Boasting a quirky temperament that will both delight and astound their owners, the Pixie-Bob cat is a loveable, highly intelligent breed that’s always up for a natter with anyone who will listen. Their distinctive short tails are what set them apart from wild cats, as members of the Pixie-Bob breed can weigh between eight up to a whopping twenty pounds!
Have you stumbled across this article hoping to learn a little more about your own cat that has captured your heart? Or, are you considering purchasing a Pixie-Bob? They certainly aren’t a breed for the faint-hearted, as the average Pixie-Bob demands plenty of attention. However, if you believe you’re ready for the challenge, we encourage you to read on below to discover how to effectively take care of this special cat.
History of the Pixie-Bob Cat
The year 1985 marked the beginning of the Pixie-Bob cat’s expansion. It all started thanks to Carol Ann Brewer – the breed’s founder (although she didn’t know it yet) who bought herself a polydactyl cat like no other in Mount Baker, Washington. Curiously enough, this unusual cat appeared to be unlike any other breed, boasting a short-bobbed tail. However, Pixie was certainly the smaller feline in comparison to the cat Carol acquired in January 1986. Rumor has it that this majestic feline was so tall it reached up to Brewer’s knees. Weighing a whopping seventeen pounds, it wasn’t long before this bobcat hybrid mated with the neighbor’s red-spotted female cat, producing “Pixie’ who would become the foundation cat for the Pixie breeding program.
Brewer invented the term “Legend Cat” – referring to the twenty-three cats she had introduced into her breeding program from around the Cascade Mountains area. And the success of Brewer’s breeding program from this point onwards could not be halted. Rolling full steam ahead, the determined founder, alongside other breeders, managed to register the Pixie-Bob breed with the International Cat Association and TICA. Sadly, Carol passed away in 2011, but to honor her memory are a countless number of bobcat hybrids who are a credit to her name.
Quick Facts About the Pixie-Bob Cat
– “Chirping” is a Pixie-Bob Cat’s equivalent to “meowing”: The vocal range of a Pixie-Bob cat is a force to be reckoned with. Members of this breed certainly aren’t shy in terms of expressing themselves! Some Pixie-Bobs don’t meow at all, instead choosing to chirp, chatter, and even growl at each other. Their distinctive language is one of the breed’s defining traits. However, a quintessential Pixie-Bob never uses their language to demand, but only to tell their family members about their day.
– Pixie-Bob’s primordial pouch has a purpose: Have you ever remarked upon that hanging belly of your Pixie-Bob that seems to take on a life of its own when they walk? This isn’t excess fat; far from it. A primordial pouch in cats is a feature from wild cats’ ancestors that has been passed down thanks to genetics. It originally developed so Pixie-Bobs could store food for energy during long periods without, facilitate agile movement thanks to a stretchy abdomen, and operated as abdominal protection when engaged in a fight with other animals. Although a Pixie-Bob’s primordial pouch is effectively useless for the domesticated breed, it’s a subtle reminder of the breed’s carnivorous origins.
– Many Pixie-Bobs have polydactyl paws: Polydactyly (otherwise known as hyperdactyly) can be defined as a genetic abnormality in some humans and animals when a person is born with extra fingers or toes. It’s predominantly the front paws that are affected by this condition. Pixie-Bobs are a polydactyl breed of cat. Unlike most genetic abnormalities, polydactyly has worked to the Pixie-Bobs advantage over history. In fact, sailors viewed the cats to bring them good luck at sea by virtue of the Pixie-Bob’s prowess for catching mice and their ability to stay well-balanced on stormy seas! Amongst other famous people, Ernest Hemmingway himself became fascinated with polydactyl cats to the extent that his home in Florida’s Key West Islands became home to one hundred cats, of which half were polydactyl. His estate is now a museum where polydactyl cats still reside, including many Pixie-Bob friends.
Things You Should Know
– Pixie-Bob Cats are slow to reach full maturity: The Pixie-Bob cat breed don’t rush their growth for anyone. Unlike the average kitten who is fully developed after around one-year, the Pixie-Bob cat can take up to four years to fully mature. This time period of a Pixie-Bob’s life is incredibly exciting for both them and your family alike: your Pixie-Bob will discover more about the world around them, while your family will enjoy guessing what size your Pixie-Bob will eventually become!
– In terms of size, there is nothing pixie-like about the Pixie-Bob: Just like cartoon pixies or the short pixie cut hairstyle that’s all the range in salons right now, you’d expect a Pixie-Bob cat to be small and nimble. Au contraire: this breed is far from slight. Although female Pixie-Bobs are of smaller stature, many pedestrians have received the fright of their lives when spotting a wild cat roaming their street, only to discover that this cat is, in fact, their neighbor’s male Pixie-Bob cat!
– Pixie-Bob cats have spread to many corners of the globe: Although it’s been proven that the domestic breed firstly originated in America, the beloved breed has been successful in spreading around the world. Take France for example, when in 1997, Carol Ann Brewer and some trusty sidekicks arrived at the “Cat Festival” in Pontoise with several beautiful Pixie-Bob cats in tow – kicking off the rapid proliferation of the breed in this European country. Several Pixie-Bobs even spread to the Netherlands in 2004, where they have expanded in numbers ever since. The breed certainly isn’t as popular in Europe as they are in the US, but it is hoped that their expansion across Europe will bolster its popularity.
– Purchasing a Pixie-Bob kitten will cost you a pretty penny: Unsurprisingly, purchasing a Pixie-Bob cat, with their intimidating statures yet sweet and good-natured personalities, will set you back a fair bit. If you’re not interested in owning a show kitten, you can secure a Pixie-Bob kitten for about $800, whereas owners keen to secure a high-caliber Pixie-Bob are looking at around $1200. If you reside in the UK, you’ll also be strapped for cash, as a registered pedigree Pixie-Bob cat will cost you approximately £1,200. However, although Pixie-Bobs are indeed expensive, this beautiful and kind-hearted breed are worth the price.
As a prospective owner, you must also play your part in ensuring the Pixie-Bob breed continues to thrive, and this future relies on purchasing kittens from breeders who are serious about producing healthy kittens. Given the recentness of the breed, there isn’t much data regarding hereditary health problems, but experts are concerned over the breed’s susceptibility towards spinal problems caused by their short tail. Therefore, when looking for your perfect Pixie-Bob, remain aware that breeders selling Pixie-Bobs a “fair, reasonable price” aren’t likely to be breeding Pixie-Bobs ethically. This isn’t the same as picking up an expensive jumper for “a bargain”, cheap Pixie-Bob kittens are dangerous for the future of the breed.
Generally, an average Pixie-Bob cat keeps in good health, boasting a life expectancy of between twelve to twenty years. However, just like all other breeds, Pixie-Bobs are prone to the conditions detailed below more than others.
– Cystic endometrial hyperplasia: This condition is when cells within the endometrium or inner lining of the uterus rapidly multiply, resulting in poor mother felines suffering from delivery problems. This is a type of hyperplastic disorder – that is, when the amount of organic tissue increases as a result of cell proliferation. Mother cats who have this condition are subsequently left out of all breeding activities.
– Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: As the most commonly diagnosed cardiac disease in cats, vets have managed to find ways to cope with this problem, like recommending diagnosed cats to eat a sodium restricted diet. However, these recommendations only decrease the symptoms and are unable to eliminate them entirely. Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is when the muscular walls of a cat’s heart thicken, thereby reducing the efficiency of a feline’s heart. If your Pixie-Bob cat’s behavior has recently altered to include lethargy or open-mouthed breathing, go and see their vet immediately.
If all cats are carnivorous, Pixie-Bobs are the biggest carnivores of them all. If you really think about it, their untamable hunger for meat makes a lot of sense. After all, the first Pixie-Bob cat only came to exist in the mid 1980s! Accordingly, it’s important to ensure that your Pixie-Bob’s diet is largely composed of protein and fat. And we mean real protein and fat; stay far away from meat by-products and fillers such as corn.
If you’ve got the time, frying up your carnivorous Pixie some real meat or fish for them to devour will quickly establish you as their favorite household member. Plus, fish like salmon is packed full of nutritious omega-3 fatty acids, to which your Pixie-Bob requires to maintain a luscious and shiny coat. Oh; and keep your cat’s water bowl full so they remain hydrated, too.
What we’d like for you to take away from this section, dear reader, is that although humans, as omnivores, are able to adapt their diets for ethical reasons and to help the planet, carnivorous cats are not as flexible. Especially notoriously wild felines such as Pixie-Bobs. Therefore, whatever your stance on veganism and vegetarianism, don’t expect your Pixie-Bob to follow your household’s ethics.
For more guides on choosing the right cat food, you may wish to check out our reviews of the best wet cat food, senior cat food, cat food for sensitive stomachs, high fiber cat food and cat food for bengals.
Ensuring a Pixie-Bob – or any other cat, for that matter – is effectively looked after isn’t a case of taking them to the vet when they’re poorly. No; proper care is preventing your Pixie-Bob from becoming poorly in the first place. All Pixie-Bobs should be vaccinated with Heska Ultranasal FVRCP between six to eight weeks of age to protect them from a wide array of diseases, including the pneumonia engendered by feline viral rhinotracheitis. More often than not, breeders take responsibility for vaccinating their kittens so, before making concrete plans for a vet to administer this vaccine to your Pixie-Bob, check if they haven’t already received it. Before purchasing a Pixie-Bob, it must be acknowledged that evidence exists pointing towards the fact that these cats may be more sensitive towards vaccinations. We recommend asking your vet about the systemic reactions your Pixie-Bob cat may suffer, as they should be well-versed in vaccine-associated hypersensitivity reactions and the steps you can take to partly alleviate them.
To ensure your beloved Pixie-Bob kitten grows up to be the best version of themselves, they’ll need to be trained. That’s right – a cat boasting the personality of a hyperactive dog requires just as much time for training! Pixie-Bob cats respond particularly well towards clicker training – when a device that emits sound is held by the trainer during positive reinforcement training. The instances when your Pixie-Bob performs desirable behavior, you should use the device to generate the “click” that your Pixie-Bob will eventually develop positive associations with. Another form of training that works well for Pixie-Bobs, given their exceptional levels of intelligence, is name training. Whenever you want your Pixie-Bob’s attention, call out their name. After a while, they’ll start to respond!
Just like how Pixie-Bob cats are gentle felines, you must be equally as amiable when engaging in training. Boring or harmful training that relies upon negative reinforcement – will only prevent your cat from achieving their training goals and may even result in your feline becoming antisocial. Always foster a compassionate training space where your Pixie-Bob’s confidence will soar thanks to your patience and thoughtfulness. Your cat will reap the benefits of this safe training space as they age!
As Pixie-Bob cats are either short- or long-haired, the time you’ll have to spend grooming depends on the kind of fur your Pixie-Bob boasts. As cats of this breed are predominantly shorthaired, they only have to be groomed once a week to ensure your Pixie-Bob hasn’t picked up any fleas. However, many long- and short-haired Pixie-Bobs have double coats, which undoubtedly makes grooming that bit more complicated.
While grooming a short-haired Pixie-Bob, it’s imperative to target your Pixie-Bob’s tummy, as the fur is longer in this area. Many cats from all breeds immensely dislike this sensitive area of their body being touched, so it may take a few relaxed attempts (and an abundance of treats!) before your cat is comfortable and allows their underbelly to be combed.
Long-haired Pixie-Bobs, however, aren’t as low maintenance. These cats must be brushed every few days in order to safeguard the health of their long locks. Brushing through to remove tugs from their hair will help them maintain their gorgeous long hair. A bath should be administered once a month (we’re sorry for suggesting this in advance!), using a shampoo that is geared towards felines. The danger of bathing your Pixie-Bob with shampoo meant for humans is due to its pH value of 5.5. As the pH level of cats’ skin is approximately 7.5, these shampoos are dangerously acidic for your Pixie-Bob’s skin.
Other than that, Pixie-Bobs are low maintenance. All you’ll have to do is brush their teeth around once a month, keep on top of trimming their toenails, and remove “gloop” from around their eyes. They’ll take care of their other grooming requirements by themselves!
For more help on cat grooming, you may wish to read our guides on the best cat ear cleaners, cat nail clippers, brushes for cats, cat grooming gloves and cat shampoos.
The temperament of a Pixie-Bob stands out from any other feline. If someone were to omit the term “Pixie-Bob” and read this section out, we guarantee that the person hearing it would assume the prose is in reference to a loyal dog. Pixie-Bobs love nothing more than playing catch, doing tricks – essentially everything a pooch enjoys. They love being the center of attention to the point that Pixie-Bobs are often leash trained so they can come on family days out to alleviate their fear of missing out.
Just like Pitbulls have been nicknamed as “Nanny Dogs”, Pixie-Bobs are essentially “Nanny Cats”. The breed is renowned for being incredibly patient around young children – so try not to be jealous when your Pixie-Bob shows more of an interest in your kids than you!
What we must emphasize is that buying a Pixie-Bob isn’t, like some owners believe, the trick towards owning a dog without all the effort. This is not the case! Due to their high level of intelligence, Pixie-Bobs will grow miserable if left by themselves for long periods of time. One thing we’ll say is for sure: if you look after a Pixie-Bob cat properly, this lovable feline will become a treasured companion through thick and thin.
- Pixie-Bob – International Cat Care