Everything You Need to Know About the Manx Cat

Posted by Christy Caplan
Manx cat

If you're looking for a beautiful, friendly, and distinctive looking cat, then you need to look into the Manx breed. Manx cats are native to the Isle of Man (a.k.a. Manx), located between England and Ireland. This breed looks like a cat but it's missing a tail! While the breed is most often known for this physical characteristic, Manx cats have much more to offer with their dog-like personalities and friendly attitudes.

The shortened tail is a naturally occurring mutation (a Manx gene) and there are a few different tail types and varieties. The Manx cat is not completely tailless. There are Rumpies, which have up to three vertebrae fused at the end of the spine to make a short tail. Rumpy Risers have a stump of up to five vertebrae, and then some Manx cats are known as Longies since they have a tail that's longer than the stump but shorter than the typical cat tail length.

History of the Manx

The tailless Manx is a famous cat! And even found on postage stamps and featured on four commemorative coins in Britain. 

And this breed has been around for a long time. According to the BBC:

"Isle of Man resident Sara Goodwins, author of the book 'A De-tailed Account of Manx Cats,' notes that the first linguistic reference to tailless cats on the Isle of Man appears in the mid-18th Century."

This spontaneous tailless genetic mutation occurred many centuries ago. According to one story, the Manx cat taillessness was a result of a cross between a cat and a rabbit. There's even a myth that the Manx cat was attempting to board Noah's Ark when Noah closed the door on its tail...There's also a tale of a Spanish Armada shipwreck in the Irish Sea, and a tailless cat swam to the island of Man.

If the tail is too short it can affect the length of the spine (Manx syndrome) and health complications can arise, like spina bifida and problems with the bowels, bladder, and digestion. Two tailless Manxes bred together will lead to birth defects, which is why there are different types of Manx cats. 

Manx Cat Characteristics

Manx cats have a round appearance and weigh 8-12 pounds. North America now has far more of this tailless cat than it's original birthplace.

There are two types of Manx coat lengths: shorthair and longhair (formerly Cymric). The shorthair's double coat (one of the few shorthair cats that have a double coat) is glossy and padded, while the long-haired Manx has a silky and plush double coat. Color and varieties include white, black, calico, brown spotted, silver tabby, and black tipped.

They appear to hop around rather than walk due to their elongated hind legs. Certain diseases these cats are prone to include rump fold intertrigo, and to corneal dystrophy

Hover over the image for more information:

Manx Behavior 

Manx cats have been known to act more like dogs than they do cats. They are very social with people and easily bond with other animals, including your dog! The Manx is a playful, happy cat that enjoys curling up in your lap, but it's important to socialize Manx kittens at an early age. They tend to follow you around! 

They can learn to walk on a leash and enjoy riding in the car. This cat breed will accept boundaries but you may need to redirect his behavior with a fun game if there is unwanted behavior like jumping on the counter.


Adding a Manx to Your Family

 The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) is a good place to find reputable Manx breeders and breeding programs. Or try to look for one in a shelter to adopt!  You can also check the Fanciers Breeder Referral List, and The International Cat Association for more information.

Make sure to research health problems before you talk to a breeder or visit a cat show and meet a few of these Manx cats before bringing one home! The cat population could use more Manx cats! 

Do you have a Manx? Show us their picture in the comments below. 

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Everything You Need to Know About the Manx Cat