Devon Rex Cats
If you happen to be looking for a friendly, affectionate, intelligent, good-tempered and relatively maintenance free cat for a pet, you can't do much better than a Devon Rex.
(Trust writer Rick Zimmerman to know, having given house and home to three of these purebred cats over the last decade and a half.)
Pictured above is Miracle, a tortoise-shell gray Devon Rex male of about 4 years of age, who exhibits most, if not all, of the classic 'pixie'-like physical characteristics of the Devon Rex breed: a distinctly triangular head with an almost bat-like appearance, large ears, large eyes, relatively short snout, broken-off whiskers and a crinkle-curl (or 'marcelled') coat. Other distinctive, though less immediately-noticeable features of the Devon are rather large toes, small patch areas of very short fur growth bordering on baldness (usually on the top of the head, behind the ears, low on the neck, and on the stomach), and unusual 'cuts' or nicks in the lower edges of the ears. (You'll find even more unusual critters at rickzworld.)
Devons have quite a few very attractive attributes. First, they are nearly hypo-allergenic, allowing them to be well tolerated by those with mild pet allergies. Devons (and to a greater extent, Cornish Rex) possess this trait because they do not have the layer of longer, outer-coat, guard hairs of most cat breeds. Devons therefore do not have those guard hairs to be shed (along with the associated dander), meaning they evoke much milder allergic reactions, but also eliminate those rolling or clumping balls of guard hairs that most cat owners must remove from clothing or from beneath the couch. To a limited and much less noticeable degree, Devons will shed their shorter crinkly hairs. Over 7 years of having up to 3 indoor Devon Rex cats, we have very rarely felt compelled to vacuum or brush any shed cat hair.
The Devon's coat is usually tightly waved or crinkled. As their whiskers try to likewise coil and wave, they tend to get broken off, whether in grooming, wrestling or petting. In some cases, exceedingly long facial or eyebrow whiskers must be snipped before they can curl back into the cat's eyes to cause an irritation or infection. Devons tolerate such grooming well, and are also patient with having their claws clipped with standard fingernail clippers (a smart practice for the occasionally-outdoor cat, both to save one's furniture and drapes, and to allow the cat some defensive tools outdoors). Some breeders and Devon-fanciers recommend keeping the cat indoors, to prevent transmitted diseases from wildlife, and because the typical Devon's size may make it an inviting target for neighboring animal bullies. But we have always found our Devons enjoy and appreciate outdoor life. (And we appreciate the break from their near-constant attention!)
Devons also REALLY enjoy their indoor life. They are extremely good-natured, affectionate and intelligent. Cats that have significant human contact, especially when young, will strongly bond with one or more of their owners. And Devon's can be devilishly playful, more like puppies than cats, and will even occasionally bring their toys to their owner to signal play-time. These cats can be very athletic, are good jumpers (especially when playing), and love to nestle in nooks, crannies, cardboard boxes, clothes dryers, kitchen cabinets, plastic bags, in fact anything just-cat-sized. They are much less aloof than the typical housecat, will gravitate to your favorite chair and bed, and will often follow their human about the house. As one breeder advised us, "You will never go to the bathroom alone again." They are particularly fond of (some would say insistent at) nestling between one's neck and shoulder. The Devons can also develop a fairly consistent language with their owner, and are well able to make their feelings known. Their even-tempered natures enable them to make friends more easily than many other breeds, and they are much less likely to hide in the spare bedroom every time company arrives.
Though most cats spend a great deal of their time sleeping, you are likely to find your Devon sleeping less than you expect; there's simply too much interesting stuff happening with their human! They appear to have fairly active metabolisms, and therefore (to a somewhat lesser degree than hairless Sphinx cats) tend to radiate body heat. Devons are medium-sized cats, though their sleek coats may make them appear tinier.
For house and apartment dwellers, a Devon Rex kitten or cat may thus be the ideal pet: cute, perfectly sized, warm, affectionate, intelligent, playful, low-maintenance, and near-hypo-allergenic. As long as you don't mind leaving the bathroom door ajar!
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