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.
Come to America
Alison Ashford, of Annelida Cattery, one of the early pioneers
in Britain's Devon breeding, tells of her first Devon acquisition:
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.
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.
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.