The tail-less Manx cat has been known for hundreds of years and there are various stories regarding its exact origins. Probably the oldest story is that when Noah closed the door of the Ark he shut it too quickly and chopped off the tail of the cat. Another story says that tail-less cats swam ashore to the Isle of Man from the wrecked galleons of the Spanish Armada in 1588. There is little doubt that the isolation of the island allowed the tail-less trait to be perpetuated but the tail-less-ness is the result of a genetic mutation possibly caused by inbreeding British Shorthairs. The true or ‘rumpy’ Manx has only a small hollow where the tail would have been, although cats with residual tails are born. These are called ‘stumpies’, ‘stubbies’, or ‘longies’ depending on the length of the tail. The mutant gene that causes the tail-less-ness may also be responsible for other skeletal deformities and when two completely tail-less ‘rumpies’ are mated together the offspring are often born dead or die shortly after birth. The spines of Manx almost always show other deformities, sometimes the vertebrae are shorter than normal and in the lower part of the spine they tend to fuse together and they may be fewer in number. The best show cats are born from matings between Manx and normal cats or between ‘stumpies’. There is a school of thought that maintains that cats with such deformities should not be promoted or bred from but the other side of the argument maintain that the cats have bred naturally since the 1500’s and therefore are obviously strong enough to survive without human help. Despite its skeletal deformities the Manx cat is accepted and recognised by the GCCF in Britain and can be shown at all major UK cat shows.
The Manx cat closely resembles the British Shorthair in type with the obvious exception of the tail. The head is large, round and has prominent cheeks. The muzzle and chin is firm and strong and the nose is broad and straight. The ears are set high on the head and are angled slightly outwards. They taper from a broad base to a rounded tip. The eyes are large and round and the eye colour is in keeping with the coat colour. The body is compact and solid, with a broad chest and short back. The rump is rounded and should be higher than the shoulders. The legs are short and powerful, with the back legs being slightly longer than the front. In the show cat there must be absolutely no tail and the rump should be completely rounded but stumps of varying lengths are allowed in the breeding or pet cat.
The Manx’s coat has a double quality with a short thick undercoat and a slightly longer overcoat. The double coat is of far more importance than the colour or markings. Any combination of colour and markings is seen with the exception of the Siamese pattern. In the show cat the colour and markings carry no points but the coat texture carries twenty points.
The Manx usually lives for about ten to twelve years.
The Manx’s ‘deformed’ spine may cause some problems. If misshaped vertebrae etc affect the spine the cat may be prone to arthritis in old age. In some cats the anal passage may be narrowed and this can cause bowel blockages.
The Manx are good natured and affectionate and love a cuddle. They are good with children and other animals and seem to be especially good with dogs. They make ideal family pets and are very adaptable to family life. They are often more than happy to be indoor cats.
Compatibility with Cats
Other Animal Compatibility
The Manx is a large cat and will require approximately 70 Kcals per kg bodyweight per day of food. However, many Manx like their British Shorthair cousins are prone to obesity, particularly neuters, and some restriction on their diet may be necessary.
The Manx coat does not require excessive grooming and they are quite capable of looking after their coat themselves.