Do you know the manx cat breed? This cat is born without a tail! This genetic mutation took place around 200 or 300 years ago on the Isle of Man, hence the name of this atypical cat breed. Learn more about this unusual cat.
Origins of the breed
The word manx means ‘from the Isle of Man’. The Manx cat appeared, from the 19 th century, this small, isolated island, halfway between Ireland and England. It is the result of a natural genetic mutation that modifies the tail vertebrae. Kittens with the mutated gene are born without a tail or with very few caudal vertebrae. The mutated gene is dominant and, combined with the isolation and therefore the little genetic variability possible, it quickly spread throughout the island’s feline population shortly after its appearance. The mutation is not without consequences, however, and they can even be very serious!
In the case of manx, the gene for no tail is dominant. The problem is that of the three possible combinations of recessive (m) and dominant (M) genes, one is lethal. Here is an example :
- mm: the tail will be normal length
- Mm: manx
- MM: The cat will be nonviable and will usually die in utero due to severe abnormalities in its spinal cord.
The cymric is the long-haired version of the manx. It is the result of the natural crossing of short-haired manx with long-haired cats most likely brought to the Isle of Man by the Vikings. If the manx has been recognized as a breed since humans became interested in cat breeds, it took a little longer for the cymric to make its mark.
Appearance of the manx
The manx is a medium-sized, sturdy and curvy cat. It is characterized by its tail and muscular rear legs that are longer than its front legs, which accentuates its rounded posture. Even its short, dense and double coat helps give it a round appearance. Of course, the lack of a tail is also a factor!
For the length of the tail, there are 4 versions:
- The rumpy has neither caudal nor sacral vertebrae. Its rump is more rounded with a slight hollow where the tail should be.
- The rumpy-riser has 1 to 3 sacral vertebrae. A small tuft of hair ends the spine.
- The stumpy has 1 to 3 caudal vertebrae
- The longy has an almost entire tail
The cymric is the exact copy of the manx, but its coat is mid-length and slightly silkier than that of the manx.
For the manx as for the cymric, all coat colors are possible!
How often should I brush this cat?
The dense coat of the manx requires two to three brushings per week. The cymric, on the other hand, needs to be brushed even more often.
Find the ideal family
There are manx of all types of personalities. It is therefore possible to find a manx for any type of family. In general, this tailless cat is balanced and easily adapts to an enriched environment that he will explore with a medium level of energy. Make sure he has enough toys and of course a cat tree.
On the other hand, his powerful hind legs make him a great jumper who can also run very fast. Generally speaking, the manx is happy with an active family.
Unusual facts about the manx
Here are some unusual and somewhat surprising facts about this mysterious cat:
- Legend has it that the manx was the very last animal to enter Noah’s ark. The latter inadvertently closed the door on the cat’s tail strongly enough to sever it completely.
- As seen above, the mutated gene responsible for the absence of a tail must absolutely be paired with a non-mutated gene, because if two mutated genes were to be paired, the risks of fatal malformation would be increased tenfold. Therefore, two rumpy manx should not be mated together. Breeders instead breed longy (tailed) cats with rumpy (tailless) cats to prevent offspring from suffering from spinal cord abnormalities.
- In cat breeds shows, only rumpy and rumpy-riser manx are allowed to compete. The other types of manx are not less good cats, however!
Take the manx the right way
Last little detail about his tail. Even though they don’t have a tail, manx have the same nerve endings as other cats. It is therefore necessary to take precautions during handling so as not to exert pressure where the tail should be. In addition, special care should be taken when picking up a manx to properly support its rear limbs so as not to strain the spine.