Saturday, August 1, 2009

Devon Rex Hijinks and History

Below is an email from my mother and a portion of an interview that should be recorded in the Devon Rex history books....

"You would have died laughing last night. I was finally able to make plans to talk to G about her beginnings. Try as I may I could not get her to send me an email with it all written out. So The Samurai and I secretly prepared for the phone call before I dialed G. The Samurai was at the computer with the phone head set on with the volume muted and her hands on the key board ready to go. I was at the table with pen in hand ready to take notes on anything she missed.

I called G and she began to tell me the story. The Samurai typed her fingers flying across the keyboard, I with my pen and paper writing as fast as I could. We thought if we both took notes we would not miss anything! During the call we could NOT look at each other for fear of laughing and giving the secret away. This went on for almost an hour with our dear dear G not having ANY idea at all that there anyone else was listening in on our conversation. I did feel a little guilty for the dishonesty for a minute but then thought about how happy she will be with the surprise recognition!"

“Is it true that you were forced to breed Devons in order to buy your first one?”
"Yes, one breeder insisted on making us breeders against our will rather than selling us a pet.
In 1982 the last of our Burma black Siamese died. We always had 3 or 4 of them. My husband didn’t want anymore after our last one died as he’d always be comparing new to old.
I went to a show on Sat. to look at Cornish and Abbeys which is what we thought we wanted.

There in an end cage was a cat I had never laid eyes on one before. It was this hairless thing with tuffs on its ears. Looked like fur boots on, with great big eyes, turned up noise, ears falling off the side of its head. I gasped, I giggled, and I almost dropped to my knees helpless with laughter. It was the weirdest, funniest thing I ever saw. I was a goner.

Sat night I hauled my husband down off the ski slop and told him he had to come with me to the cat show Sunday....
The breeder/owner of this cat said, "Anyone who wants the female Tortie has to pay $350 for her, register her, show her immediately, breed her, and register a cattery name with CFA."

We went outside to have a smoke and talk. Came back in and said we’d take both.
Makes me laugh today, there’s no way in Hell someone can get started in Devons like this today.

In those days they were throw away cats in the sense that they weren’t recognized by CFA.
When approached the Board of Directors said no to Devon Rex. They said they have the “Rex” cat and you’re a variation.

We kept our end of the bargain with the breeder and showed the Tortie girl. My husband thought showing was the most boring thing. We showed Lucy in the 4-8 month kitten class then learned about opens and winner’s ribbons and became a Champion and I said, Halleluiah, I’m done!!! Then the breeder said we had to Grand her!...

Back then there were Rex cats only. We were told Devons were to be bred to the Rex standard. Eventually Devons were allowed in as provisional. Judges did not like them – No rosettes - or breed ribbons. Some Judges would ask questions and were interested and intrigued by these cats. CFA finally accepted Devons as seperate from Cornish Rex in 1984 but it took 4 or 5 years before Devons started making finals."

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