It's no longer enough for an Auckland house deposit, but the cost of Marius and Lizel Koekemoer's two cats is still a sum to wince over.

The Auckland couple spent more than $20,000 importing a breeding pair of pixiebob cats into New Zealand, and now the female is expecting her first litter.

The cats are the only pixiebobs in the country, and arrived in the country after a two year battle to find overseas breeders willing to sell, Marius Koekemoer told the New Zealand Herald this week.

The father-of-three and his wife decided they wanted pixiebob cats after meeting a friend's one while on holiday in the United Kingdom.

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"It was just a magnificent cat. I'd never seen anything like it ... they love the water, they follow you around everywhere. You can take them on a leash like a dog. They're called the dog in a cat's body."

The breed was developed in the early 1980s when an American bobcat was paired with a domestic cat. The bobcat had since been "bred out" of the line, but overseas people still sometimes called authorities reporting bobcat sightings that were actually pixiebobs, Koekemoer said.

There were many hoops to jump through, including getting approval from the Ministry of Primary Industries, to bring the pair into New Zealand, he said.

Their male - named Nathan - was imported from Belgium two years ago, and the female, Xina, arrived from the United States in November. The pair's first litter, likely of between four and six kittens, is due in about two weeks.

Each kitten is expected to sell for between $2000 and $5000. But if any strike the jackpot of being black - of which there is a one in 1000 chance - the value soars to $10,000.

Marius Koekemoer with his Pixiebob cat named Nathan. Photo / Dean Purcell
Marius Koekemoer with his Pixiebob cat named Nathan. Photo / Dean Purcell

But most people who got a black pixiebob did not sell them, he said.

The cats are not insured and they are not allowed outside, except on a run, and cameras have been installed on the property as well.

Koekemoer is so invested in the cats - financially and emotionally - he has taken a week off his job as an IT systems engineer at the time the kittens
are due.

"My wife said to me that I was more in love with the [expectant] cat than her'. I'm so careful with her now that she's pregnant. I don't want anything to happen to her.

"Fatherhood is more exciting, but this is also pretty special because it's the first time pixiebobs have bred in New Zealand."

New Zealand Cat Fancy did not have any pixiebob cats on its databases.

Catz Incorporated interim general secretary Fiona Maclean said she was not surprised by the cost to import them. She was aware of another person paying $20,000 to import two persian cats.

"This is not a cheap hobby."