If you ever see a cat without a tail, hopping along like a bunny, don’t feel bad for it. Chances are you’re observing the Manx cat.
The Manx cat is a medium-sized domestic cat breed with a genetic defect that causes it to have little to no tail. Manx cats have a double coat of fur, large hind legs, and are also known as stumpies, stubbies, longies, and rumpies depending on the length of their tail, or lack thereof.
The number of vertebrae normally found in a cat’s tail is 18 to 28. Let’s look at how the Manx cat differs. These are the 4 variations of Manx cats.
- Stumpies – Has only a small stump for a tail with around 3 vertebrae.
- Stubbies – Has only a small stub for a tail similar to the stumpy.
- Longies – This variation of Manx has a tail length similar to other domestic cats but usually a bit shorter.
- Rumpies – A rumpy is a Manx with no tail at all. This variation is most at risk of Manx syndrome.
Manx cats have a very round appearance in terms of their whole body and feature round heads, eyes, and faces as well.
With abnormally large hind legs, these cats often hop around in a similar fashion to rabbits. A small stub for a tail or no tail at all makes them look even more bunny-like.
The Manx cat originated off the coast of Great Britain in the Isle of Man around 300 years ago. This is where they’re still predominantly found although they are seen all over the rest of the world as well. These cats are also sometimes referred to as “stubbin” especially in their home country.
The first known Manx breed standard was published in 1903 but these cats have been featured in cat shows since the 1800s.
The Isle of Man has adopted the Manx cat as a symbol of its native origins and even appears on some of their postage stamps.
Manx cats can suffer from a disease called Manx syndrome that negatively affects their spinal cord bone development, we will cover this in more detail later in the article.
This breed of cat is perfect for families and is often referred to as having dog-like personalities.
Sub-Breeds of Manx Cats
There are 4 variants of the Manx cat, namely:
- Cymric (Longhair Manx)
- The Isle of Man Shorthair
- The Isle of Man Longhair
- The Tasman Manx (Curly coated)
Of these, only the Cymric breed has been widely accepted in breed registries since 2014.
Are All Cats With Little To No Tail Manx Cats?
No, for example, the Asian Bobtail has a short tail but they’re not of the same breed as the mutation is based on a different genetic mutation. Other popular breeds of cats with short stubby tails include:
- The American Bobtail
- Japanese Bobtail
- Kurilian Bobtail
Are Manx Cats Rare?
In the Isle of Man, Manx cats are common and you’re likely to see at least one on any particular day. Although they do appear all over the world, they’re rare compared to other domestic cat breeds.
Are Manx Cats Expensive?
Manx cats are part of the most expensive cats in the world. Well over $1000 in many cases. This is because of their rarity and unusual features.
What’s Different About The Manx Cat?
The primary characteristics of a Manx cat that makes them different are their short tail, or lack of a tail, and long hind legs. They also sport a double layer of fur making it very thick. They can jump higher than most other domestic cats because of their powerful back legs and can also look like they’re hopping around like a bunny at times. They are also different in that they are above average in terms of hunting prey.
Are Manx Cats Good Pets?
We believe Manx cats make wonderful pets for the following reasons:
- They are playful and energetic, similar to that of a dog in many cases.
- They’re also very affectionate, loyal, intelligent, and lovable.
- Manx cats are known to be very effective hunters and will take care of any rodents in and around your home.
However, if you spend most of your days working or at school and don’t have much time to spend with your pet, a Manx might not be for you. This is because they thrive on attention and will probably suffer from separation anxiety if they’re left alone for too long. If you already have a Manx and you do work all day long, try to give it a little more attention during the evenings to make up for lost time.
Because this breed of cat has a double coat of fur, you’ll need to brush them at least once or twice per week to assist with shedding and also to keep everything else a bit more hair-free.
Are Manx Cats Talkative?
In general, yes, they’re very vocal and will let you know when they want your attention. They’ll tell you when they want a treat or a rub and they’ll purr deeply when they’re enjoying your attention.
Why Do Manx Cats Have No Tails?
The most plausible reason as to why Manx cats have little to no tail is that they mated with British Shorthairs on the Isle of Man, at which time a genetic mutation occurred that resulted in the lack of a tail.
There are a few myths about how the Manx lost its tail.
On Noah’s ark
It was believed that this cat was last at the door of Noah’s ark and when he closed the door before the flood, he chopped off the tail of the cat in the process.
Rabbits and cats interbreeding
This was believed as the Manx has similar features to a rabbit. The long hind legs, thick fur, and a hopping gate. Of course this is not genetically possible.
Vikings cut them off
Viking invaders cut the tails of the cats off for good luck so the mother cats started biting the tails off to protect them.
Do Manx Cats Have Health Problems?
Manx cats can exhibit health problems due to spinal developmental issues. These issues can cause the Manx cat a lot of pain and discomfort. Spina Bifida is a birth defect that impedes vertebrae from growing around the spinal cord. Other health defects may include the following:
- A lack of control over urination and defecation.
- An unusual stance and hopping motion when running.
- Decreased sensation or paralysis of the hind legs.
- Irregular pelvic bone development leading to other health concerns.
These, and other health problems common in Manx cats are collectively known as Manx syndrome. This disease was shown to affect around 30% of Manx cats in one study, of which almost every instance was found in the “rumpy” variation of Manx. (Manx cats with no tail at all) Cats with Manx syndrome always have shortened life spans.
Manx syndrome is most common and severe in cats that are born from two rumpies. For this reason, breeding with two rumpies is strongly discouraged.
Surprisingly, Manx cats don’t have any problems with regards to balance, even without a tail.
Do Manx Cats Get Big?
The Manx cat is more often than not, medium-sized compared to other domestic cats. They can sometimes even take up to 5 years to grow fully. Only their hind legs are larger and more muscular than that of other cats.
Can Manx Cats Swim?
Most cats would run from water in terror but Manx cats actually don’t mind it. We think this is, in part, due to the fact that they originate from the Isle of Man which is surrounded by the ocean. Manx cats can swim and do so on occasion with their owners at the beach.
Are Manx Cats Lap Cats?
You can definitely consider Manx cats to be lap cats. They love to spend as much time as they can with their owners and don’t mind being handled and petted, the more attention you give them, the better. Even if your lap is occupied with a TV dinner, your Manx will usually always be nearby waiting for a taste or even just for your lap to become vacant.
How Long Does A Manx Cat Live?
Manx cats can live a long and healthy life of 15 to 20 years if they don’t suffer from Manx syndrome. Cats that are born with this syndrome can die after only a few months. In some cases, a cat with Manx syndrome can live up to the age of 3 to 7 years but death can occur quickly and without much forewarning.
Are Manx Cats Aggressive?
They aren’t particularly aggressive to humans but they do make for great hunters. Throughout hundreds of years, the Manx cat has been known to effectively hunt and kill prey like rodents, birds, and other animals.
This is why they’ve always been loved by farmers. Besides taking care of pesky rodents, the Manx is also a very lovable and loyal cat which is why they were also a preferred breed of ship cat. (Cats that were taken on board ships while carrying out trading voyages)
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.