Meet the Manx Cat, the tailless feline
The Manx is one of the oldest known cat breeds and is characterized by their sweet personality and calm temperament.
But they are also known for being tailless due to a natural genetic mutation. If you want to know more, here we tell you all about this breed!
Origin of the Manx cat
The Manx cat originates from the Isle of Man, located between England and Ireland. It is believed that the first felines would have arrived to the island on ships, some say that they were merchant ships going from Phoenicia to Japan, while others believe that they were ships from a more remote place.
Their name is because it is the name of the people born on this island. For years these cats have been considered a priceless treasure by farmers and sailors because of their excellent vermin hunting skills.
As the Isle of Man is an isolated place, the cats multiplied among themselves naturally, without human intervention and the intervention of other breeds.
Thus, at some point, they obtained a genetic mutation that resulted in kittens that were born without the number of vertebrae that cats usually have in their tails.
After a while, it became characteristic of them to have no tail or to have one that barely reaches 3 cm. It is believed that this mutation may be related to the same gene that affects American Bobtail cats.
The lack of tail of these cats has originated many rumors and legends until today rumors like that it was a breeding of a cat and a rabbit.
Or legends such as that Noah was about to close the doors of his ark, and the cat was delayed, that he tried to catch some mice to apologize but that when Noah arrived he cut off the cat's tail when closing the doors.
Although it is not clear at what point this breed spread to other places, in a short time they managed to cause a sensation among cat enthusiasts and breeders, becoming popular until they are seen as pets in homes all over the world.
They were exhibited in the first cat exhibition in Great Britain from 1871 onwards.
In 1930 they arrived in the United States, breeders quickly defined the standards and they were officially recognized as a breed. At present, they are one of the 7 breeds recognized as tailless.
Physical characteristics of the Manx cat
Size: they measure between 30 and 35 cm, reaching adult size at 5 years of age.
Weight: both males and females weigh between 3 - 5 kg.
Eyes: they are round and expressive, they can be amber, copper, green, hazel, orange, yellow and golden.
Ears: they are broad at the base, with rounded tips.
Coat: can be short or long, smooth and thick, and has different patterns such as solid, tortoiseshell, bicolor, tricolor, calico, smoke, shaded, or tabby.
Body: they are of medium size and robust build. Their head is round, proportional to the rest of their body.
They have a strong complexion and their bones are robust, this gives them an appearance of being larger than they really are, and their hind legs are longer than their front legs.
Some Manx cats do not have tails, so you will not notice any protuberance. Because of this, they are qualified as Rumpy (no tail) Riser (tail of fewer than three vertebrae), and Stumpy (tail of more than three vertebrae).
There is also the Longy, which has a tail within the normal range, although shorter than in other breeds and Tailed, which has a standard-length tail.
Life Span: they can live between 9 - 13 years.
The character of the Manx cat
They are affable cats and very affectionate with their family, they usually create very strong bonds with their owners, and they enjoy being pampered and cuddled, especially when they have been raised at home since they were kittens.
They are very active cats, who enjoy playing and exercising every day, however, they appreciate peace and rest.
They get along well with children and other pets and do not tolerate loneliness very well.
Their hunting instinct is very developed, so they adapt well to urban areas and rural areas, do not be surprised if your cat goes outside to hunt something for you, it is advisable to watch him in these cases.
Care of the Manx cat
- Brushing your cat a couple of times a week will be enough to keep his coat clean and shiny.
- He does not need a bath unless he is really dirty.
- Give your cat a space with air furniture and toys so he can exercise, drain his energy and stimulate his hunting instincts.
- They present some genetic defects and health problems typical of the breed, so veterinary check-ups should be frequent during the kitten's growth.
Manx cats are not picky eaters. You can offer dry food available on the market, the important thing is that it has the necessary nutrients according to their age, physical activities, and quality of life.
He does not usually put on weight, however, be sure to provide adequate food rations on a regular schedule to maintain a healthy weight and prevent him from becoming overweight.
Consult a veterinarian to provide a diet suitable for your cat.
Health of the Manx cat
As mentioned above, their lack of tail is a genetic mutation. The tailless gene of the Manx is dominant and highly penetrant, which alters the shape of the spine.
Having two copies of this gene (i.e. being homozygous) is usually lethal in utero and leads to miscarriage. Those with only one mutated gene manage to develop, either without a tail or with a short tail; in the latter case, they are called the "stumpy" variety.
This syndrome is detectable from 4-6 months of age. It is, therefore, necessary to pay close attention during their development stage, as it can cause health problems and malformations of the spine and various internal organs, such as the bladder, intestines, or stomach.
But these deformations can be fatal in the long term, some affected kittens are usually euthanized or can live a maximum of 5 years.
In addition, they are more prone to suffer from arthritis of the tail, which becomes very painful for them, and corneal dystrophy which is a genetic disease that can arise from the age of 4 months and causes vision problems that can lead to blindness.
Now you know a little bit more about the Manx cat.
The Manx cat is not a cat that you get so easily, so if you want a cat of this breed you must go with a responsible breeder, although they are easy to care for cats due to their genetics need to be attentive to their development and keep up to date visits to the veterinarian. Otherwise, you will enjoy the company of an energetic and very loving cat.