is a breed
claimed by breed founder Carol Ann Brewers to be a progeny
of naturally occurring Bobcat hybrids
. Later DNA
testing failed to detect Bobcat marker genes and these cats are considered wholly domestic for the purposes of ownership, cat fancy
registration, import and export.
In the spring of 1985 , Carol Ann Brewer purchased a polydactyl
spotted male kitten from the base of Mount Baker
(Washington State - Cascade Range). This male had a short tail like a Bob cat
. In January 1986 , she rescued another male cat. This cat was very large and had a bobcat tail. While this cat was starving, it still weighed 17 pounds, and was so tall it reached up to Brewer’s knees. Shortly after she had acquired this large male, it mated with a wild looking brown spotted female cat next door. In April 1986 a litter was born from this mating. Brewer eventually kept one of the kitten, named "Pixie", and after a year started a breeding program with Pixie as the foundation cat. Over the next couple of years, Brewer introduced into the program 23 cats from around the Cascade Mountains
area that were believed to be born from naturally occurring matings between the Bobcat and domestic cat. She coined the term "Legend Cat" to refer to such cats.
The Pixie-bob was accepted into the "Exhibition" category by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1993, promoted to "New Breed and Color" status in 1996 and eventually gained Championship status in 1998. The Pixie-Bob was classified by TICA initially as a "Native New Breed", defined as "A new breed which has been identified through selection of phenotypically similar individuals from a naturally occurring population indigenous to a particular geographic region." but it is now classified as a "Newer Natural/Regional Breed". "Legend Cats" used for outcrossing are to be individually subjected to approval by three TICA judges.
In 1996, DNA testing by Stormant Labs in California determined that Pixie-Bobs are genetically distinct and not related to other breeds.
Pixie-Bob cats share many of the physical and personality characteristics of bobcats, except they are approximately half the size, and do not have some of the wild characteristics. Pixie-Bobs are a paradox. They look and act very much like Bobcats, but are legally defined as domestic cats. For a cat to be considered a Certified TICA Pixie-Bob cats, they cannot be bred with bobcats, and one of their parents must be traced back to Pixie the cat.
Pixie-Bobs are approximately 50% larger than most domestic cats (which weigh 5.5–16 lb or 2.5–7 kg). Most Pixie-Bobs have black fur and skin on the bottom of their paws, tipped ears, heavy ear hair, black lips, and white fur around the eyes but with black eye skin. Their chins have white fur, but often have black skin under the white fur. Some of their whiskers change from Black (root - about 25%) to White (to the tip - about 75% of the whisker).Tiger-like fur pattern, but often have reddish tones mixed in. Stomach is often reddish-gold in color with some ticking (broken stripes). Most are short-haired, but some are long-haired. Eyes are almond shaped and tilted. Eyes are blue when kittens, then change to green, and finally to gold when several months old (some don't change completely to Gold, but have a Gold with a green tint). Tails can be non-existent (rumpy), or 2-4 inches (desired - TICA required), or long tails (Pixie was a long tail). Long tails are docked by some breeders due to the relative popularity of the bobtail look. The head is usually-pear shaped. The head and tail are considered the important characteristics. They grow for 3 years instead of 1 year like most domestic cats.
Pixie-bobs are highly intelligent, social, active (but not hyper-active), bold, and enjoy playing with other animals.
They are also known for their "chirps", chatters, and growls; most don't meow often, and some don't meow at all. Chirping is essentially their "language", and some of their chirping actually sounds like purring.
Some Pixie-Bobs can be highly sociable around both their owners and strangers, while others are shy around strangers. Almost all Pixie-Bobs like to be in the same room as their owners, and will follow their owners around the house.
Other personality characteristics include the following:
- Head butting
- Ball fetching and playing
- Leash walking (for the most part)
- Highly intelligent (To use a dog analogy, their intelligence would be similar to a Golden Retriever's)
- Capable of understanding some human words and phrases
Pixie-Bob as a Pet
The question that most people ask is, “Does a Pixie-Bob fit me and my life style?” Pixie-Bobs fit best in homes where the owners are cat connoisseurs. Cat connoisseurs go absolutely bonkers over Pixie-Bobs. Most go on to acquire at least one more Pixie-Bob for their family. Some describe Pixie-Bobs as a step above all other domestic cats. Some owners describe their first interaction with a Pixie-Bob as, “love at first sight”. Some fall absolutely in love with Pixie-Bobs within minutes. Pixie-bobs may not fit well into families that have a low or medium interest in cats. Pixie-Bobs are very social, and require daily interaction with people. They love people but are not a great fan of other cats. While Pixie-Bobs are not needy or smothering, they do demand interaction with humans. They can become depressed without the proper interaction. Some Pixie-Bobs sit at the back door (like a dog) waiting for their owners to return home. Some don’t like to be picked up when they are young, but like to sit next to (or on their lap), or be in the same room. You should also expect them to follow their owners around the house.
Pixie Bobs do very well with leash training and can be taken for walks. It is important to chose a full body harness when attempting to take your Pixie Bob outside for a walk. This way you and your Pixie Bob can enjoy the outdoors - without the dangers.
Toys and Claws
All cats have their favorite toys. But, it seems that almost all Pixie-Bobs really like balls. The favorite ball is miniature Nerf balls (Can be found at PetSmart, look like soccer balls). Many Pixie-Bobs are also “claw happy”. Claw happy means that they like to climb things. They require a cat tree with manila rope, and/or real tree branches or climbing logs in the basement. Pixie-Bobs take to manila rope immediately. Very few Pixie-Bobs will claw furniture if they have sufficient climbing material (cat tree, or cat stand, or real trees). With sufficient climbing material Pixie-Bobs do not need to have their claws clipped periodically.
When searching for the perfect Pixie-Bob, people need to consider a couple things. If you are considering a Pixie-Bob to show at cat shows, then you should concentrate on physical characteristics. If you are considering a Pixie-Bob as a pet, then you should concentrate on the Pixie-Bob’s personality. The “right” personality will create a long-lasting bond with your pet that will last the life of the pet, and creates the most happiness. Some people become side-tracked by having a Pixie-Bob with the perfect tail. The first Pixie-Bob (Pixie) actually had a long tail. The reason there is a Pixie-Bob breed is because of Pixie’s (first Pixie-Bob) personality. Carol Ann Brewer (creator of the Pixie-Bob breed) was so enthralled with Pixie’s personality she wanted to create a thousand cats like her. The personality of the Pixie-Bob is the key to a great pet. Some have different personalities, so find one that fits you and your family. Don’t be side tracked by, “I must have the perfect purebred to be happy” syndrome. Most reputable Pixie-Bob breeders want their Pixie-Bobs to go to the right homes, so ask the breeder for suggestions and help with selecting the perfect Pixie-Bob for you.
Health and Vet Information
As the breed is frequently outcrossed to "legend cats", Pixie-bobs are genetically diverse and are not prone to problems caused by inbreeding. Pixie-bob breeders use a disease database to ensure that health information can be recorded and monitored. Some rare genetic diseases includes the following:
- Cryptorchidism - Only a few cases have been recorded since the conception of this breed (1980's).
- Dystocia and cystic endometrial hyperplasia: - A very small percentage of Pixie-Bobs do suffer from delivery problems. Those who do suffer from these disease are removed from breeding.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) - Since the advent of the Pixie-Bob breed in the 1980s only a few cases have been reported. In each of those cases the Pixie-Bob was cross-bred with other breeds of cats.