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The Pixiebob is a shorthaired domestic-sized tabby cat with a 'wild' appearance, and is said to originate from matings between domestic 'barn cats' and the wild bobcat in rural America, although DNA testing has not been able to prove this inconclusively. However, from the point of view on import/export and breeding, the Pixiebob is regarded as a wholly domestic breed of cat. It is not to be confused with the American Bobcat, which has a very different ancestry and genetic makeup. They are rarely seen in the UK as the breed is virtually unknown outside of the USA (although they can be found in US states where there are native bobcats), and is not recognised by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), meaning that it cannot be shown at GCCF shows. However, it is recognised by the International Cat Association (TICA), originally based in the USA, which exists as an alternative registry in the UK with its own shows, and there are a small number of breeders in the UK.
As is the case with many modern breeds of cat, the Pixiebob can be traced to the first breeder, Carol Ann Brewer in Washington State. In 1986, Mrs Brewer rescued a very large male cat with a bobbed tail, which was reputed to have been sired by a bobcat, and soon after it had settled at her home, it mated with a local non-pedigree brown spotted female cat. When the kittens were born, Mrs Brewer kept a female (whom she named StoneIsland Pixie), with muted spots on a reddish-fawn coat and resembled a Coastal Red bobcat with a distinctly 'wild' expression, who became her foundation breeding cat and gave her name to this new breed, from whom all Pixiebobs are descended. She then introduced over twenty more cats from around the Cascade Range area into her breeding programme that she believed were the result of natural matings between the wild bobcat and domestic shorthaired tabby, inventing the name 'Legend Cats' to refer to such hybrids, because of the stories of wildcat ancestry. Other American breeders were also becoming interested at this time in promoting the new breed closely allied to the wild looking barn cats, and they joined forces with Mrs Brewer to develop the cat that has become the modern Pixiebob. Through the breeding programmes of a few dedicated breeders, this group pursued their aim of registering the new Pixiebob with The International Cat Association (TICA) and it was initially recognised in 1993, eventually gaining TICA Championship status in 1998.
The Pixiebob is one of the largest known varieties of domestic shorthaired cat; although it can take up to three years to fully mature. The males can reach as much as 26lb, the females a little smaller, and they also stand very tall compared to an average domestic cat. It is a large muscular breed with a heavy bone structure and a double coat that can vary between a thick short coat standing out from the body, to a longer silky, flowing coat. Coat pattern is always tabby, predominantly brown spotted of a luminous quality, often with reddish tones, with heavy ticking on the individual hairs. The facial expression closely resembles the bobcat ancestry, and there is the characteristic bobbed tail that is usually between two and six inches long. Some varieties of Pixiebobs are polydactyl, another feature of the wild bobcat, having more than the standard number of toes for a domestic cat (usually five in the front and four in the back), but this is such a dominant gene for the breed that it is accepted by the TICA standard. Many Pixiebobs also have ear tufts reminiscent of a lynx, another feature of the wild ancestry. Facial markings are a strong feature with strong 'mascara' lines on the cheeks and lighter 'spectacles' around the green or gold eyes, although kittens are normally born with blue eyes.
The Pixiebob is a quiet cat, but said by their devoted owners to be very affectionate towards humans. However, they tend to prefer to live with just human company when they can be 'top cat', rather than having to share their homes with other cats or family pets, as they are very independent souls, reminiscent of their bobcat ancestry. However, they do react well with humans, taking on almost dog-like qualities by following their chosen human round the house as well as retrieving objects that are thrown for them, head butting as a sign of affection and being prepared to walk on a harness. They do not have loud voices, and some never meow at all but any sound is quiet and conversational in tone, often a soft chirrup rather than a traditional meow. They are also very intelligent, and many owners believe that they can be taught to respond to basic commands.
The Pixiebob is not known to have any breed-specific health problems, and this is often thought to be due to their broad genetic background and frequent out crossing to 'Legend' cats, and many live to around their mid teens. In common with other cats, they need annual vaccination boosters against the common feline ailments of flu and enteritis, although experts on this breed say that they should not be given one against Feline Leukaemia if they go outdoors as they are known to react badly with the antibodies, but it would be advisable to seek advice from a Vet on this.
Pixiebobs are not known to be fussy eaters and should eat most good quality proprietary brands of cat food, but will also enjoy treats of freshly cooked meat. However, cows' milk will probably give them a stomach upset, and a bowl of water should always be available. They need very little grooming apart from stroking and gentle brushing to remove any loose hairs, although the longer haired varieties benefit from a regular combing to keep the coat fee of knots and tangles.