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Get to Know the Pixiebob: The Bobcat of the Cat World

Her origins are mysterious, but one thing is certain: The Pixiebob is a stunning cat 

Michael Leaverton  |  Jun 24th 2016


Catch a Pixiebob out of the corner of your eye and you might think you’ve spied a bobcat who’s wandered in the from the wild. It’s not far from the truth. The Pixiebob definitely resembles a bobcat — namely, the coastal Red Bobcat, who lives in the mountains of the very area where the breed originated in the Pacific Northwest. But despite what’s staring at you in the face — specifically, a cat who look like a bobcat, who would probably like you to give him a treat if you’re going to be looking at him all funny — no DNA evidence links the two together.

Pantanal-Pixie-Bob-2

Additional interesting things about the Pixiebob:

  • The Pixiebob is often called a “dog in disguise” — he’s a playful, kind companion, devoted to his family and great with children. He’s a social cat, friendly to strangers and apt to follow his owners from room to room.
  • He’s also active, can easily be taught to fetch, and will take to the leash and enjoy walks (though maybe not as much as dogs enjoy them).
  • But the Pixiebob is still a cat and can be left alone as such, with owners safe in the knowledge that she will be content napping at home.
  • Pixiebobs have a distinct language, full of unique chirps and chatters and a growl or two, but they’re not much for meowing.
  • Pixiebobs are a thick, medium-to-large, muscular cat, with substantial shoulder blades and hind legs that longer than the front legs, which gives the cat a roiling gate.

gatos-pixie-bob

  • Pixiebobs come in longhair and shorthair varieties and require little grooming. They have a naturally short tail and large paws.
  • The unique body is surpassed only by the surprising face — it’s all bobcat, with a thick chin, prominent whisker pads, and hooded, deep-set eyes peering out at you under bushy brows.
  • The International Cat Association standard allows for polydactyl Pixiebobs (the only breed given that honor), up to seven toes per foot.

Pixie-Bob-on-leash

  • Thanks to the striking look, the breed is widely thought to be the result of the union of barn cats and bobcats. Indeed, the breed founder, Carol Ann Brewer, thought as much. Later DNA testing, though, has proved that there is no wildcat in this house kitty.
  • The breed was developed by Brewer in the 1980s, after she rescued a cat thought to be part bobcat, who then mated with a neighbor’s cat. She kept one of the kittens who had wild look and so fell in love that she determined to breed more like her. She named her Pixie.
  • With Pixie as the standard, Brewer found more cats she suspected were part bobcat (she called them “legend cats” due to their uncertain history) and developed the Pixiebob breed.
  • A famous quote attributed to Brewer shows exactly where she stood on the mythology of the cat: “At first when these cats came to me, I didn’t believe the stories of matings between wild bobcats and barn cats. When I had babies, I had to accept it. Their appearance brought back to me that this was something people had been talking about for hundreds of years.”

pixiebob-cats-two

  • In 1993, she pushed to get the cat recognized as a breed, bringing it to the attention of TICA, who accepted the Pixiebob for exhibition status in 1994. In 1997, the cat attained championship status.
  • Thanks to genetic testing, which cleared the cat of his suspected bobcat link, TICA recognizes the Pixiebob as a domestic cat and not a hybrid cat.
  • The Cat Fanciers Association has yet to recognize the breed.