Even though this cat is seemingly uncommon with its tailless trait, the Manx cat is considered an ancient breed. The development of the breed started on the Isle of Man, a small island in the Irish Sea. There were, however different variations related to the process of its development. The island was not known to have any native wild cats from which the Manx breed could develop. Thus, it was believed that the Manx was bred through the crossing of domestic cats introduced by traders or human settlers. However, no records of the period or of the specific people associated with the event were found.
The close proximity of the Isle of Man in Britain has also given rise to the belief that the Manx cats are descendants of British cats. Yet another variation pointed the breed development to the 17th and 18th centuries where vessels around the world would trade and stop at the ports of the Isle of Man. As such ships were typically known to carry cats as mousers, it was suggested that the ancestors of Manx cats had come from a few different places instead.
The taillessness of the Manx has been recorded as a spontaneous mutation among the domestic cats on the island. However, some believed that the mutation had first occurred in other places before the development happened on the island. No one can be sure and it is difficult to trace out the specific place where the mutation had first started as the Manx cats had been spread to many different countries.
The proliferation of the Manx breed is supported by its dominant gene for its tailless trait. Thus, such trait can be easily passed down from one generation to the next. This has resulted in a thriving pool of tailless cats that boasts an array of colors, patterns and hair lengths.
The Manx cat was first recognized in North America in the 1920s. In the 1930s, Ellen and Ruth Carlson of Chicago actively brought the Manx breed to cat shows. With their help, the Manx cat had managed to clinch the grand championship in the American Cat Association (ACA). One success has led to the next and the Manx cat now enjoys the championship status in all associations of North America.
The Manx Longhair (Cymric) shares the same breed standard as the Manx, except for the section that describes the hair length. Even though it is accepted by most associations, many consider it to be a division of the Manx breed.
Physical appearance and attributes
The Manx is a medium sized cat that weights between 8 -10 pounds for females and 10 – 12 pounds for males. The body is characterized by its sturdy bone structure, compactness, and rounded form. It has a short back that creates a continuous arch from shoulders to rump, making the rump appear to be higher than the shoulders. This also gives it a rounded form. Even though it is tailless it has an incredible balance and jumping ability credited to the development of its strong and long hind legs. It has round, firm paws that will cushion the impact of its jump.
Manx’s head is slightly longer than it is wide. Its prominent cheekbones, jowls and whisker breaks contribute to its rounded appearance. The nose is long and broad and the pair of ears is well-spaced, wide at the base and taper into a rounded tip. Ear tufts can furnish the inside of the ears or extend the rounded tips.
The eyes of the Manx cat are round and full. The outer corners of the eyes are slanted slightly upwards such that they are higher than the inner corners. Eye colors are as varied as its coat colors and patterns; and these two components should complement each other.
Unlike any other bobtailed cats, the Manx is the only breed that is truly tailless. However, not all Manx cats are tailless, and there exist four varieties of this breed. The Manx without any tail is called the Rumpy, which has no tail vertebrate and is the most prized and favored variety in the show ring among the four.
The Riser has a little cartilage at the end of its spine and this variety can be suited for championship if the rise of its tail cartilage does not stop the smooth stroke of the judge’s hand from down the back and over its rump.
Stumpy is a variety that has just one to three vertebrates in the tail that extends from the end of its spine. The tail can be curved, knotted or kinked, and this variety is often considered for pet quality rather than for show.
Manx that has a tail seen on any other typical cat is called Longy. Longy usually has its tail docked by breeders at four to six days old as there are not many people who would adopt a Manx that comes with a tail. Another reason for doing so is due to the hereditary issue of Longy’s tail becoming ossified or arthritic, causing great pain to the cat.
Manx can come in two different coat lengths, namely, shorthair double coat and longhair double coat (Cymric). The coat for both varieties should be very dense and plush. Shorthair variety has a rather hard and glossy outer coat. Softer coats can however be spotted on whites or dilutes. Longhair variety has a coat of medium length and produces luxurious ruff that extends from around the neck to the abdomen and breeches.
The coat can come in a plethora of colors and patterns. These include an array of calicos, solids, tabbies and tortoise shells. Coats that are of hybridization are however not allowed and these are reflected in color and pattern of chocolate, lavender, Himalayan pattern or a combination these with white.
Personality and temperament
The Manx is much like a dog both in its loyalty and in its love for interactive play. The hunting skills of its ancestors have been well retained, making the Manx an excellent protector against rodents and other minor threats in the home. Under the wild instinct of the Manx is a placid and mellow temperament that appreciates a serene surrounding. Not the least passive, the Manx enjoys being around its favorite people and involving itself in their household activities. Otherwise, they enjoy being cuddled up on their laps.
On playful days or during interactive play, the Manx will display the power of its extended hind legs by catching lure or bait from a height. On its own and running on a healthy curiosity, the Manx would climb the heights of tall perches around the house and jumping off them with a good landing. Manx are willing learners and would respect boundaries given. However, it would appreciate alternatives such as sturdy climbing poles or cat trees.
This intelligent breed grasps tricks easily and would find its way to manipulate doors, drawers, switches and buttons. Walking it on leash is not an issue for this agreeable breed if it is being trained at an early stage. They love to ride on cars makes it a good companion for long-distance car trips.
This adaptable breed knows how to enjoy the company of all family members and other family pets without being overly demanding of attention. Manx also has a special fascination for water. Thus, it can be found getting its paws on any available source of fresh water.
Care and health concern
A healthy Manx cat can have an average life expectancy of between 15- 18 years. Health issues that might be of a concern include arthritis of the tailbone for Manx cats with partial tails, such as Stumpy or Longy. Manx syndrome is another common health issue among the Manx breed. This is a type of birth defects that can manifest in the spine, urinary tract or bowels and digestion. About 20 percent of the Manx breed is affected with this condition. Such defects can be detected by the time the kitten is about months old and it often happens on the Rumpy variety. Thus, it is important to get a written health document from a qualified breeder and to wait for the kitten to turn about 5 months before bringing it home.
Grooming the Shorthair Manx is fairly effortless, requiring only weekly brushing to remove dead hair and to maintain the healthy gloss. The longhair variety would, however require brushing about twice a week. The Rumpy variety would require extra attention around the anus as feces may sometimes cling to the close-lying fur at the rump.
Other pet care should involve weekly nail trimming, regular ear checks and frequent teeth brushing with vet-approved products. There grooming practices would encourage a hearty growth.
The ideal home
The Manx breed can be suited for both indoor and outdoor living. A safe and secured outdoor garden would be ideal to promote extra exploration and hunting fun for the cat. Indoor living would keep the cat safe, but an adventure area would need to be created to help alleviate boredom. The space can include interactive toys, cat gym sets, scratching poles, cat trees and edible plant.
This adaptable and people-oriented breed would make an excellent pet even for homes with children or other family pets. With the ability to form special bond yet not overly demanding, the Manx will prove itself to be a well-balanced cat, supplying the home with much fun and warmth.