Saturday 17 September 2011

Manx cat

The Manx cat is the archetype tailless cat. It is a purebred cat and a well know cat breed. Although it is not mainstream in the way Siamese cats and Persian cat are. The Manx is so synonymous with a cat that has no tail that people frequently describe tailless cats of any breed or non-purebred cats, as a Manx.

This is a Manx cat guide or profile.

Pictures of Manx cats

I'll start with a Manx cat photo as this is what people want to see:

Brown tabby and white Manx cat - photo copyright Helmi Flick

All the photos and text on this page are protected by copyright © except where indicated. Violations of copyright are reported to (DMCA).

The excellent Helmi photograph shows the taillessness nicely. You can also see that this cat breed is very stocky ("cobby") in cat fancy language. Not all purebred cats are cobby. The general trend it might be argued is towards slender, oriental or foreign body shapes. I have a page on the Manx cat breed standard if you would like to read more about the required appearance of this cat breed.

You can see that this is also rounded type body and head shape and the hind legs are longer than the forelegs. This thrusts the bottom into the air! This highlights the lack of tail.

Manx cat jewelry

Here is a bit of jewelry featuring the Manx:

What is a Manx cat?

A Manx cat is one of over 100 purebred pedigree cat breeds. Although there are a number of short  tailed or bobtailed cats there are few tailless cat breeds. The Manx is probably the best known of all bobtailed or tailless cats. The long haired Manx is called the Cymric. Classic bobtailed cats are for example the Kurilian bobtail and the Japanese bobtail. Sometimes the latter is mistaken for a Manx but the Japanese cat has a pom-pom tail and it more slender.

The fact of the matter is, however, that not all Manx cats are born tailless. There are a range of lengths of tail from a standard length tail to a "negative-type-tail" or a dimple. These various sorts of tail are given special names by cat breeders. For instance a Manx cat with no tail is called a "rumpy". These are show cats. Any sort of tail from very short to normal qualifies the cat as "pet quality" meaning it will be sold as a pet. Sometimes breeders dock tails ostensibly for health reasons but possibly to sell them more easily.

The name of the cat comes from the name of the people who are inhabitants of the Isle of Man and "manx" is also the name of the language spoken by these people. Although they would normally speak English as the island is off the coast of England. The island is not part of the UK however.

Here is a map. The Isle of Man is in the center between England and Northern Ireland. Please click on the blue place marker for two photographs.

View Manx Cat Place of Origin in a larger map

Manx cat health problem

People are concerned about the health of this cat breed. Unfortunately the dominant gene that mutated to cause the creation of the shortened tail or tailless cat does not always confine its action to the tail's length. There are potential health issues. In fact if two Manx cats are mated (homozygous for the mutated gene) the offspring die in the womb (24%) or are born with abnormalities (congenital defects).

Specifically, the medical issues are as follows:
  • the spine is shortened - Manx Syndrome.

Area of body of catThe Defect
Upper part of the spine - head endThe individual vertebra are shortened slightly.
Lower part of the spineA decrease in the number and fusion of the vertebra.
The sacral boneIt is badly developed.
The pelvic boneIt is badly developed.
The spinal cordThere are some cases of Spina Bifida -- a congenital defect of the spine due to a defective vertebra.
The bowelThere is occasional "bowel stoppage" which is due to a narrow anal opening. This is caused by the nerve supply being disrupted by the loss of the sacral cord segment2.
The spineThis sometimes terminates too short causing various problems such as hind leg paralysis.

The medical issues are clearly a disincentive to adopting a Manx cat and probably accounts for it not being that popular. 

Manx cat breeders

Where is the best place to find Manx cat breeders? For people living in the USA, the sites that immediately come to mind are:

  • Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA)
  • Yahoo Groups
  • and clubs if there are any.

The CFA has a nice list of 14 Manx breeders, long and shorthaired types. Go to this page to search for them. Just follow the simple instructions. The Breedlist site lists eleven breeders in the USA. Please go to this page to see them.  As to Yahoo Groups, this page list a variety of groups that are not necessarily confined to the USA. What about cat clubs? The only one I could find with relative ease was in fact a Yahoo Group as well. It seems pretty active and is on this page. Please note that sometimes external links become broken and I won't know about it.

Manx cat lover gifts

Here is a selection of Manx cat lover gifts from

White Manx cat

White Manx cats are extremely rare. I don't have picture of white Manx cat but I do have a great picture of a long haired white Manx, a Cymric. Incidentally the long haired Manx is called just that by the CFA. They don't rename the cat but just refer to the longer hair.

White Cymric cat - photo copyright Helmi Flick
Breaches of copyright result in a complaint to (DMCA)

Manx cats 2002 wall calendar

Here is a a calendar from 2002 featuring Manx cats:


Lastly what are Manx cats like as companions? I will rely on Gloria Stephens of legacy of the cat fame. She says that they are playful, good jumpers and tend to be loyal towards one person. A single person household would seem to be the ideal.

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