One of the oldest natural breeds of cats, the Manx is native to the Isle of Man, an island in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland. According to a biblically inspired Celtic folktale, the Manx cat was the last of God’s creatures to climb aboard the ark, barely making it before Noah slammed the door shut.
A variation portrays Noah’s dog as the culprit responsible for the loss of the cat’s tail. In exasperation, the tail-less cat fled the ark and swam from Ararat to the Isle of Man, where it found a home.
Another tale claims that the Irish, or alternatively the Vikings, stole kittens to use their tails as good luck charms. In order to save their kittens, wise mother cats bit off the tails of their young, thus producing the tailless cat. But how did the Manx really lose its tail? Geneticists have determined that the lack of a tail occurred as the result of a spontaneous mutation. The breed was easily established due to the genetic nature of the tailless trait and centuries of in-breeding in an isolated island environment.
Manx Cat Characteristics
The tail-less Manx is a friendly, affectionate, relaxed companion–an easy feline to share a home with. According to some sources the Manx is somewhat doglike in its habits; it will play “fetch,” growl at an unidentified disturbance, and may follow its owner around. These cats are also known for their love of shiny objects–keep an eye on your jewelry! Manx cats like to snooze in laps and high places. Children, dogs, and other cats are taken in stride.
Manx Cat Appearance
The Manx is a solidly built, medium-size, cobby cat with a round head, widely spaced ears, and large, round eyes. The powerful hind legs are longer than the front legs, so the short back arches upward to the rounded rump. A completely tail-less Manx is called a “rumpy”; the “rumpy riser” appears to be tail-less but has one to three vertebrae fused to the end of the spine; the “stumpy” has one to five normal vertebrae, which give the cat a short, moveable tail stump; the “longy” is a cat with a shorter-than-normal tail, but a tail nonetheless. The Manx coat is very thick and glossy, with a dense undercoat. Many colors and patterns are accepted, including tabby, solid, bicolor, shaded, tortoiseshell, and calico. The Manx’s dense coat needs to be combed two or three times a week to remove loose fur.
Featured Manx Cat Breeders