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The Manx is a breed of cat with a naturally occurring mutation of the spine. This mutation shortens the tail, resulting in a variety of tail lengths ranging from normal to tailless. The hind legs are longer than the front legs, creating a continuous arch from shoulders to rump, giving the cat a rounded appearance. Manx cats move with more of a hop than a stride when running; in this way, they resemble rabbits more than cats.


© Photographer: Cheryl Kunde | Agency: Dreamstime.comLike father, like son: The Manx tailless gene is dominant and highly penetrant; kittens from Manx parents are generally born without any tail. There is no proven ratio of the amount of tailed to tailless kittens produced in each litter. However, tailed Manx bred to tailed Manx normally results in all tailed kittens, even though there are exceptions.

Manx kittens are classified according
to tail length: A dimple rumpy or rumpy has no tail whatsoever; the riser or rumpy riser has a stub of cartilage or several vertebrae under the fur (most noticeable when the kitten is happy and raising its 'tail'); the stumpy has a partial tail (more than a 'riser' but less than 'tailed'); and finally the tailed or longy has a complete or near complete tail

The Cat Walk:
The ideal show Manx is the rumpy, that is, they have no tail whatsoever. The stumpy and tailed Manx do not qualify to be shown. Depending on the presence of the mutant gene, their kittens may or may not be tailed. In the past, kittens with stumpy or full tails have been docked at birth as a preventative measure due to some partial tails being very prone to a form of arthritis that causes the cat severe pain. However, tailed Manx cats have been born for hundreds of years on the Isle of Man with no known documented problems. Most countries today have banned alteration of animals for cosmetic appearances. Some United States breeders still practice the docking Manx kittens tails as a rule. This practice is declining as other Manx breeders educate people that this breed can have a partial to full tail with no ill effects, and yet still be a Manx cat. Docking tails on cats is not exclusively performed on the Manx breed; it can be performed on any cat breed for medical necessity.

Winter Coat, Summer Coat: Manx cats exhibit two coat lengths. The short-haired Manx has a double coat with a thick, short under-layer and a longer, coarse outer-layer with guard hairs. The long-haired Manx, known to some cat registries as the Cymric, has a silky-textured double coat of medium length, with britches, belly and neck ruff, tufts of fur between the toes and full ear furnishings. The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) considers the Cymric to be a variety of Manx. It is referred to as a long-haired Manx, but is shown in the short-hair division with short-haired cats even though its hair is longer. The International Cat Association (TICA) recognizes the long haired Manx as a Cymric; the same in all respects as the Manx, except that the Cymric has a longer coat. TICA judges the Cymric with other long-haired cats in the long-hair division. Short- or long-haired, all Manx have a thick double-layered coat.

Who Needs a Dog? The Manx breed is a highly intelligent cat breed, it is playful, and very reminiscent of dogs; for example, some Manx cats will fetch small objects that are thrown. It is considered a social feline, and the breed loves humans. This attribute makes them an ideal breed for families with young children and people who prefer a companion. Some members of this breed tend to like water, many times even playing with it. This trait makes it very easy to give some Manx cats a shower for hygiene purposes, unlike most other cats. Although not as trainable as dogs, Manx cats can learn
simple commands. Other cat breeds that share similar personality traits are Bengal and Ocicat. If there are multiple Manx cats in
a household, an owner might notice that they chase each other frequently. This is common behavior for Manx cats; they like
to chase anything, be it an animal or leaf caught in the wind. Their 'meow' often resembles a long, monotone grunt or rapid chirping. However, Manx cats usually
are very quiet.

No Tail, No Problem: Pedigreed Manx cats today are much healthier and have fewer health issues related to their genetics than the Manx of years ago. This is due in part to the careful selection of breeding stock, and knowledgeable, dedicated breeders. Manx have been known to live into their mid- to high-teens and are no less healthy than other cat breeds. Like any other cat, keeping Manx cats indoors, neutering or spaying, and providing acceptable surfaces for the cat's normal scratching behavior are vital to lengthen the life of any cat.

Manx Syndrome is a colloquial name given to the condition which results when the mutant tailless gene responsible for shortening the cats' spine has an excessive negative effect. It can seriously damage the spinal cord and the nerves. The cat can have problems with spina bifida, bowels, bladder, and digestion as a result. Actual occurrences of this are rare in modern examples of the breed due to informed breeding practices. Most pedigreed cats are not placed until four months of age to make sure that proper socialization has occurred. This gives adequate time for any mutant gene-related health issues to be seen, as they turn up early in the cat's life.

According to Robinson's Genetics for Cat Breeders and Veterinarians, both the Manx tailless gene and the Scottish Fold fold-eared gene are potential lethal genes in utero if extreme tailless to tailless are mated or if extreme fold-eared to fold-eared are mated. Problems are most likely to occur when two completely tailless Manx are bred together. For this reason, responsible breeders generally breed a 'stumpy' or fully-tailed Manx with a 'rumpy' or 'rumpy riser' to minimize the chances of serious defects. This breeding practice is responsible for the decreasing occurrence of spinal problems in recent years.

Isle of Manx: The Manx breed originated on the Isle of Man, and is named after the local people and culture. It is called kayt Manninagh in the Manx language. They are an old breed, and tailless cats were common on the island as long as two or three hundred years ago. It is unknown exactly how the mutation originated, but one legend states that it was the result of cats surviving a shipwreck centuries ago. Legends even claim that Noah caused the breed to be tailless by closing the door to the ark as the Manx was entering, cutting off the tail. Other legends allege that cats and rabbits mated, and their offspring became the Manx cat.

Why the Short Tail? The most probable scientific explanation of this breed's existence is that once the dominant mutant tailless gene was introduced to the island, it became common and concentrated in the genetically isolated population. This resulted in the "normal" cat on the island having a short or nonexistent tail.

© Photographer: Cheryl Kunde | Agency: Dreamstime.comTo Be A Manx... It is possible that excessive inbreeding can result in short tails, however, the Manx breed has its shortened tail due to a mutation in the tailless gene, which is dominant and inheritable regardless of the inbreeding coefficient of a particular cat. This gene, like many others, also occurs in the domestic cat population, and was probably transferred over from the Isle of Man. For a cat to be considered a Manx, registering bodies (CFA, TICA, GCCF etc..) require that the cat show ancestry from the Isle of Man in an unbroken line of succession. Many of the distinguishing characteristics of cat breeds occur naturally sometimes in the domestic population. As much as cat resembles a certain
breed, they are considered domestic cats unless the ancestry has been tracked through a pedigree.

The Manx breed, in spite of the absence of tail, has no problems with balance.

The Isle of Man has adopted the Manx cat as a symbol of its native origins. On the Isle of Man, Manx cats appear on coins and stamps.

Even though Manx cats cease to be kittens after one year, it takes up to five years for any Manx cat to be fully grown.

The Manx was developed before the 1700s, and since the breed is of medium size, the weight is on average 12 lbs.

The Manx are well known to be skilled hunters, known to take down larger prey even when they are young.

It is not uncommon to find a manx with a squirrel or opossum much larger than itself. They are often sought by farmers with rodent problems.


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