Tufted ears like his namesake, the bobcat; a brown spotted tabby coat; and, of course, a bobbed tail come together in the Pixiebob, a relatively new cat breed created to give the impression of wild blood without the actual presence of it. But he’s no mild-mannered Clark Kent of a cat, either. The Pixiebob’s founding breeder, Carol Ann Brewer, describes the cats as “part monkey” because of their intelligence, curiosity and dexterity.
“Life will never be the same once you decide to share it with a Pixiebob,” says Shari Fedewa Richards of Living Legend Pixiebobs in Winter Park, Florida. “They are true companions and members of the family.”
These active cats enjoy being friends in high places, preferably at “heart level” so they can help you or keep you company in whatever you’re doing. Pixiebobs want to be with you, near you or on you, but they’re not obnoxious about it, Shari says. Keep that in mind, though, if it would annoy you to have a cat, er, dogging your footsteps.
“The best family for a Pixiebob would be one that would interact with the cat,” says Marilyn Trenk of Colorado Pixies in eastern Oklahoma. “They love their family members, become quite attached and are as loyal as any dog.”
The Pixiebob enjoys conversing with people. He communicates with a pleasant voice. In addition to the standard meows and purrs, he chatters, chirps and chuffs.
Pixiebobs often love going for car rides, making them a favorite companion of truckers and RVers.
The shorthaired Pixiebob needs weekly brushing. The medium- or long-haired variety should be brushed more often to ensure that he doesn’t develop mats or tangles. Other grooming needs include regular nail trims (be sure you don’t miss any claws), ear cleaning and fang brushing.
The Pixiebob is a large cat and typically weighs 10 to 18 pounds. His medium-length or short coat usually comes in a brown spotted tabby pattern. Pixiebobs with a classic tabby or mackerel-striped coat or who come in blue, black or pointed colors aren’t suited for the show ring, but as pets they are just as much fun to live with and may cost less because of their non-standard look.
This breed’s distinctive appearance includes white markings around the eyes that resemble spectacles; facial fur that gives the cat the appearance of sporting “mutton chops;” gold, brown or gooseberry green eyes; a rolling gait when he walks; and a primordial belly pouch. Most Pixiebobs have some variation on a short tail, which can have kinks, knots, curlicues or simply be straight.
It can take four years for a Pixiebob to achieve full physical maturity.
The Pixiebob is generally healthy. Currently, the breed is not known to have any heritable diseases or drug sensitivities. Like any cat, though, an individual Pixiebob may develop diseases seen in cats, such as pancreatitis or hyperthyroidism.
Tales behind the founding of the Pixiebob purporting that he’s the result of matings between wild bobcats and farmhouse mousers are just that: tales. DNA tests show no sign of wild cat ancestry. The breed’s history began in 1985 when Carol Ann Brewer purchased a short-tailed male kitten with a spotted coat and extra toes. A few months later, she got a male cat named Keba who was so tall he reached her knees. Keba hooked up with a neighboring female named Maggie, and Brewer took home a kitten with a reddish-fawn coat and a wild appearance. She named her Pixie. Those three cats, all of which had a similar distinctive appearance, inspired Brewer to standardize them as a breed.
Brewer called the cats Pixiebobs referencing not only that first female kitten but also the cats’ short tails.
The International Cat Association gave the Pixiebob full breed recognition in 1998, making it just shy of 20 years old. The American Cat Fanciers Association also recognizes the breed.
The outgoing Pixiebob is the host with the most. Expect him to greet your guests, love kids and get along with other pets, including dogs. In fact, he’s one of the cat breeds often described as “doglike” and can be trained to walk on a leash. Think friendly, not fierce.
Pixiebobs are smart and highly trainable. They have even been described as — gasp! — obedient. Obviously, we’re dealing with cats here, so that’s not something you should count on, but it could happen.
Approximately 25 percent of Pixiebobs are polydactyl, meaning they have extra toes. They can have as many as seven toes on each foot.
All Photography by Tetsu Yamazaki.
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Kim Campbell Thornton has been writing about cats and dogs for 31 years. She is the award-winning author of more than two dozen books and hundreds of articles on pet care, health and behavior. Her muses are two Cavaliers and a Pomihuahua.