Although the Pixiebob looks much like a wild bobcat, this breed with an adorable name is as friendly and loving as a cat can be. These cats make wonderful companions for feline lovers who want a big easy-going companion with "dog-like" qualities.
Pixiebob Cat Origins
The Pixiebob is rumored to have originated in 1985 when a barn cat in Washington state mated with a wild Coastal Red Bobcat, producing a kitten with the bobbed tail and spotted pattern of a bobcat. However, DNA testing of the breed indicates that there is no wild cat in the Pixiebob breed, and it's believed the sire was a polydactyl tabby male with a short tail. The kitten, named Pixie by her owner, breeder Carol Ann Brewer, was used to develop the breed by mating with other naturally bobtailed cats. The breed was accepted for championship status by The International Cat Association in 1998.
Pixiebob Physical Characteristics
The Pixiebob looks strikingly like a wild bobcat, despite the fact that they are not hybrids. They are big cats, weighing as much as 14 pounds for females and 18 pounds as males. They are thick, heavyset cats with a muscular body, broad chest, full chin, and hooded eyes that give them a sleepy, relaxed look. Their back legs are also longer than the front legs, which causes them to walk much like a wild cat. The breed can come with a bobbed, short, or long tail, although long-tailed cats often have their tails docked by breeders.
Polydactylism is very common within the breed. In fact, they are the only breed with this trait recognized by The International Cat Association, which allows up to seven toes per paw. Their eyes are either green, gold, or a golden-brown color. The Pixiebob is also a slow maturing breed, with females reaching full maturity around 4 years of age and males around 5 years.
Caring for the Pixiebob Coat
The Pixiebob comes in both a short and long-hair variety. Their coat color is a brown tabby pattern that can be various shades of light brown to reddish-brown. They may also have some silvery to black ticking on their fur. Their tabby markings will either be spotted, rosettes, or the classic mackerel patterns. Pixiebob coats are black around the paw pads, tip of the tail, and ears. They also have white fur on their chins and a white or creamy white color around the eyes.
The short-haired Pixiebobs have a thick, woolly double coat, while the less common long-haired cats have lighter, silkier fur. They also have tufts of hair at the base of their ears and on the tips, as well as extra facial hair like a Bobcat. The Pixiebob is a low maintenance cat, and the grooming regimen for both the short-hair and long-hair cats include a weekly brushing, ear cleaning, and nail trimming.
Personality of the Pixiebob Cat
The Pixiebob is often described as "dog-like" because they have a relaxed temperament and are friendly to everyone they meet. These cats can easily learn to walk on a leash and appear to enjoy going on walks around the neighborhood. Pixiebobs are also known for actually loving playing in water, which is unusual for a cat breed. They're very smart and are a great cat choice for teaching tricks with a clicker. Due to their high intelligence, these cats can become bored, so they should be provided with lots of interactive cat toys and cat trees with a window view.
Pixiebobs enjoy playing with children and do well with other cats and dogs in the home. However, they may not do well with smaller pets and birds, as they are excellent hunters with a strong prey drive. The Pixiebob is also known for being a cat who will regularly "talk" to you using chirps, chatters, growls, and other noises, though they are not generally a loud breed. Overall, this is a cat that loves their people and is affectionate but will want to hang out with you and needs more interaction than a typical lap cat.
Pixiebob Health Concerns
The Pixiebob has an average lifespan of about 13 years. They are generally a healthy, sturdy cat with a few medical conditions common to the breed:
- Dystocia is a problem that occurs during birth which can make labor particularly painful and even result in fetal malformation or loss of the kittens entirely.
- Cryptorchidism occurs when one or both of a male cat's testicles do not descend. These require more invasive surgery to remove during the neutering process, and if left without surgery, they can become cancerous.
- Cystic endometrial hyperplasia involves cysts in a cat's uterus that become filled with pus and can be potentially life-threatening if not treated right away.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a condition involving a cat's heart muscles that can be mild through severe depending on the individual cat.
- Obesity is a common problem with these cats as they are naturally large, and sometimes owners can overfeed them without understanding what a healthy weight for a cat truly is.
Getting a Pixiebob Kitten
Since the Pixiebob is still a fairly new breed, finding a purebred kitten will take time and effort. You can expect to pay around $500 to $1,500 for a kitten, although a show quality kitten may be as high as $5,000. You can start a search for Pixiebob kittens by looking up breeders on The International Cat Association website. Because of the rarity of the breed, finding a Pixiebob in rescue will be difficult, although you may find breeders who know of older cats that need to be re-homed.
Is the Pixiebob the Right Cat For You?
The Pixiebob is a unique cat in that it truly looks like a hybrid breed, though it's not. Their "wild" looks are nothing like their personality, which is generally described as laid back, easygoing, friendly, and loving. These cats are an excellent choice for a family with children who want a feline friend who enjoys going out on walks, hanging out with their family, and are low maintenance. They are hard to find, though, being a newer breed, so if you have your heart set on a Pixiebob, be prepared to do some work to find one and be ready for the additional expense of getting a purebred kitten.