Pixie-Bob cats are domestic cats that share many of the physical and personality characteristics of bobcats. These original â€œLegend Catsâ€ are thought to have originally developed from the naturally occurring matings of American bobcats to barn cats.
In the mid-1980s, Carol Ann Brewer of Washington state took two â€œnatural hybridâ€ kittens and bred them to create the first Pixie-Bob domestic cat. The first cat was named Pixie, hence the name Pixie-Bob, and this was the foundation for the Pixie-Bob breed. Even though they have bobcat heritage, their DNA testing shows theyâ€™re domestic, not an exotic hybrid, and may be owned without a license in all 50 states.
Pixie-Bobsâ€™ markings resemble those of a bobcat, with spots, stripes and swirls. They have a thick double coat with a wooly texture reminiscent of a bobcat, and many have lynx tufting on their ear tips. Most Pixie-Bobs are short-haired, but there also is a less common long-hair. While they arenâ€™t large cats, theyâ€™re muscular. The males average about 20 pounds and females about 14. They continue to grow for three years instead of one, unlike most domestic cats. The tail can be non-existent (rumpy), 2 to 4 inches long (desired and required by The International Cat Association) or long. Their faces are pear-shaped with almond-shaped, tilted eyes that change from kitten blue to green and finally to gold when theyâ€™re several months old. Some are polydactyl â€” having more than the usual number of toes on each foot â€” five on the front paws, four on the back. Their personality is reputed to be sociable, affectionate, intelligent, curious and happy to get along well with both children and other pets.
Jeanette Luethjohn of Parma got her first Pixie-Bob kitten, a female she named Zarina, four years ago as a birthday gift. She had seen the breed in a cat magazine and liked the wild look. A year later she got a second cat, Lucky Jack, as a kitten and waited a year for him to grow up before allowing the two of them to breed.
Luethjohn kept the only kitten the litter produced last July and named him Buddy.
The kitten has turned out to be true to his name with her 6-month-old son, Brady. Buddy is friendly and inquisitive around the baby, doesnâ€™t run from him and isnâ€™t intimidated by the usual childhood noises or activities. Pixie-Bobs are known for their gentle personality, and Luethjohn said theyâ€™ve never been scratched, even though none of her cats are declawed. This breed is very easy to take care of, she said, and they arenâ€™t noisy or very talkative. In fact, Pixie-Bobs are renowned for their quiet nature. Theyâ€™ll meow occasionally, but their vocalization is usually limited to what is described as chirps and twitters.
While some are cuddlers, most resist being picked up and handled and prefer to sit next to their owners on the couch.
â€œJack will sit in my husbandâ€™s lap but not mine,â€ Luethjohn said. â€œIf I tried to pick him up, heâ€™d run away. You have to respect their limits.â€ Pixie-Bobs bond strongly to their family and donâ€™t easily transfer to a new owner after the age of 1 or 2 years.
Itâ€™s alleged they easily can be leash-trained, but Luethjohnâ€™s felines are kept strictly indoors.
â€œThere are hawks and coyotes out there,â€ she said, â€œand I donâ€™t want to take a chance on them bolting away. Theyâ€™re happy being inside, and I want to keep them that way.â€
Vaccines should be given under the advice of a veterinarian who knows the breed. It is essential the leukemia vaccine not be given and the rabies vaccine should be avoided if possible. Both have been known to kill Pixie-Bob cats, causing immune system shock. Most breeders prefer killed-virus type vaccines if rabies needs to be given.
The Pixie-Bob breed was accepted into The International Cat Association as a new breed and color in 1995, and for championship status in 1997. However, to be considered a Certified TICA Pixie-Bob, no captive American bobcats can be used in the breeding, and one of the parents must be traced back to Pixie the cat.
This breed travels well in the car, and before Brady was born, Luethjohn showed her cats and got many points for their markings and color, but the cats didnâ€™t enjoy it, so sheâ€™s content to raise her cats as family pets. She recently offered the second litter of three kittens for sale.
â€œPeople think theyâ€™re going to make money breeding them,â€ she said, â€œbut by the time veterinarian fees and registration papers are paid, thereâ€™s not much left.â€ Sheâ€™s particular about who she sells to because she doesnâ€™t want them to become breeding stock, but prefers them to be part of a family.
Barnosky can be reached at 330-725-4160, ext. 4075, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing The Gazette, 885 W. Liberty St., Medina, 44256.