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Helmi Flick, Animal Photography
Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography
This unusual cat looks wild, but his behavior is mild. The Pixiebob is a medium-size to large cat. His coat may be short or long, usually in a brown spotted tabby pattern. He is unique among cat breeds because his breed standard permits polydactylism, meaning he can have more than the usual number of toes.
Legend has it that the Pixiebob is the result of an American Bobcat mating with a barn cat. There is, however, no scientific proof to back it up.
Big, lively and outgoing, the Pixiebob’s devotion to his people belies his somewhat wild look. He loves spending time with his family, and it’s not unusual for him to learn to walk on a leash or chase after a toy and bring it back. He likes to be in the center of family goings-on, but he has a calm, relaxed attitude, making him more restful to be around than some other cat breeds. The Pixiebob is talkative, chirping and chattering as he tells you about his day. He weighs between eight and 17 pounds and lives for 13 or more years.
Brush the Pixiebob once a week to remove dead hair and keep his coat shiny and healthy. The only other grooming he needs is regular nail trimming, tooth brushing, and ear cleaning.
The Pixiebob is well suited to any home with people who will love him and care for him. Keep him indoors to protect him from cars, diseases spread by other cats and attacks from other animals.
The Pixiebob is thought to be the result of a natural mating between a bobcat and a domestic shorthair, but he may also have sprung from a natural genetic mutation that gave him his wild look and bobbed tail. It’s one of those things that no one will ever know for sure. What is known is that a woman named Carol Ann Brewer acquired a male kitten in 1985 with several distinctive characteristics: a spotted coat, a short tail and more than the usual number of toes—a trait called polydactylism. The following year, she adopted another male cat with a short tail, and with the help of a neighbor’s female cat, he produced a litter of kittens. One, a female, had a muted spotted pattern, and Brewer kept her, naming her Pixie. Brewer wanted more cats like Pixie, and soon, a breed was born.
Pixiebobs are often described as doglike because they are so devoted to their people. They like kids and are sturdy and active enough to be good playmates. Just make sure children treat them with the gentle respect they deserve. It’s not unusual to see them playing fetch or learning to walk on leash. They tend to get along well with other cats and cat-friendly dogs.
Companionable and affectionate, the Pixiebob wants to be an integral part of the family. Expect him to get involved in everything from barbecues to birthday parties. He’s also fine with kicking back and watching a little TV with you or keeping you company while you work around the house. His vocabulary includes chirps, chitters and growls in addition to purrs and meows.
The Pixiebob is intelligent. Challenge his brain and keep him interested in life by teaching him tricks and providing him with puzzle toys that will reward him with kibble or treats when he learns how to manipulate them.
Always choose a kitten from a breeder who raises litters in the home and handles them from an early age. Meet at least one and ideally both of the parents to ensure that they have nice temperaments.
All cats have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on kittens or who tells you that her kittens are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons.
The Pixiebob is generally healthy, but it is always wise to buy from a breeder who provides a written health guarantee. Pixiebobs may be sensitive to certain vaccinations, so be sure to discuss any questions or concerns with your veterinarian.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new kitten into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Keeping a Pixiebob at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to protect his overall health. Make the most of your preventive abilities to help ensure a healthier cat for life.
Short or long, the Pixiebob’s coat is easy to groom with weekly combing or brushing. The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually weekly. Check the ears every week for redness or a bad smell that could indicate an infection. If the ears look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with a gentle ear cleanser recommended by your veterinarian. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath. Start brushing, nail trimming and teeth brushing early so your kitten becomes accepting of this activity.
You want your Pixiebob to be happy and healthy so you can enjoy your time with him, so do your homework before you bring him home. For more information on the history, personality and looks of the Pixiebob, or to find breeders, visit the websites of the Fanciers Breeder Referral List and The International Cat Association.
A reputable breeder will abide by a code of ethics that prohibits sales to pet stores and wholesalers and outlines the breeder’s responsibilities to their cats and to buyers. Choose a breeder who has performed the health certifications necessary to screen out genetic health problems to the extent that is possible, as well as one who raises kittens in the home. Kittens who are isolated can become fearful and skittish and may be difficult to socialize later in life.
Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include kittens always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any kitten, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Those things are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.
Whether you’re planning to get your feline friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and unhealthy catteries can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick kitten, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy kittens. Put at least as much effort into researching your kitten as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
Be patient. Depending on what you are looking for, you may have to wait six months or more for the right kitten to be available. Many breeders won’t release kittens to new homes until they are between 12 and 16 weeks of age.
Before you buy a kitten, consider whether an adult Pixiebob might be a better choice for your lifestyle. Kittens are loads of fun, but they’re also a lot of work and can be destructive until they reach a somewhat more sedate adulthood. With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health. If you are interested in acquiring an adult cat instead of a kitten, ask breeders about purchasing a retired show or breeding cat or if they know of an adult cat who needs a new home.
The Pixiebob is an uncommon breed. It is unlikely that you will find one in a shelter or through a rescue group, but it doesn’t hurt to look. Sometimes pedigreed cats end up at the shelter after losing their home to an owner’s death, divorce or change in economic situation. Check the listings on Petfinder or the Fanciers Breeder Referral List, and ask breeders if they know of a Pixiebob who is in need of a new home.
Wherever you acquire your Pixiebob, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with “pet lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the cat from both understand your rights and recourses.
Kitten or adult, take your Pixiebob to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.
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