Thursday 10 May 2012

Manx Cat Imported From Far East?

There is good circumstantial evidence to suggest that the Manx cat did not evolved on the Isle of Man, a small island between England and Northern Ireland, but was imported from the islands of Far East on ships.

The Isle of Man was a recognized sea port. They even built ships there. We know that ships cats have been a standard feature on ships since ancient times and still are. They serve a useful purpose.

Short tailed cats are known to be common in the Far East. This was and remains a definite hotspot for short tailed cats. In fact it has been the case for a thousand years or more.  Harrison Weir on 1889 wrote1 that short tailed cats were commonly seen in the Malay Archipelago and in Burma and Thailand. He called the short tailed cat of the area the "Malayan".

In addition we have the well known Japanese Bobtail, the lesser known and perhaps genetically connected Kurilian Bobtail, the Mekong Bobtail and short tailed or kinked tailed Siamese cats. These cats come from the area in the Far East highlighted in red in the map below.
Area and places were short tailed cats found

The Isle of Man is also marked on the map. You can see how far apart these areas are. It would seem more likely that the Manx cat was imported from the Far East as opposed to the cat developing from a genetic mutation on the Isle of Man.

Of course, very long established bobtailed cats might not be limited in origin to the area indicated. It is just that we have confirmed and established information that they are commonplace in this area. Also there is no trend or tendency for short tailed cats to appear in the United Kingdom or Ireland (except for the Isle of Man).

The American Bobtail and Pixie-bob, both American domestic cats are short tailed. However, they are very recent cat breeds (1980s). They do not have a long history as is the case for the cats mentioned above. It may well be that they both have the same origins as the Manx. These cats were found in Arizona and Washington USA as marked on the map.

Note: 1. Our Cats and all about them at page 82.

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