Devonshire Rex cats have their origins in Devonshire, in the UK, where a certain Miss Cox found that a kitten born to her had very curly hair. This was sometime in 1959, and the kitten’s name was Kirlee. Kirlee was later taken on by a man interested in breeding Rex cats, and when he sired kittens with other Rex cats, it was found that the resultant cats were not curly-haired. The Rex cats thus evolved into the Cornish Rex variety and the Devonshire Rex breed. Both have soft, curly and sparse hair, but have differences for example in their hair layering.
Cats belonging to the Devonshire Rex breed are among the rarest and most expensive in the world. They are distinguished by a playfulness and activity uncommon among cats, and by their willingness to be around people. A Devonshire Rex cat’s coat, being quite thin, explains also why it tends to hang around heaters and other similar heat sources, especially on cold nights. Some breeding groups recommend Devonshire Rex cats to be good cuddling companions for that reason.
The Devonshire Rex comes in different colors, but all cats of the Devonshire Rex breed have several common features. For one, they have large ears mounted on a wide head, and are often stocky-built. They also have a slightly upturned nose. One nickname given to Devonshire Rex cats are alien cats for those reasons. For another, they have long legs and huge toes, which gives them the ability to climb into nooks and crannies for that reason. This is where they can be found around the home. Males often weigh between eight to ten pounds and females weigh between five to eight pounds.
While Devonshire Rex cats do shed hair, contrary to a popular misconception, their lack of hair relative to other cats are a boon to people who have allergies to cat hair. It is for this reason that Devonshire Rex cats are often bred for people who otherwise have allergies as they can easily live with them. They require little maintenance, if any, with even a simple wipe with a damp cloth being sufficient to keep them in good condition.
Devonshire Rex cats have been described as having the personality of a cat, a dog, and a monkey combined. Nothing seems to escape their attentions or even their appetite. But their willingness to hang around people make Devonshire Rex cats an ideal companion. It is noted that if a Devonshire Rex owner is seated, the cat is most likely to be found on his or her lap. Not to mention, as some have found, eating food left lying around.
Since Devonshire Rex cats are a young breed, it is often cross-bred with American and British short-hairs to keep the gene pool quite strong. Devonshire Rex cats have been bred in the US since the late 1960s, when Marion White of Austin, TX, brought over a Devonshire Rex kitten. Devonshire Rex cats have been included in the largest US register of cat breeds, maintained by the Cat Fanciers Association, since 1979.