Rural Alabama Man Makes a Killing Forcibly Breeding Domestic Cats to Bobcats in Order to Create Pixie-Bobs
"I found gold in my own backyard with these kittens. I'm not a cat person. I'm more of a dog person, but I might turn into a cat person now."
-- Mitchell Morris
Suffering from congestive heart failure and in dire need of a transplant, forty-four-year-old Mitchell Morris of Lawrence County, Alabama hit upon the idea of getting a quick and easy infusion of beaucoup shekels by exploiting cats.
After observing two bobcats fighting on his farm, he nosed around and located their den. He subsequently was able to trap one of their kittens which he then confined in a pen for about a year with three of his domestic cats.
As the result, the three cats recently gave birth to a total of ten healthy kittens. (See photo above.) Now, fellow breeder Carol Ann Brewer of Bellingham, Washington has agreed to purchase the kittens for between $300 and $1,500 apiece.
In addition to a new ticker, Morris plans to buy a new motor for his boat, and to take his family to Disney World. (See photo below of him and his four-year-old daughter, Keeley.)
"I found gold in my own backyard with these kittens," he crowed like a proud new papa to The Decatur Daily on June 10th. (See "A Cat Tail.") "I'm not a cat person. I'm more of a dog person, but I might turn into a cat person now."
Somehow one suspects that Morris would willingly become almost anything -- devil or angel -- if the price were right. People exclaim about the power of love and the benevolence of the Almighty, but nothing on this planet can hold a candle to the power of money.
Not only is it capable of turning a dog person into a cat lover, but it has been known to magically transform liberals into conservatives, gays into straights (e.g., Yoko Ono's longtime boyfriend Sam Havadtoy), young vixens into the sex slaves of dirty old men, and lifelong friends into perfect strangers.
Although it is not known if Morris was a devout before he received his windfall, he certainly is talking like one now. "God will send you money and miracles in the strangest ways," he said. To be objective about it, the forcible breeding of domestic cats with bobcats is more akin to the work of the Devil than that of the god that he supposedly worships.
Religious piety is a peculiar thing. If an alien dropped in from outer space and did not know any better he or she would be inclined to believe that it is practiced solely by down-and-out beggars in the street, crooks standing in the dock, and individuals who had just narrowly escaped the clutches of the Grim Reaper.
Pixie-Bobs, as crosses between bobcats and domestic felines are known, have always been controversial. Brewer is credited with creating the species when she allegedly bred the offspring of a natural union between a bobcat and a domestic cat. DNA tests conducted on Pixie-Bobs have failed to prove, however, that they are directly related to bobcats.
Dr. Jan Strother of the North Alabama Cat and Bird Veterinary Clinic in Hartselle is inclined to believe that bobtailed cats and Manxes are often passed off as Pixie-Bobs. (See photo below.) Although she does concede that there is not any genetic reason that would prevent bobcats from freely mating with domestics, she nonetheless thinks that such unions are highly unlikely because bobcats are notorious loners.
She also is very much opposed to the type of forced breeding that Morris and Brewer practice. Not only is it unnatural but it is prone to producing animals with personality problems and genetic defects.
Moreover, the breeding process leading to the creation of Pixie-Bobs is fraught with the same abuses as that of Toygers, Savannahs, and other hybrids. (See Cat Defender posts of April 13, 2007 and May 19, 2005 entitled, respectively, "Killing and Torturing Wild and Domestic Cats in Order to Create Toygers Is Not Going to Save Sumatran Tigers" and "Savannahs: More Feline Cruelty Courtesy of the Capitalists and the Bourgeoisie.")
Even the use of domestic cats in order to save various species of endangered wildcats is cruel and inhumane in that many of them are abused and killed in the process. (See Cat Defender post of September 6, 2005 entitled "Clones of Endangered African Wildcats Give Birth to Eight Naturally-Bred Healthy Kittens in New Orleans.")
Regardless of their genetic makeup, Pixie-Bobs are on the average fifty per cent larger than domestic cats with an average-sized male weighing between sixteen and twenty-two pounds and females between eight and twelve pounds. They have big feet, short tails, and most of them are shorthairs.
Like Toygers and Savannahs, they have personalities more suited to canines than cats in that they will follow their owners around, play fetch, and walk on leashes. They are also said to chirp as opposed to purring.
There is something perverted, not to mention cruel and sadistic, about breeders and owners who want cats that act like dogs. Anybody who wants a dog should simply go to a shelter and adopt one and leave cats, both domestic and wild ones, alone.
The same reasoning is also a propos to the creation of hypoallergenic cats. (See Cat Defender posts of July 10, 2006 and October 10, 2006 entitled, respectively, "More Devilry from Scientific Community as California Company Creates World First Hypoallergenic Cat" and "Dodgy Allerca and Dishonest CBS Join Forces to Market an Allergy-Free Cat Named Joshua to a Gullible Public.")
Despite the cruelty and deaths engendered by the breeding process as well as their exorbitant price tags, the waiting list for these superfluous felines is already two-years long. (See New York Daily News, April 22, 2007, "The $4,000 Cat!")
One of the first persons on the East Coast to receive one of them was Nina Greenberg of Manhattan's Greenwich Village. Both she and her two daughters, Nicolette and Lauren, are reportedly ecstatic about the addition of a ginger-striped cat named Dempsey to their household. (See photo below.)
The creation of new breeds also exacerbates the problem of feline overpopulation. The mere fact that exotic breeds cost a pretty penny has not protected them from being dumped at shelters by disgruntled owners. In particular, there is at least one Pixie-Bob rescue group already in existence.
With tens of millions of cats -- domestics, ferals, purebreds, and hybrids -- being slaughtered each year by Animal Control, shelters, and veterinarians it is insane to allow breeders such as Morris, Brewer, and Allerca to continue to create new species. "There are many, many unwanted domestic cats that need homes, and no one is willing to spend thousands to save all the domestic cats that need it," Strother astutely pointed out to The Decatur Daily.
Individuals who breed and buy designer pets are operating on the false assumption that cats and dogs are inanimate objects in much the same way that kernels of maize and grains of rice are and that man is therefore entitled to genetically engineer them to suit both his whims and the dictates of his pocketbook. Left out of this equation are not only all moral considerations but also anything remotely resembling the compassion and decency that man owes to the animals of this world.
Morris will now get his new heart, outboard motor, and trip to Disney World but it is doubtful that any of them are going to do him much good. That which afflicts him cannot be remedied by one or a thousand new hearts.
Photos: Gary Cosby, Jr. of The Decatur Daily (kittens, Mitchell and Keeley Morris), North Alabama Cat and Bird Veterinary Clinic (Strother), and Frances Roberts of the New York Daily News (Dempsey and the Greenbergs).