Manx catFor some cat owners, their pets’ tail marks the elegance and expression of the cat. It lashes out in anger, frizz with fear, and hold high with self-assurance. Without a tail, a cat misses an indispensable part of its character. However, owners of the Manx cat do not seem to mind that, as they find the breed as equally elegant and expressive, perhaps even more, than any tailed cat.

Breed Origin

The Manx has existed for several centuries on the Isle of Man, a small island midway between Liverpool, England and Belfast, Ireland. Since the area has no indigenous feline species from which the Manx cat could develop, it is theorized that domestic cats were first introduced by human settlers and explorers. Who brought them, or when it was brought, is still unknown.

Legends say that the Manx’s lack of tail was because it is a cross between a cat and a rabbit (which is biologically impossible), or that Irish invaders stole the cats’ tails and used them as their helmet plumes. Since then, it is said that these cats would nip off the tails of their kittens to protect them from the thieves. Another legend tells the tale of two cats who became passengers of Noah’s ark, but arrived late in boarding, and their tails got caught when Noah slammed the door shut.

Meanwhile, geneticists believe that this characteristic is the result of a spontaneous natural mutation that occurred within the islands’s domestic cat population. No one knows for sure when this happened, or if the mutation occurred on the island itself.

Appearance

The Manx is the only cat breed that is truly tailless. It has a round body with a round head with prominent cheeks and a round rump, which further emphasized by its lack of tail. Its chest is broad, with short front legs, and the back short and arching from the shoulders to rump. Meanwhile, its hind legs are much longer, causing the rump to be considerably higher than the shoulder. The coat is glossy, short, and dense. It possesses a cottony undercoat, which gives the Manx a well-padded look.

The Manx is further divided into four classifications according to tail type: rumpy (completely tailless, with a dimple at the base of the spine); rumpy-riser (has a short knob of tail); stumpy (a short tail stump that is often crooked or kinked); and longy (bearing tails that are almost as long as an average cat’s). The rumpy is most favored in shows, while the stumpy and longy are considered pet-quality.

Color

The color patterns of the Manx cat are similar to those of domestic cats, including spots of black and brown. All blacks and all whites are common among Manx as well.

Personality

Despite the lack of tail, the Manx’s sense of balance is not sacrificed, as well as its ability to express its emotions without a tail to swish. The Manx cat is intelligent, even-tempered, and adaptable, forming strong bonds of love and trust with its chosen humans. Although it usually choose one person, it gets along well with other family members, including children, other cats, and even dogs. It also has a fascination for water, possibly from all those years surrounded by it on the Isle of Man. The Manx is also an exceptional jumper, thanks to its strong hind legs.

Grooming

Despite its short fur, it is actually dense and possesses a cottony undercoat, and grooming is also required for this shorthaired breed. A thorough combing once a week with a good steel comb is usually enough.

Cost

Pet-quality kittens range from about $300 to $600, depending on the breeder, location, gender, and coat pattern or color. The rare rumpy Manx can run $1,000 or more, especially if it also meets the show standard.