Grooming a Devon Rex Cat
Devons have sparse, extremely short hair, so need little brushing. However, some Devons need regular bathing because of the buildup of sebaceous secretions. All cats produce these oily secretions, but Devons don’t have as much hair to absorb these oils. Allowed to collect, the oils can make the coat look greasy and can even contribute to skin problems. Too, their large ears seem to accumulate more dirt and oils than is usual, so careful cleaning with a cotton swab each week is recommended.
The need for bathing varies from cat to cat, however. Some need a weekly bath while others need bathing only rarely. Either way, it’s important to train your Devon early to tolerate bathing.
Since the Devon gene pool is small, inbreeding is a concern. Cardiomyopathy and a muscular dystrophy-like disease called hereditary myopathy has been found in a few bloodlines. Be sure to buy from a breeder who offers a written health guarantee.
Rumor has it that Devon rex cats are hypoallergenic and can be tolerated by those allergic to cats. Unfortunately, rumor is mistaken; no breed of cat is hypoallergenic. Devons do shed less than cats with ordinary coats, which is great for keeping your favorite furniture free of hair. However, it’s not hair that causes the allergic reaction in most people, but an allergenic enzyme called Fel d1 that’s secreted via saliva and sebaceous glands. Devons produce as much of this enzyme as any cat and during grooming they spread it onto their fur. However, since Devons shed less of their allergen-covered hair and can be regularly bathed to remove the enzyme, some people can tolerate them. If you’re allergic, plan to spend some time with a Devon before agreeing to buy.