Devon Rex – What to Expect When You Go Rexy

Thinking of getting a Devon Rex cat? Be warned – this is no ordinary feline! Here’s some information about what to expect.

By Bebopscrx - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3077343

Firstly, a small anecdote (if you’ll indulge me). My husband resisted having pets for several years. I pleaded, cajoled and wheedled my heart out, but to no avail. His main reason, which was fairly justified, was that his father was allergic to pet hair – ergo having one wouldn’t be a clever idea.

So imagine my surprise when out of the blue, he presented me with an image on his phone, of a bat-eared, wide-eyed pixie of a cat, with hardly any fur and an impish expression to boot.

“Do you want to get him?” he asked.

I didn’t need any further encouragement. Three days later, we welcomed Loki into our house; a crazed, climbing cacophony of cat – and very typical of every Devon Rex out there. 

Those First Few Days

I’m not going to lie. For the first week, it felt as if a bomb had detonated in our nice, peaceful lives. Suddenly, we had this little fairy-like creature who liked to race up our bodies with his razor-sharp claws, perch around our necks, climb on pretty much EVERYTHING, and eat like a pig. If he was put out about something, he’d let us know by yowling at the top of his voice. He liked to scratch things. Occasionally human things. It was an interesting experience.

By the end of the week, we were in a state of shock. Covered in scratches, exhausted from playing with him 24-7, it seemed like we’d had a baby all over again. Then, the penny finally dropped. This cat was pure Devon Rex, and we either needed to swot up on the breed post-haste, or deal with the consequences.

Devon Rex Personality

A year on, we’re so over-the-top obsessed with our Loki, it’s unreal. This is mainly due to his unbelievably hilarious, occasionally mental and frequently silly personality. Another website described Devon Rexes as a cross between a cat, dog, monkey and Dennis the Menace, and this catches their temperament perfectly.

So, what can you expect from a Devon Rex? I’ve had other cats in the past, so I feel well qualified to make a fair comparison.

  • Energy. The first big difference is that Devon Rexes have crazy amounts of energy. Loki does sleep quite a bit, but when he’s up, he’s UP. He wants to be played with, cuddled, allowed to climb everywhere – the works. He’s a house cat (most Rexes are), but we’ve got a lead for him and we take him outside. It helps to distribute some of that madcap, pent-up energy!
  • Playfulness. Everything is a game with a Devon Rex, which is why they’re great for families with kids. When our children are tumbling around on the floor, Loki tends to leap right in with them, which is amusing to watch. Mind your ankles though – a favourite game is to hide behind a door then pounce on your legs when you walk past.
  • Affection. Devon Rexes are really loving cats. Loki often snuggles on our lap or around our shoulders (not so much mine these days now he’s got bigger, sadly), and he’s always following us around the house, ‘chatting’ away in his little mewing language.
  • Greed. From what I’ve heard, most Devon Rexes are fairly greedy and will quite happily keep on porking down food, even when they’ve had too much. As such, some tend to rapidly look like bowling pins with legs sticking out.

Suitable If You Work?

Devon Rexes are mega social. If you work all day, I’d say you’d need two Devon Rexes to keep each other company. We’ve only got the one, but we both work from home, so he has us around all day long. He doesn’t like the occasional day that we go out, and gets quite huffy about it. You have been warned.

Aggressive?

Like any young cat, our Devon Rex isn’t averse to play-nipping, especially if he hasn’t had much stimulation that day. From what I’ve heard from other Rex owners, this is fairly typical – so you’ll need to invest in lots of cat toys to keep him or her amused. When Loki nips at us, we immediately reach for the feather toy on a stick, which always seems to divert his attention.

Health Problems

Sadly, like many pedigree breeds, Devon Rexes are prone to health problems caused by in-breeding. Some breeders are taking steps to address this, by breeding Devon Rexes from different countries, for example. It’s worthwhile checking you’re buying from a reputable breeder – there are some unscrupulous sorts out there who don’t put the health of their cats first.

The problems to look out for are hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a heart disease that causes the heart muscle to thicken) and patellar luxation, where the Devon Rex’s kneecap can pop out – ouch! Obesity can also be a problem with this greedy cat, so keep a bit of an eye on their weight.

Grooming Requirements

Loki is a typical boy in that he always seems to be a bit grimy – especially around his chops, as he rams his face so eagerly into his food bowl. As such, we sometimes have to clean his nose with a cloth and some warm water, and if the dirt’s caked on, we also rub in a tiny bit of coconut oil to break it down.

As far as fur goes, Devon Rexes don’t require too much grooming, as it’s so short (and bald in places). You can brush them lightly if you’d like to though, I’m sure they wouldn’t complain if it’s attention! Their fur is one of their cutest physical aspects in my opinion, they get a gorgeous kinked effect over their legs and back. 

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