Are Devon Rex Cats Aggressive? 8 Possible Causes Of Devon Rex Aggression

One look at a Devon Rex, with its elf-like ears and curling whiskers, can melt the hearts of cat lovers everywhere. This unique breed, known for its soft, curly coat and playful nature, is a delight to have around. While they are generally known for being social, friendly, and affectionate, there are times when a Devon Rex may show signs of aggression, which can be a cause for concern for many pet parents.

The word “aggression” might paint an alarming picture, but it’s essential to understand that cats use aggression as a form of communication. It’s their way of expressing discomfort, fear, or a myriad of other emotions. If your Devon Rex is exhibiting aggressive behavior, understanding the root cause is the first step to addressing it.

Most Common Causes Of Aggression In Devon Rex Cats

Like any feline, a Devon Rex might show signs of aggression due to various factors, ranging from physical ailments and anxiety, to territorial instincts and poor socialization. Knowing these causes can help you better manage any unexpected aggressive behavior your Devon Rex might display.

Illness Or Injury

A primary cause of aggression in Devon Rex cats can be an illness or injury. If your usually docile and playful feline friend starts hissing, growling, or even swiping at you, it may be a sign that they are in pain or discomfort. The pain could be due to an obvious injury, like a cut or bruise, or due to an internal issue that’s not visible to the naked eye.

In other instances, chronic conditions such as arthritis or dental disease can be the culprit behind the pain-induced aggression. Older cats, in particular, are more prone to these conditions. It’s always essential to monitor any behavioral changes in your cat and consult with your vet if you notice signs of aggression.

If your Devon Rex is unwell, they might not have the energy to engage in their usual play and may react aggressively when prompted. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure they receive proper medical care. Once they feel better, they will likely return to their typical, loving selves.


A scared cat is an aggressive cat. When a Devon Rex cat feels threatened, it may respond with aggression as a defense mechanism. These threats can come in many forms, such as a new pet, a new person in the house, or a sudden change in their environment.

Fear-induced aggression can also be triggered by a past traumatic experience. If a cat has had negative experiences with certain situations, people, or other animals, it may react aggressively when confronted with similar circumstances in the future.

Devon Rex cat.
Devon Rex Cat


Stress, much like fear, can lead to aggressive behavior in Devon Rex cats. Changes in the household, such as moving to a new location, introducing a new pet, or even rearranging furniture, can cause stress and anxiety in cats.

Even smaller changes, like a shift in the daily routine, can be stressful for a cat. Remember, cats thrive on routine and predictability. If their usual routine is disrupted, they might show signs of stress, which can manifest as aggression.

Poor Socialization

Socialization plays a critical role in shaping a cat’s behavior. For cats, the most crucial socialization period is between the ages of 2 and 7 weeks. During this time, positive interactions with people and other animals are essential for developing a well-adjusted adult cat.

A poorly socialized Devon Rex might struggle to interact appropriately with people and other pets, leading to aggressive behavior. They may not understand how to communicate or play without resorting to biting or scratching, which can be perceived as aggression.

Poor socialization isn’t necessarily a life sentence, though. With patience, consistent training, and plenty of positive reinforcement, poorly socialized cats can learn to interact more appropriately and reduce their aggressive behavior.

Resource Guarding

Resource guarding refers to the behavior where a cat becomes protective over their food, toys, or even their favorite humans. If a Devon Rex perceives another pet or person as a threat to these resources, it may react aggressively.

Resource guarding can be managed by ensuring each pet in your home has its own food bowls, toys, and safe spaces. This will help reduce any potential conflicts and the aggression associated with resource guarding.

Mating Behavior

Mating behavior can be another cause of aggression in Devon Rex cats. Unneutered males can become particularly aggressive during the mating season as they compete with other males. They may also display aggression towards people if they feel their attempts to mate are being blocked.

Female Devon Rex cats may also become aggressive during their heat cycles. This can be exacerbated if they are unable to mate, leading to frustration and potentially aggressive behavior.

Spaying and neutering can help control this mating-related aggression. Not only is it good for managing aggressive behavior, but it’s also beneficial for the cat’s health and helps control the population of stray and unwanted cats.

Territorial Aggression

Cats are territorial animals, and the Devon Rex is no exception. They establish territories and can become aggressive if they perceive another cat, or even a person, to be infringing upon their territory.

Territorial aggression can manifest as hissing, growling, or even physical swiping at the perceived intruder. This behavior is especially common in multi-cat households, where the introduction of a new cat can disrupt the established territories.

Proper introductions, ensuring ample resources for all cats, and providing each cat with its own territory in the house can help manage and prevent territorial aggression.

Redirected Aggression

Redirected aggression occurs when a Devon Rex cat becomes aroused or agitated by something it can’t reach, and it takes out its frustration on the nearest person or pet. This can happen, for example, if your cat spots a bird or another cat outside the window but can’t get to it.

This form of aggression can be puzzling and shocking because it can happen without any apparent provocation. The best way to handle this type of aggression is to avoid touching or picking up your cat when it’s in an aroused state and giving it time to calm down.

Orange Devon Rex cat.
Devon Rex Cat Sitting Near The Window

How To Prevent Aggression In Devon Rex Cats

Preventing aggression in your Devon Rex cat starts with understanding the causes of aggressive behavior and providing an environment that meets their needs. Aggression is often a response to stress, discomfort, or fear, so it’s vital to ensure your cat feels safe, comfortable, and understood in your home. Recognizing and respecting your Devon Rex’s boundaries can also go a long way in preventing aggressive behaviors.

  • Health Check-ups: Regular veterinary check-ups are a crucial part of preventing aggression in your Devon Rex. These check-ups can help detect any health issues that might be causing pain or discomfort and leading to aggressive behavior. By addressing these health issues early, you can prevent the associated aggression.
  • Proper Socialization: Proper socialization from a young age can prevent many behavior problems, including aggression. Ensure your Devon Rex is exposed to different people, animals, and environments early on to help them develop into a well-adjusted adult.
  • Environmental Enrichment: A bored cat can become a stressed cat, and a stressed cat can become an aggressive cat. Providing plenty of toys, scratching posts, and safe spaces for your cat to explore can prevent boredom and the associated stress and aggression.
  • Avoid Punishment: It might be tempting to punish your cat when they exhibit aggressive behavior, but this can often exacerbate the problem by increasing fear and stress. Instead, reward good behavior and try to redirect aggressive behavior to more appropriate outlets.
  • Slow Introductions: If you’re introducing a new pet or person into your home, do so gradually. Sudden changes can be stressful for cats and can trigger aggressive behaviors.
  • Spay/Neuter: If your Devon Rex is not already spayed or neutered, consider doing so. This can prevent aggression associated with hormonal changes or mating behavior.

By taking these steps, you can create an environment where your Devon Rex feels safe, comfortable, and understood, which can help prevent aggressive behavior. However, remember that each cat is unique. If your Devon Rex continues to exhibit aggressive behaviors despite your best efforts, it might be time to consult with a vet or a certified animal behaviorist for more personalized advice.

In the end, an understanding, patient, and loving approach will go a long way in preventing aggression in your Devon Rex. After all, a happy cat is a well-behaved cat, and a well-behaved cat makes for a harmonious home.


Despite their mischievous appearance, Devon Rex cats are often loving, sociable companions. Instances of aggression are generally the exception, not the rule, and are usually a form of communication rather than unprovoked hostility. With a bit of patience and understanding, you can maintain harmony in your home and deepen your bond with your Devon Rex.

In the end, your Devon Rex, like any cat, wants to feel secure and loved. Providing a supportive environment that caters to their needs will go a long way in keeping aggression at bay. Let your Devon Rex guide you in understanding their unique personality, as this understanding is the key to a happy and healthy relationship with your furry friend.


How can I stop my Devon Rex cat from being aggressive?

To stop your Devon Rex from being aggressive, identify the root cause of the aggression, be it illness, fear, or stress, and address it accordingly. Regular vet check-ups, proper socialization, and a safe, enriched environment can help manage and prevent aggressive behavior.

What makes Devon Rex cats aggressive?

Various factors can trigger aggression in Devon Rex cats, including illness or injury, fear, stress, poor socialization, resource guarding, mating behavior, territorial aggression, and redirected aggression.

Are Devon Rex cats aggressive by nature?

No, Devon Rex cats are not aggressive by nature. They are generally known to be friendly, sociable, and affectionate. However, like any other cats, certain circumstances can lead to aggressive behavior.

Can Devon Rex cats be trained to be less aggressive?

Yes, with proper socialization, environmental enrichment, and understanding of their needs and boundaries, Devon Rex cats can be trained to reduce aggressive behavior. If the aggression persists, it is advisable to consult a vet or a certified animal behaviorist.

About The Author

Jennifer Terell, a valued author at Allpetsville, is an experienced cat owner and breeder. Her deep understanding of felines, coupled with a passion for writing, contributes to her insightful and engaging articles.

Her expertise in cat behavior, health, and breeding offers readers a comprehensive guide to feline care. Through her writings, Jennifer’s love for cats resonates, making her a reliable resource for cat owners and enthusiasts on their pet parenting journey.