About the Manx Cat Breed
Best-known for its lack of tail, the Manx is native to the Isle of Man, located between England and Ireland. This round, cuddly breed is also fun-loving and friendly, should there be any other household pets.
Manx Physical Characteristics
Though plump and round, the breed has a compact body with solid muscles. The most striking feature of the cat is its small “stub” of a tail, which is classified into four varieties: rumpy, rumpy-riser, stumpy, and longy. Rumpy tops the popularity charts and is in great demand in show rings: these have no tail, with just a dimple present in its place. Stumpy has a short curved tail while longies – the least popular – possess a normal tail.
There are many different types of accepted color and varieties, including white, black, brown spotted, silver tabby, and black tipped.
There two types of Manx coats: shorthair and longhair. The shorthair’s double coat is glossy and padded, while the longhair has a silky and plush double coat.
Manx Personality and Temperament
Moderate to high
This fun-loving cat is a great companion. It adjusts easily, bonds well with other household pets (especially dogs), and enjoys playing fetch but will still find time to curl up with you for some snuggling.
Things to Consider
With exceptionally powerful hindquarters, the breed can run quickly and jump easily to great hights. Be sure to keep valuables off of high shelves and bookcases to prevent your Manx from knocking them down mid-jump.
Ideal Living Conditions
Playful and intelligent, the Manx still carries on its nature as a skilled hunter and may pounce on toys, feathers and bugs if no real prey is in sight. Loyal and loving, the breed can do well in a variety of homes, including ones with other pets.
Both coat lengths are relatively easy to maintain and require little more than a weekly brushing.
Curiously, the Manx has a rabbit-like gait, appearing to hop around rather than walk. While some breeders consider this trait to be a result of skeletal abnormalities related to having the Manx gene, others consider it simply to be a result of the short back and long hind legs that are noted in the breed standard.
It is a challenging cat to breed because of the Manx gene. Kittens with two copies of this gene, or homozygous Manx kittens, die in the womb early in their development. Because of this, litters of Manx kittens are generally very small. Heterozygous kittens–or kittens that inherit the Manx gene from just one parent–may also have a higher than average mortality rate because the Manx gene can cause deformities including spina bifida, fusion of the spine and colon defects. Careful breeding can help eliminate or minimize these defects.
Manx History and Background
The Manx has a long history and has lived on the Isle of Man – which lies in the Irish Sea, between England and Ireland – for centuries. There are several tales of how they first arrived on the island.
According to one story, the cat was traveling with the Spanish Armada when it was wrecked on the Isle of Man in 1588. The cats swam to the island and made it their home. Another story is that they were brought to the Isle by Phoenician traders, who arrived from Japan. Others claim that the cat was introduced to the island by Viking settlers who colonized it.
Inhabitants of the isle also have many fanciful tales to account for its lack of tail, which is most often attributed to a spontaneous genetic mutation that occurred many centuries ago. According to one story, the breed was a result of a cross between a cat and a rabbit. Another imaginative tale narrates how Irish invaders stole the cat’s tail to make plumes for their helmets. Yet another interesting story suggests that it was brought to Noah’s Ark but since time was short and as they were the last passengers to climb aboard, Noah slammed the door on their tails.
According to early American registry records, the first Manx cats were imported from the Isle of Man over a century ago, but as demand for the breed grew, breeders began to rely on Britain and France for new imports.
Though it is still considered a rare cat, the breed has Championship status in all associations.