The Cymric cat has been around for hundreds of years, but was officially recognized only much later. The development of this cat started on the Isle of Man, a small island in the Irish Sea. It's a name that comes from the word “Cymru”, which means “being of/from Wales” help explains its place of development. Since there were no indigenous wildcats on the island, it was suggested that the Cymric cat was developed through the introduction of domestic cats by settlers, explorers or traders, who brought the cats along with them when they traveled to the island.
Records have shown that the taillessness and long hair traits of the cat are a result of spontaneous mutation that occurred among the domestic Manx cat population on the island. It was realized when long-haired kittens were born to short-haired and tailless Manx cat. These kittens were considered to be of a different type from the Manx breed. The gene that governs the long-hair trait was later established as recessive. Thus, it was necessary to outcross the Manx breed to long-haired cats in order to produce the long-hair variety. The outcrosses have helped to widen and strengthen the gene pool that creates the present Cymric cat. However, the gene that governs the Cymric’s taillessness is dominant, thus, this trait can be passed on easily from one generation to the next.
It took many years before the cat was recognized by purebred cat registries. The popularity of the Cymric cat increased in the mid 1970s. Today it enjoys the championship status in all cat associations except the Cat Fanciers Federation (CFF). There are associations that considered the Cymric as a long-haired Manx rather than as a distinct breed. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) has accepted the Max Longhair as a division of the Manx breed. This can be considered an advantage for breeders as this single breed standards meant that long-haired kittens born to the Manx breed can be registered and shown in the longhair division.
Physical appearance and attributes
Due to the idiosyncrasies of the tailless gene, there are four distinctly different tail types that the Cymric cat can produce. The Rumpy refers to absolute taillessness, a trait that is highly prized, especially in the show ring. Rumpy-riser refers to Cymric cat that carries a short knob of tail that consists of one to three vertebrae that extend from the spine. It will be accepted in the show ring if the rise of the tail does not cause obstruction to the judge’s hand when it is being stroked. Stumpies refers to Cymric that has a short tail stump and is usually considered to be of pet quality. The last type is called Longies, and as the name suggests, it refers to Cymric that has a long tail like most other cats. Usually breeders would dock the tail of Longies when they are four to six days old. This would make it easier for the cat to find a home since most people would view the long tail as an undesirable trait for a Cymric.
Tail types aside, the Cymric is a medium to large sized cat that weighs between 7 -13 pounds. It carries a solidly muscled body that is firm to the touch with sturdy bone structure. The broad chest, short midsection and broad round rump give its body a semi-chubby shape. Its legs are well-muscled with the hind legs being slightly longer than the front and they extend into rounded paws. The forelegs are set slightly apart to show off its broad chest.
The cat has a large rounded head with prominent cheeks and jowls that accentuates its round appearance. The nose is medium in length with a break between the eyes. It has a pair of large round eyes that shimmers in a complementing color to its coat. They inner corners display a slight slant towards the nose with the outer corners sowing a corresponding slant towards the ears. Atop the head is a pair of medium sized ears that are set fairly high and well apart. They are broad at the base and tapers gradually to a rounded tip. Viewed in profile, the muzzle appears fairly short with prominent whisker pads and a firm chin.
Cymric cat wears a coat of medium-long hair that is dense and plush across the main body due to its undercoat. The hair length increases from the shoulders to the rump and is smooth and silky to the touch. Its neck may be adorned with a generous ruff and its hind legs furnish with breeches. The hair coat may also manifest itself as beautiful tufts on the ears and toes. All colors and patterns of the coat are accepted except those that show signs of hybridization.
Personality and temperament
This is a playful and affectionate cat that is capable of forming strong bonds with its chosen human companions. It displays love and trust unreservedly. It loves spending time with its humans and cuddling on your lap is one of the ways it can do so. The plush coat does make it a very huggable and cuddling becomes a mutually pleasant activity for both the cat and the person. It is not overly demanding and knows how to enjoy the companion of all family members. It is moderately active, but very playful. Coupled with its curiosity and jumping skills, it is not surprising to find this cat up on high perches. The Cymric cat has a special fondness towards water due in part to its place of origin. It has a pleasing temperament and an adaptable nature that allows it to get along well with children that know how to handle it with gentleness as well as other friendly family pets.
Care and health issues
Cymric cat generally has an average lifespan of 15 years. There are a few health issues related to the Manx syndrome that might be of a concern in this breed. The tailless gene that is inherited may cause Spina Bifida, fused vertebrate or gaps in the vertebrate. There might also be bowels or bladder dysfunction. Such problems usually start to develop within the first six months of the cat’s life, thus it is better to wait till the cat’s growth is over this period before purchasing it. If the kitten has inherited two copies of the tailless gene, it will usually become stillborn. It is important to obtain a written health guarantee from a qualified breeder when purchasing the cat to ensure that it is not contracted with any genetic or common feline diseases.
The cat needs grooming, but less frequent than other long-haired cats such as the Persians; a twice or thrice brushing will suffice to help keep the coat healthy. Other basic grooming practices should include frequent brushing of teeth with vet-approved toothpaste as well as nail trimming and ear cleaning whenever necessary.
The ideal home
The Cymric is suited for indoor living, but an adventure zone is necessary for its extremely playful and active lifestyle. Equip the play space with cat toys, cat trees and cat gym sets. This cat is also highly intelligent and is capable of using its paws to open doors and drawers as well as to manipulate faucets. It adaptable nature allows it to live peaceably with children and other friendly pets as long as they are introduced at an early stage. The Cymric cat is never lacking in its affection and will be an ideal companion to most types of household as long as the family is ready to show the necessary care and attention.
Photo by Panther - CC BY-SA 3.0
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