If you are unsure which breed of cat to buy and take care of, I have written the A-Z of breeds. Below is the unusual Devon Rex
PEDIGREES OF THE WORLD (A to Z)
CONTINUATION OF REX CATS (DEVON REX)
In 1950, a curly coated kitten was born as one of a normal litter to a normal-coated female cat in a farmhouse in Cornwall. At first the owner, Mrs. Ennismore, thought that the waviness of the coat was due to birth fluids, but when it dried out the kitten’s curls remained. Her veterinary surgeon suggested contacting some leading geneticists. Hair samples were examined microscopically and found to be similar to those of the Rex rabbit, and so it was suggested that the cat be described as Rex. When he grew up, the Cream male, christened Kallibunker was allowed to mate with his mother, and this union resulted in a litter of three kittens, two of which were curly coated. The mating was repeated and more Rex kittens were born but sadly Kallibunker died at a young age. He left his son Poldhu to carry on the line. Poldhu sired a superb female called Lamorna Cove, who was exported to the U.S.A. to found the breed on the other side of the Atlantic.
Ten years after the discovery of Kallibunker the Cornish Rex was well established and received a lot of publicity. The Devon Rex originated in Devon, and is distinct from the Cornish Rex, though the coat mutation appears similar. Beryl Cox spotted a curly coated tomcat living in an abandoned tin mine in Devon. Miss Cox also happened to take in at this time a tortie and white pregnant stray who gave birth to a litter of kittens. In the litter was a curly-coated male kitten which she kept as a pet and named Kirlee. At puberty, Kirlee was mated with some Cornish Rex queens and the resulting kittens, to everyone’s surprise were flat-coated, not curly and it was concluded that Kirlee’s curls were due to a different gene. The gene for Cornish was labelled Rex gene (i) and the gene for producing the Devon Rex gene (ii). The two Rex breeds were developed along separate lines.
Devon Rexes are strange-looking little cats, adorable in a homely sort of way. They have high protruding cheekbones unusual heads and extraordinarily large ears. Their huge eyes are set wide apart, whilst their bodies are slim and elegant. Their chests are so broad that their front legs looked bowed. Like Cornish Rexes, Devons have curly or rippling hair. However, the Devon's coat is softer and more velvet-like than the Cornish Rex's. Hair is usually sparse on the Devon's ears and forehead. Sometimes, these cats have little hair on their chests, necks, and stomachs. Their whiskers are short and brittle and break easily. Bald spots are common. All Devons today should be able to trace their ancestry back to Kirlee, the first Devon Rex.
The Devon Rex is alert and active, and shows a lively interest in its surroundings. They love to be with their humans and enjoy playing fetch or other games. They are also extremely agile cats with an inquisitive nature and will explore every corner of their homes. Devons, like dogs, follow their humans from room to room. Even though their body temperature is the same as other cats, many Devons are surprisingly warm to the touch due to a lighter, less insulating coat. Not surprisingly, Devons tend to be "heat seekers," and are often found lounging on televisions, computer monitors (not so easy with flat screens!) and heater vents. On chilly nights, Devons make superb bed warmers, often sneaking under the covers to stay warm and share body heat with their favourite people.
The Devon Rex is also a good potential choice for people who are allergic to cats. While no cat can be truly hypoallergenic, many people with allergies to cats discover they can live comfortably with a Devon Rex but anyone with allergy issues should arrange to handle a Devon before considering acquiring one.