Rumoured to be the hybrid offspring of Bobcats and domestic cats, Pixie-Bobs emulate the wild Bobcat look but have a friendly, pleasant temperament.
The Pixie-Bob breed was founded by Carol Ann Brewer, who named it after the first female cat (named Pixie) that she used to develop the breed.
The Pixie-Bob has a substantial muzzle and wide-spaced eyes, which may be gold, brown, or green. The ears may have Bobcat-style tips.
Pixie-Bobs have short, coarse, woolly coats. The brown spotted tabby patterning on a lighter background is muted by heavy ticking.
The Pixie-Bob’s body is heavily muscled and rangy, with big feet. Broad-chested and heavy-boned, adult males weigh anywhere from 12-22 pounds, and females 8-12. These cats are long-legged, and about half of all Pixie-Bobs have extra toes due to a polydactyl gene in their gene pool.
Most Pixie-Bobs have short tails ranging from 1-6 inches in length, though a Pixie-Bob may have a shorter or longer tail. Some breeders engage in the cruel practice of docking (cutting off part of) the tails of long-tailed Pixie-Bobs to make them more appealing to buyers.
Pixie-Bobs: A Bobcat-Domestic Cat Hybrid?
It is widely believed that the Pixie-Bob is a hybrid of wild Bobcats and domestic cats. However, genetic evidence suggests otherwise.
The hybridization theory arose because Bobcats were seen in the vicinity of female barn cats that later gave birth to kittens bearing some resemblance to Bobcats. These kittens were muscular and had shaggy fur, and genetic tests suggested that they carried wild genes, but such early tests were notoriously unreliable.
More recent genetic tests of Pixie-Bobs have found no Bobcat genetic markers. The early positive results may have been attributable to the fact that Bengals and other Jungle Cat hybrids were used early on in the Pixie-Bob breeding program.
Bobcats and domestic cats do mate from time to time. However, despite anecdotal claims, there have been no verified offspring from a Bobcat-domestic cat mating in captivity.
Among species in which wild cats and domestic cats do produce offspring with one another, such as the endangered Scottish Wildcat, the wild genes have been diluted and there are ever-increasing numbers of domestic-wild cat hybrids. This has not happened with the Bobcat, which suggests that Bobcats are not breeding with domestic cats.
There are other domestic breeds that are also rumoured to be Bobcat-domestic cat hybrids. Due to lack of evidence, such crosses have often been referred to as Legend Cats.
Pixie-Bob Cat Personality
The Pixie-Bob doesn’t resemble a wild Bobcat in temperament. Although Bobcats are curious and playful, they can be very aggressive and are prone to spraying, biting, and scratching. Bobcats are known for their Jekyll-and-Hyde personalities – affectionate one minute and violent the next. Pixie-Bobs, by contrast, don’t have wild personalities, save for their natural exuberance. Rather, most are patient, laid back, and gentle with children, and they usually get along well with other pets.
Confident, assertive, sociable, and easy-going, Pixie-Bobs enjoy interacting with people and other animals. Although they are loving and affectionate, most are not lap cats. Owners assert that the personality of the Pixie-Bob is more akin to that of a dog than a cat. They are very trainable and many take to leash walking and car travel.
Pixie-Bobs are extremely intelligent. This is unsurprising, given that the first Pixie-Bob kittens were more likely sired by roving feral cats than Bobcats. Because nature tends to select for the strongest, healthiest, and smartest animals, ferals are often among the best and brightest.
Pixie-Bobs are curious and active, but not hyperactive. Also, because they are runners rather than climbers, they are less inclined to be destructive around the house. They also tend to be quite hygienic. However, if the litter box is not kept clean, these cats will choose a tidier spot.
Pixie-Bobs are quiet cats, more inclined to chirp and chortle, meowing only occasionally. They usually vocalize to express affection or during play.
Pixie-Bobs are highly eccentric, engaging in a variety of unusual behaviours, such as burying uneaten food, playing in water, and stealing and hoarding small objects (especially shiny items).
Pixie-Bob Cat Health and Care
Pixie-Bobs can eat the same foods as other domestic cats and don’t have any special feeding requirements, though some breeders recommend a raw diet, or a mix of raw and grain-free commercial foods.
Some Pixie-Bobs have bad reactions to certain common vaccinations, so those adopting Pixie-Bobs should discuss the issue with both the breeder and a veterinarian before proceeding with vaccinations. Otherwise, there are no genetic health problems specifically associated with Pixie-Bobs, assuming that they are obtained from legitimate breeders.
Like other cats, Pixie-Bobs usually live much longer if kept indoors. Despite their size, when allowed to roam, they are just as susceptible to theft, fights, cars, dog attacks, predation by coyotes, and disease as any other domestic cat.
Adopt a Pixie-Bob Kitten or Cat
The Pixie-Bob is still relatively rare. Pixie-Bob kittens cost anywhere from $500 to $1,500 for pet quality, and higher (usually around $2,500 to $5,000) for breeder and show quality.
If you’re interested in adopting an adult Pixie-Bob, do a search for Pixie-Bob rescue sites and check Petfinder’s list of adoptable Pixie-Bob cats.
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- P&G Pet Care. (2006). “Pixiebob.” Iams.com.
- Woods, P. (2005). “Bobcat Hybrids and Look-Alikes.” ExoticCatz.com.