By Robbi Hess
Because of my immersion in the pet industry I understand the importance of adopting shelter pets. I have had up to five adopted and/or rescue cats in my life at one time; currently I have three rescues and my new Devon Rex kitten.
I have long yearned for a Devon Rex, but resisted until I found a local breeder with whom I could meet before I got my kitten. I also didn’t want to have a kitten shipped on a plane to get to me; leaving your mom and siblings is traumatic enough without adding a plane trip to the mix.
Welcoming my Devon Rex
It was the in depth research I did into the breed that let me know at some point I needed to share my life with a Devon Rex. From their gamine, pixie faces to their big bat-like ears to the “dog-like” personalities they exhibit the breed intrigued me.
Here’s what I knew about Devon Rex before I brought Ickis (more on his name later!) home
- They’re active
- They’re energetic
- They enjoy “delighting their parents”
- They have soft, curly coats
- They are little clowns
- They love to eat
- They love to jump and climb
- They’re not hypo-allergenic
- They don’t need their coats brushed
- They need a warm place in which to rest
Here’s what I know about having lived with Ickis for the past few months
- He is non stop energy until he is exhausted, then…
- He loves to be inside your clothing. If he can be next to your skin he’s happy, but is content to be inside your sweater
- He loves to play fetch. The sound of a piece of paper being crinkled brings him running. He will fetch and return it as long as I am willing to toss it.
- He is whip smart. He will sit, when asked and bribed with a treat. When our dogs go to the bathroom, they get a “poop snack.” Ickis knows when the dogs come in, he will get a snack if he runs and sits in the corner so the dogs can’t steal his snack away from him.
- His coat is oh so soft.
- He is funny. He meows when you talk to him, plays with dog toys, pounces on our legs when we walk through the house. He is constantly “attacking” his older brother, Parker… but then he snuggles into Parker on the couch and happily falls asleep with him.
- He LOVES to eat. Our other cats have NEVER cared what was going on at our dinner table. Ickis knows when we are sitting down to dinner and he will sit on the arm of my chair and tap me with his paw or will sit next to the dogs, by the table and meow. He is right in the middle of the dogs when a plate is set on the floor; he has no fear and has a seemingly never-satiated appetite.
- He loves to climb and jump. He climbs the curtains. He walks on top of the curtain rods. He launched himself, several times into the Christmas tree. He loves to sit on the shoulders of his humans.
- He loves to sleep in bed with me. When Ickis first came home I couldn’t bring myself to leave him out with what my daughter called, “the general population” so I brought him into the bedroom, put a litter box in the bathroom and assumed he’d settle in on top of the blankets with the dogs. No. Ickis came to my pillow, kept bumping my head with his and scratching at the blankets. I lifted the blanket, he shot himself under, snuggled into me and promptly fell asleep. He sleeps there every night.
- Ickis loves and understands routine. Bedtime brings the ritual of my saying to Henrietta, the diva poodle, “Time to stretch your bones and go to bed.” Henrietta gets up, stretches and we go out. Ickis unfurls himself from the lap upon which he is lying, stretches and runs to the hallway. If “outs” is “successful,” everyone gets a snack before bed. Ickis eats his snack then races Henrietta to the bedroom door, waiting for me.
- He loves water. Just as Ickis comes running when paper is crumpled, an open faucet is a siren song for him as well. He bats the water. He sits in the sink. He drinks from the running faucet. Toilet seats need to be closed at all time or we will hear him splashing around in the bowl.
How “Caleb” became Ickis
When I brought my Devon home, his name was Caleb. It wasn’t a name that worked for me, but I couldn’t figure out a fitting name. For a few hours his name was “Vlad” because he has such a pronounced widow’s peak. That didn’t stick. The name “Ickis” popped into my head and is based on a cartoon character from a Nickelodeon show from the early 1990s called “AAAhhhhh! Real Monsters!” There was a purple “monster” with huge ears, a triangle pixie face and big ears. Ickis was his name and the name perfectly fit that little kitten and has stuck.
Big personality in a tiny package
Ickis is now six-months-old and is smaller than the other cats, but his personality is much, much larger. The other cats – Parker, Jessie and Lucy – will quietly await a meal; Ickis howls and taps my leg while I prepare their dinner. The other cats will slip quietly into my lap for a few strokes and some snuggling. Ickis meows and does contortions until he is inside my sweater. The begging at the dinner table… more dog-like than even my dogs. He absolutely loves riding in the car. All I have to do is pull out his car carrier, unzip it and he hops right in. He rides quietly for the three hour trip to our River House. Ickis is part of the pack who greets me at the door when I come home – whether I’ve been gone five minutes or five hours.
Ickis enjoys wearing sweaters. Okay, I may be projecting when I say “enjoys” sweaters; let’s just say he lets me put sweaters on him without much fuss or struggle.
My Heart Cat
I hear so many people talk about their “heart” dogs and I know that Henrietta is definitely mine. She has been with me through a lot of personal struggles – losing both my mom and my dad and living through my breast cancer treatments. Henrietta is my stress barometer; when I am stressed, she starts pacing and begging to be picked up – I know then that I am feeling pressure and she calms me down.
Ickis has captured my heart in a way no other cat I have shared my life with has ever done. He looks right at me when I speak. He tilts his head, then meows; it’s like he is pondering before he responds. The way he snuggles into me every night in bed is something I have never had any other cat do, it helps me fall asleep and puts a smile on my face when I wake up and see him during the night.
Award winning author Robbi Hess is a pet blogger who writes at My Divas Dish and All Words Matter. She is the Chief Cat Herder and Executive Story Editor at Positively Woof’s cat page, Crimeless Cat. She shares her life with her husband, two dogs, four cats and three lizards. On occasion she babysits her daughters’ two cats and two ferrets.