce the beautiful show Devon with its unique pixie face, bat-like ears, and a coat with just the right amount of density, length and texture to display a rippling wave when stroked with the hand.

Many North American breeders have practiced a careful outcross program to the native American Shorthair in order to provide an expanded and strong gene pool. Today, over thirty-five years after their mutant origin, Devon Rex remain remarkably faithful to their original conformation, head type, coat and disposition.

Devons NEVER sit upon a window sill looking elegant or bored. Devons are seldom elegant and never bored (or boring). They sit upon your shoulder or they lie across the back of your neck and investigate your ear. They lie in stacks like untidy cordwood in front of heat vents or pile one upon another until they lie six deep in a cat bed designed for one or two. They MAY sit upon a window sill but only to chatter excitedly at squirrels or other passersby.

Devons never meander, they favor a purposeful trot. They know WHERE they are going and WHAT they are going to do when they get there. They are skilled food bandits with asparagus high on their list and grapes, cantaloupe and artichoke leaves only just a whisker behind.

Devons, like puppy dogs, follow you from room to room and just like puppies, they wag their tails when happy or praised. They chat gaily in subdued chirps, chortles and trills but purring can drown out polite conversation.

Devons bring another meaning to “wash and wear.” A quick shampoo, rinse, towel pat and hang over the shoulder to dry or place in a sunny window. Most Devons do not object to the Saturday night bath and some will join their human companions in their tub uninvited. This behavior reflects the Devon’s deep concern for their beloved person’s safety and comfort although many suspect it is also a measure of their refusal to be justify out of ANYTHING.

Happily, Devons shed their coats at a rate that is only barely perceptible to the human eye and nose. And as they are quickly and easily bathed, many people with allergies to cats discover they can live comfortably and intimately with a Devon Rex. The absence of cat hair in the air, on pillows and on furniture is a definite plus to the allergy sufferer and to the one who cleans the house. The ideal Devon coat is soft to the touch, for while the Devon has guard hair, it is mutated into a weakened form and vastly reduced in density relative to the soft down and awn hairs that make up the Devon coat.

When you handle a Devon, you will be surprised at the density of muscle and the sense of weight in such a small animal. The mature Devon female averages six to seven pounds and the slightly larger male averages eight to nine pounds. You will also be surprised by the pleasant warmth of the Devon body. The Devon has the same body temperature as other breeds but has less fur to insulate your hands from its natural body heat. They make superb bed warmers. Devons are patient and nurturing mothers and fathers. The average litter size is three to four kittens with an average weight of about three ounces. Kittens are strong and highly mobile at birth, frequently nursing before the umbilical cord is severed. They open their eyes early, at about five to seven days and not just a few breeders report eyes open at or on the first day after birth. Devons DO dislike missing ANYTHING!

Devons love to play but their natural preference is to sit cozily in your lap. Devons are, above all else, people oriented. Their human companions are the focus of their boundless interest and love.

Pricing on Devon Rex usually depends on type, applicable markings and bloodlines distinguished by Grand Champion (GC), National or Regional winning parentage (NW or RW) or of Distinguished Merit parentage (DM). The DM title is achieved by the dam (mother) having produced five CFA grand champion/premier (alter) or DM offspring, or sire (father) having produced fifteen CFA grand champion/premier or DM offspring. Usually breeders make available kittens between twelve and sixteen weeks of age. After twelve weeks, kittens have had their basic inoculations and developed the physical and social stability needed for a new environment, showing, or being transported by air. Keeping such a rare treasure indoors, neutering or spaying and providing acceptable surfaces (e.g. scratching posts) for the natural behavior of scratching (CFA disapproves of declawing or tendonectomy surgery) are essential elements for maintaining a healthy, long and joyful life.

There are CFA clubs devoted to the promotion, protection and preservation of the Devon Rex breed. For more information, please send inquiries to CFA, PO Box 1005, Manasquan NJ 08736-0805.

- CFA Breed Description for Devon Rex

Anita White (Anglo-Tex Cattery)'s illustrations of proper and incorrect Devon Rex head type.

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