The Devon Rex is said to resemble a pixie — both in physical features and in temperament. He is a mischievous and playful cat.
The Devon Rex is often said to resemble a pixie, and if you know anything about folklore, you know that pixies are mischievous little troublemakers. The Devon is highly intelligent and highly active. Expect him to be perched on your shoulder, at your side, or in your lap, avidly supervising everything you do. He is capable of jumping to great heights — think the top of your tallest bookshelf — and loves learning tricks, including playing the piano. With his playful, outgoing nature, the Devon Rex is a good choice for families with older children, other pets, or frequent guests. He is a good traveler and makes an excellent therapy cat.
You may hear that the Devon Rex coat is hypoallergenic because of its texture, but that is not correct. Allergies are not caused by a particular coat type but by dander, the dead skin cells that are shed by all cats (and people, for that matter). There is no scientific evidence that any breed or crossbreed is more or less allergenic than any other cat. Some people with allergies react less severely to particular cats, but no reputable breeder will guarantee that her cats are hypoallergenic.
The Devon Rex is well suited to any home with people who will love him, play with him, and give him the attention he seeks. Keep him indoors to protect him from sunburn, cars, diseases spread by other cats, and attacks from other animals.
In 1960, Miss Beryl Cox was living in Buckfastleigh, Devon, England, near an old abandoned tin mine. A curly-coated feral tomcat was known to live around the mine, but no one had been able to capture the wild cat. Miss Cox, a kind woman who had been crippled as a result of a war injury, gave shelter to a feral tortoiseshell and white female behind her house. When this female gave birth to kittens in her back garden, Miss Cox was not surprised to find that one of them was a beautiful, brownish-black male with lots of curls, some of which even cascaded in ringlets on his tail. It is believed that this mother was an offspring of the unnamed and untouchable tin mine troubadour, and that this litter was sired by him as well. Miss Cox, being a cat lover, decided to keep this lovely kitten who was the spitting image of his father as her own pet. She named him Kirlee.
Alison Ashford, of Annelida Cattery, one of the early pioneers in Britain's Devon breeding, tells of her first Devon acquisition:
"I visited Mrs. Sedgefield of Esher one day in 1962 and saw Du-Bu-Debbie, a young tortoiseshell female, with her litter of Rex and plain kittens. One kitten jumped into my arms from the floor, and literally refused to be put down. I tried to turn away, but loud purring and a wagging tail were prelude to another amorous leap. This was Broughm, then six months old. I could not then really afford the price of a Rex kitten, but I could not leave him. So I rashly wrote a cheque on my housekeeping account and phoned home to warn my husband to have a bed ready for the new acquisition. A great debt of gratitude is owed to Alison Ashford and to those like her who contributed so greatly to the breed that we have come to know and love. By 1967, the Devon Rex was accepted for competition in Europe (GCCF) and Mrs. Gentry's Amharic Kurly Katie, bred by a Mrs. Knight, became the first Devon Rex Champion in any association. Since that time, the British-bred Devon Rex have traveled to many countries where new eager enthusiasts were engaged in the endeavor of bringing these pixies to the world. The first Devon to cross the Atlantic was Annelida Smokey Pearl, who was sent to Miss Mary Carroll of Canada. Shortly thereafter, Annelida Callidor joined Pearl. There were, however, no known breedings that took place with these cats. The first North American breeding program of Devon Rex was established in 1968. Marion White and her daughter Anita had become familiar with the breed following a military posting in England. Two lovely cats, Annelida Aubretia and Wigmel Black Witch, winged their way across the great ocean and came to live with the Whites in their home in Austin, Texas. Anglo-Tex Devon Rex was born with these two cats chosen by Alison Ashford.