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Devon Rex Cats: An Interview with Fancy Cat

Devon Rex cats have special traits.

Our resident feline expert, a cat herself, has been dabbling in journalism. She's on a mission to interview a member of each of the 10 most popular cat breeds in America. Below is Fancy's interview with Yoda, a representative of the Devon rex breed.

Fancy: Good morning, Yoda; thanks for visiting with us today!

Yoda: My pleasure, Fancy; thanks for having me. Did you know that there's someone with a microphone in here? I'd really love to get my paws on that microphone.

Fancy: Yes, he's amplifying your voice so we can be sure to hear everything you say. Maybe you can play with it after the interview. Can you tell me about the history of the Devon rex cat breed?

Yoda: Well, back in 1960, a rescued stray female cat in Devon, England mated with a wavy-coated male, and their male kitten had a wavy coat! His owner named him Kirlee, isn't that cute? Anyway, everyone assumed that the gene for their wavy coats was related to that of Cornish rex cats because they had sprung up nearby. But we Devon rex's were tricky, even back then! They took that cat from Devon and mated him with a Cornish rex, and guess what? All the kittens had straight hair! Our wavy-coat gene is different from the Cornish rex's wavy-coat gene. Ha!

Fancy: Very tricky, Yoda! Speaking of tricky, let's talk some more about the common personality traits of Devon rex cats.

Yoda: My favorite subject! We Devon rex cats have huge personalities. We're intelligent, playful, curious, and athletic. We love to climb and jump, and we can even be taught to do tricks like dogs. Speaking of tricks; as I mentioned, we love to play them. We've been said to have impish personalities that match our pixie-like looks. It's important that our humans keep us busy by spending time training us to do tricks, playing with us, and giving us puzzle toys when they aren't around. But you shouldn't leave us alone for long periods of time; we're cats who love to be with people and interact in their daily lives. In fact, many people say they are owned by their Devon rex rather than vice versa.

Fancy: Devon rex cats do have some unique looks. I've heard people say they look like aliens. Hey, is that why your name is Yoda?

Yoda: Yes, my human named me for my big ears, large, wide-set eyes, and alien-like good looks. Devon rex cats have curly coats that have a ripply appearance that's called rexing. We even have curly whiskers! Our coats are mostly undercoat, so they're soft and thin. In fact, when a human brushes us, they need to be gentle because the hairs are easily damaged. Our front legs are a bit shorter than our back ones, we have long necks with large heads, and we have big ears that often have tufts of fur on the ends. Devon rex cats come in all colors and patterns, and we usually weigh 6 to 10 pounds.

Devon rex kittens are definitely cute.

Fancy: Are there any health concerns that are more common with Devon rex cats than other breeds?

Yoda: Unfortunately, yes. There are 3 things that I know of: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a thickening of one of the four chambers of the heart (the left ventricle) that can lead to heart failure if it isn't diagnosed and treated. Patellar luxation is a condition in which the kneecap slips out of place. The affected cat will limp until the kneecap (patella) slips back into place. This may be a minor problem, or it may be severe and require surgical correction. Hereditary myopathy is a muscular disorder in some Devon rex cats that causes affected individuals to hold their chins down by their chests, have some difficulty eating, and tire easily.

Fancy: Are members of your breed easy for the humans to take care of?

Yoda: Other than the regular tooth-brushing, veterinary care, exercise, and feeding that every cat needs, Devon rex cats need some special care in a few areas: we get cold easily because our hair is thin, and we are also more likely to get sunburn or develop skin cancers from sun exposure. We need a nice, cozy bed to keep us safe and warm. We're not well-suited to being outdoors. We may need more calories than other cats because we lose more heat, but it's important to make sure that we stay at a healthy weight. Sometimes we can develop a waxy substance on our skin, especially in our ears and between our toes. If that happens, our human will need to clean it off every week or so.

Fancy: I've heard that Devon rex cats are hypoallergenic, so the humans won't have allergies to you guys. Is that true?

Yoda: Not really. We do shed, and we do clean ourselves, so people who are allergic to cat hair, dander, or saliva may still be bothered by us.

Fancy: Thanks for all of the information, Yoda. What will you be doing with the rest of your day?

Yoda: Oh, my human's going to take me home, and then I'm going to help him make lunch, then help him do the dusting, help with laundry, help him read his paper, help with dinner, then help watch some TV tonight. See you later!

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