There are so many cat breeds out there. All of them are special. However, there is something really special about the Manx cat.
The first time I saw my daughter’s cat Gigi I thought someone had chopped off her tail. This was my first encounter with the Manx breed. In this article, I will discuss the Manx cat breed, its personality, health issues and how to care for your Manx cat.
Is your fluffball a Manx cat? Read up on how to care for your Manx Cat.
What is a Manx Cat?
The history of the Manx cat is an interesting one. The Manx breed has been around for at least two centuries; maybe three centuries. It is one of the oldest known cat breeds in the world. The cat born without tails originated on the Isle of Man, a remote island in the Irish Sea located between Great Britain and Ireland.
The original cats from the Isle of Man were shorthair. It is thought the long-hair version of the Manx is due to co-mingling of the Norwegian Forest Cats brought to the Isle by the Vikings.
The cool part is that all Manx cats are direct cat descendants from the tailless Isle of Man cats.
The first literary mention of the Manx was by the author Charles Lewis. In his book, “Turner’s Golden Vision“, published in 1910 Lewis writes about the painter Joseph Turner who at 35 years old boast about having “7 cats from the Isle of Man”. Mr. Turner was born in 1775 which means he would have been 35 years old in 1810. It is a strong possibility that some or all of his cats were Manx.
The Manx: a cat with no tail
The Manx, named after the Isle of Man became very popular in England. The cats were showcased in the very first cat shows in the late 19th centuries. According to the Cat Fanciers Association (founded in 1906), the Manx cat was one of the first cat breeds recognized by their organization.
There are many legends as to how the Manx became taillessness but the truth is that it’s due to a genetic mutation. The dominant mutant gene causes abnormal development of the coccygeal (tail) and sacral vertebrae. All Manx have one dominant mutant gene and one normal gene.
The Manx mutant gene is a lethal gene. Manx kittens that have both dominant mutant gene, usually end up dying in utero or shortly after birth. Thus, most Manx litters are small.
The same mutant lethal gene that gives the Manx its characteristic taillessness can also cause Manx Syndrome. Max Syndrome is a form of spina bifida which leads to urinary and fecal incontinence.
Is your fluffball a Manx cat? Read up on how to care for your Manx Cat.
Manx Cat Breed – Physical Characteristics
Everything about a Manx cat is round – round head, round body, round eyes, and round rump. They are low to the ground with stocky compact bodies with solid muscles. The ears form a rocker shape when viewed from behind. The hind legs or back limbs of Manx cats sits higher up than their front end.
The male Manx average size is from 10-12 pounds and the female average size is from 8-10 pounds.
The average Manx cat lifespan is 8-14 years.
The Manx coats
Their coat lengths can be either long or short-haired. Both Manx; long and short-hair cat share the same characteristics. The only difference between the two is the coat lengths. The short-haired Manx has a double coat that is thick, plush and well padded. The long-haired Manx (sometimes called Cymric) has a soft flowing coat with ruffs around the neck and ear tufts.
They come in different shades of colors such as the tabby, tortoiseshell, solid (color) and calico Manx. A Siamese-Manx mix breed is very popular. Imagine a Siamese cat with no tail!
The Manx cat signature characteristic is its lack of a tail or the presence of a stubby tail. Manx cats have varying degrees of taillessness:
- Manx Rumpy – no tail. Instead, a dimple where a tail should be.
- Manx Rumpy-risers – 1-2 vertebrae (fused) at the end of their spines
- Manx Stumpy – 3-4 vertebrae (short-tail cat breeds)
- Manx Longy – regular long tails
My daughter’s cat Gigi is a cute, short little rump-riser.
Manx Cat Personality
I’m always telling my daughter that Gigi (see Manx cat pictures featured in this post) is her “ride or die” chick. Manx cats are extremely loyal to their owners. They have a sweet personality and are very smart. You will fall in love with their sweet, trilling meow.
The Manx cat loves to snuggle and bonds well with just about anyone. They are great pets for families with small children.
Manx are very energetic and are great jumpers even though they are short. Their cute little run will remind you of a bunny hop and they can turn on a dime. They are fierce warriors who love to play fetch, pounce on toy mice and hunt the occasional random bug.
The Manx are playful little rascals that are very skilled with their paws. So, don’t be surprised if you find your Manx cat hiding in your kitchen cabinets. Be sure to store toxic household cleaners on upper shelves and install child locks on your lower cabinets. Click here for more information.
There are some health conditions that the Manx can suffer from. Some of the conditions are due to their mutant gene.
- Manx Syndrome – feline Spinal Bifida due to lack of tail/spinal cord development.
- Corneal Dystrophy – occurs when lipids and cholesterol crystals are deposited in the cornea.
- Megacolon – due to constipation and the Manx lacking the appropriate muscles (the tail) to push fecal matter out from rectum. This results in the fecal hardening and extending the colon. This problem can only be solved through surgery.
- Intertrigo – bacterial, viral or fungal infection involving the rump fold of the Manx.
- Obesity – the Manx short, stocky bodies make them predispose to obesity and diabetes.
- Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease – can cause bladder stones.
- Mast Cell Tumors – abnormal growths, lumps or bumps of the skin.
- Genetic Nerve Deafness
Manx Cat Care
Manx cats have the tendencies towards being overweight. As a Manx owner, you will need to be strict when it comes to your cat’s nutrition. Your Manx cat needs high-quality cat food that includes the essential amino acid – taurine. Taurine is key to your cat’s heart and eye health.
Make sure your Manx gets plenty of fresh water to combat any constipation issues. Cat treats should only be 5-10% of your Manx’s diet.
Is your Manx cat overweight? Try Iams Proactive Health Indoor Weight and Hairball Care.
Click here to read my article on what to feed your cat.
Despite their little stubbie legs, they like to run and play so keep your Manx cat well exercised. Consistent exercise is important in keeping your Manx at a healthy weight.
Click here to view Gigi’s favorite cat toy.
Litter Box Hygiene
Don’t get upset with your Manx cat if every once in awhile she leaves a little deposit of cat poop on your floor or carpet. The tail is very important in the feces elimination process. The tail helps in the pushing of the poop out the cat’s poop shoot. So the Manx cat being tailless gives them some difficulty with totally eliminating.
Like all cats, the Manx appreciates a clean litter box. Make sure the litter box is cleaned daily or more if you have a multiple cat household.
Manx cats have a short, double coat which makes their coats very thick. Keep them well groomed by brushing daily so that their undercoat don’t build up over time.
Provide a safe warm environment for your Manx and I recommend keeping him/her inside the house. It has been proven that inside cats live longer, healthier and safer lives than outside cats.
Make sure your Manx visits the Vet once a year with visits in between if you suspect any health issues. It’s important that your cat gets its proper immunizations and
If you have the chance to adopt or purchase a Manx cat, look forward to a lifetime of loving companionship.
Read more articles about cat life, I recommend the following:
- Guide to Buying the Best Cat Trees for Large Cats
- Traveling with Cats in Car Long Distance
- 35 Cool Things to Buy on Amazon under $25 for Cats (and Cat Lovers)