Manx Cats

Manx CatManx cats originally come from the Isle of Man, an island in the Irish Sea located between the UK and Ireland. The Manx cat (sometimes known as a Manks cats) has an easy to spot defining feature – it has no tail. Some Manx cats have a tiny stump where a tail could be, but most are simply tail-less.

Manx cats are small to medium sized, usually weighing in at 10lbs or less. These cats have round heads and fairly large eyes, which are almost always gold or yellow. Another defining characteristic of the Manx is its hind legs – which are noticeably longer than the fore legs, giving the cat a somewhat hunched over appearance. The Manx comes in pretty much any coat color and coat pattern you can imagine – though pure white ones are very rare. Manx cats have both short and long-haired coats, though some breeding associations have classified the long-haired Manx as a completely separate breed – the Cymric.

How did the Manx cat lose its tail? A naturally occurring genetic mutation that occurred in one cat – and through generations and generations of breeding, on a small island with a small gene pool, the dominant gene of the original mutation managed to create a unique cat breed of its own.

Manx Cat

They were originally known as Stubbin cats, in the Manx dialect, and have existed since at least the 1700s as a breed. A lot of tall tales and folk stories have been spread around about the origin of the Manx cat since that time. One has the Manx cats arriving via the Spanish Armada, when one of their ships sunk off the Isle of Man. Apparently these brave, skilled, tailless cats swam ashore from the ship wreck and made the island their home – far, far away from their original homes in Asia. This story looks like a very fanciful way of trying to connect the tailless Manx with the tailless Japanese Bobtail breed. But, unfortunately, there’s no genetic link between these two breeds at all. Another fictional origin story has the Manx being the offspring of a cat and a rabbit. It’s easy to see where this story comes from – no tail, longer back legs and a hunched over posture. But it’s not only untrue, it’s genetically impossible.

Breeders and Cat Fanciers have a classification for Manx cats based entirely on their tails, or lack of them. Their classes are as follows, and no, these are not the Latin names! A Manx cat with no tail at all is known as a “Rumpy”. A Manx with a small bump of cartilage under the fur in the spot where a tail would be is called a “Riser”. Manx cats with tiny vestigial tails that are one inch long or less are known as “Stumpy”. A “Stubby” Manx has a tail about half the length or less of normal cat’s tail, and  one with a tail of almost normal length is known as a “Longy” or a “Tailed” Manx. Only Rumpy, Riser, and Stumpy Manx cats are allowed to compete at most “official” cat breeding events and shows.

Cats with full length, normal tails can be born in a litter of Manx kittens. These cats simply didn’t inherit the gene that causes the Manx to be tailless, and as a result, are not considered Manx cats at all – despite their heritage.