PIXIE-BOBS: ELVES, BOBCATS, DOGS
In America, the legend of crossing between a barn cat and a bobcat was the theme of numerous folk tales of cats “coming out of the woods”. One of such stories has been told by cook from the loggers’ camp. He went far into the woods with his cat along recently made path to set up the camp. Here, following the natural laws, the animal disappeared for five days. The cat came back with a huge wound on her shoulder. And after nine weeks she gave birth to several brown spotted kittens with short tails…
This legend attracts people to this breed like a magnet, and has already prompted many to choose the Pixie-bobs.
They look like a red lynx. But since the relationship of Pixie-bobs and bobcats is not confirmed by the genetic tests, the story of their crossing will remain a legend. The representatives of this breed fascinates and delights by their wild appearance, randomly placed spots, plush coat, lynx tufts on the ears. Pixie-bob has strong chin, short tail, wide bones and hooded stare of the hunter. No other domestic cat has such strong and muscular body as Pixie-bob does. When you see them it's hard to believe that the legend of Pixie-bobs is just a legend.
Pixie-bob is a dog’s devotion and the appearance of a wild North American lynx. At the professional international shows these animals surprise and focus on themselves both experts and visitors. The unique breed, which was recognized in 1995 and became a national heritage of the United States, still remains a mystery to the rest of the world. Pixie-bob was bred in the middle of 80s, in Russian “bob” means short-tailed and “pixie”- elf.
Felinologist Carol Ann Brewer got spotted five-toed kitten with a short tail in 1985 in the foothills of the Cascade Range in Washington. She has called the cat Maggie. In January 1986 she saved knee-high, spotted and short-tailed male cat Keba. These cats were assumed to have genes of red lynx, as they were not like ordinary domestic cats. Maggie and Keba gave birth to kittens in April 1986. Carol has chosen a kitten of this litter which was very different from others by its wild appearance, and called her Pixie. It was she who became the ancestor of the new breed. Kitten got from parents all that Carol has been waiting for. Pixie looked like a bobcat: strong muscular body, spotted coat, wild eyes, short, or better say cropped tail and polydactyl paws. Already in the first year Carol Ann began to worry that she could lose a unique Pixie. And in 1987 she set herself a task: to raise cats with certain traits. And thanks to persistence, work and patience, she succeeded. In1989 Brewer, having a sufficient number of cats with certain fixed traits, described the breed standard and gave it the name – Pixie-bob. In 1993 the breeder applied to TICA for recognition of the breed. However, breed was officially registered only in 1995. Carol Ann Brewer was the owner of the Stone Island cattery. And to this day, almost every Pixie-bobs breeder is proud to have the descendants of this cattery in the lineage of his breeders.
Since 1998, Pixie-bobs have received the right to participate in the TICA Championships. The first Pixie cat, who was awarded the international championship title, was Zeus - IW SGC Silversprings Zeus. Shortly afterwards the breed got the right to participate in shows and receive titles in such systems as WCF and FARUS.
We want to add that Pixie-bobs are honored as a national heritage in the USA. The breed is not recommended to be exported outside the United States. Therefore it is difficult to buy Pixie-bob. American catteries consider critically the applications of breeders from all over the world. In this regard, the price of Pixie-bobs is also high. It starts from 1500 USD. In Russia, the first Pixie-bobs appeared slightly more than 10 years ago. The breeders acquired their first cats with great difficulty.
Domestic bobcat’s portrait
In accordance with officially recognized TICA standards Pixie-bob cats have massive and strong body; strong skeleton; deep flank, broad chest; prominent shoulder blades; well-developed musculature; back not level, slight upward slope toward hips. They have primordial belly pouch. Usually males significantly larger than females. Adult male cats can weigh up to 11 kg, female cats – up to 6 kg.
Most breeds of domestic cats have one or another mutation. But breeders have given Pixie-bob two complex mutations for breeding and operating: polydactyly and short tails.
The gene of short tails of Pixie-bobs has nothing in common with the gene of short tails of the Kurilian, Karelian, Mekong Bobtail cats, or other representatives of short-tailed cats. Up to the present time no breeder has been able to fix this trait in the desired form. Kittens are born with tail length according to the standard, but sometimes with too short tails and with tails of normal length, which are disqualifying characteristics for participation in shows. But the tail length has a special meaning only for show cats. According to the standard, it should be no shorter than five centimeters (two inches) and no longer than the level of the hock joint. The tail itself is thick, often kinked. As a rule, animals without tails do not participate in further breeding.
There are the same problems with fixing polydactyly in the desired form. Polydactyly is a dominant gene and shows itself according to the basic principles of genetics, but in different variations. It applies both to the number of toes on the paw, and their location on it. There is no fixed display of polydactyly on all four paws; the extra toes are very often only on the front paws, rarely on the rear paws. Cases when only one paw has extra toes are extremely are. Pixies can have up to seven toes, which allow them to use paws like hands. They do not cling to things, but grab them, just as a human does. Important detail: Pixie-bob is the only breed, which is allowed to have polydactyly by standards. Polydactyl cats have fleshy and big toes – almost all of them, except the dewclaws, must rest on the floor pointing forward. At the same time, Pixies can have them of almost round shape (it is preferred form called a “hamburger”), or with several toes looking aside (so-called “mitten paw”). It should be understood that Pixie-bobs polydactyly is not their main trait, though it is high valued by the breeders. Moreover, ill-considered breeding experiments such as mating two animals with polydactyly can lead to congenital disorders – the kittens were born with incorrectly formed limbs – underdeveloped radius bones. American breeders do not accept such mating.
Pixie-bob has strong long limbs, it is a distinctive trait of the breed, and the hind legs are longer than the front ones. They are muscular as the whole body with heavy bones. Hind legs are strong and jumping. The front legs are wide in the shoulder girdle. It allows cats climb trees easily, jump high, and helps to catch a prey quickly and suddenly.
Pixie-bobs come in longhair (PBL) and shorthair (PBS) versions. Both types have weather resistant coat and it is always a little longer on the belly. At the same time, the long-haired pixies have vague undercoat; the hair is quite close to the body. But the short-haired cats have soft well-defined undercoat. They are more fluffy. Pixie-bobs have a black spotted or broken mackerel pattern, Brown Spotted Tabby, with a mandatory good ticking, which makes the color not bright, but blurred, such as wild representatives – bobcats - have. Random spotting preferred. The color of the belly coat should be very light with a mandatory spots.
Pixie-bobs have big unique pear-shaped (inverted pear) head. Ears are wide, deep base and gently rounded. At the same time, they should be set as much on side as on top of head, slight outward tilt. The majority of Pixies have tufts. However, it is not mandatory. Pixie-bobs muzzle is full broad with definite whisker break and a strong chin. Profile forms a straight line with the nose, which is wide with large brick nose leather. Muzzle, chin and nose form an equal sided soft diamond from the front.
However, the main trait of the breed is a harsh, wild stare. This effect is created by wide apart and deep-set triangle shaped eyes of medium size and prominent brow arches. Eye color can be from Gold-yellow and brown to gooseberry green. White or cream band must surround eye, and there is mascara marking from outer corner down through cheek.
Incredible as it may seem, severe appearance of Pixie-bobs hides a good temper. They don't just like communication, they need it. Pixie will not bother the owner, but will always be an assistant in any work.
They are not aggressive at all toward a man, do not bite while playing and never sharpen their claws. It is the result of many years hard work of American felinologists who have “cleaned” any negative traits in behavior or character. The owners note that the gentle nature of this breed is particularly evident when Pixie-bobs interact with children, becoming kind of nurses. Pixie-bobs show patient and tat while communicating with man. Also Pixies are very active, curious and playful.
Mostly quiet pets, they changed the cat's “meow” to chirps, and sometimes even soft barking or whistling. They rather growl throatily and loudly than meow. Their voice is strong and different from the usual cat. One owner even compared the sounds of his Pixie-bob to “water dripping in a cave”. These sounds can scare other pets. By the way Pixies always show dominance toward other fauna, suppressing any resistance. It must be taken into account. Pixie-bobs can get along with dogs, in the case, of course, if dogs fully recognize them as a leader.
The uniqueness of Pixie-bobs is in the fact that, unlike other members of the cat family, they are not attached to the place, but to the owner. It has become a popular phrase, but in this body of the North American bobcat do live a faithful dog. It is for this reason that Pixies are not recommended to those people who are often and for a long time away from home. Pixie-bobs are ready to travel with the owner, if you teach them from a young age. Note that these cats are not completely “domestic”. They need to walk, climb trees. By the way, like the bobcats, they climb the trunk and branches jumping. Pixie-bobs are smart and trainable. And another small touch to the dog's trait of Pixie: when they are happy, they can wag their tail.
Health and Nutrition
Practice shows that the Pixie-bobs have naturally excellent health, and strong immune system. There are from one to four kittens, very rarely five or six in one Pixie-bob’s litter. Pregnancy proceeds calmly, delivery is easy. As for food, the mandatory dish in the Pixie-bobs meal is meat. They should never be transferred to dry feed, although a small amount of it is allowed in the diet, but only as an adding.