If you love cats but hate tails, there are several options available for you.
Originating from the Isle of Man, midway between Northern Ireland and, uh, Bootle, the Manx cat is famous the world over for its lack of a flexible rear appendage.
But the Manx is not the only ‘bob-tailed’ cat.
Why does a cat even need a tail?
Of course, it’s possible to dock a cat’s tail – or to adopt a rescue cat who has lost its rear aerial through violence or accident.
But the former is not advisable. It may seem, to the casual observer, that the cat’s tail is little more than a decorative afterthought. In fact, the creature uses it for communication (told you it was an aerial) and for balance. A cat with an intact tail is going to send and receive signals more clearly than a bobtail. And it’s less likely to topple over.
Some cats, such as Manxes, are born with no tail due to a genetic anomaly. Those that survive don’t tend to have communication or balance problems. But sadly, the anomaly does affect other parts of their skeleton. When two Manx cats mate, it is quite unlikely the kitten will survive the pregnancy. So usually, breeders will matchmake a Manx with a tailed cat. Still, the survivors often have spine or other medical issues as a result of their skewy DNA.
That said, a lot of people swear by the Manx and other bobtailed cats. Partly it’s because they look so neat. But it’s also due to some of the other unique characteristics these cats have.
Cat with no tail #1: The Manx
Manx cat ©Shutterstock
The iconic tailless cat has long been a mystery to visitors to the Isle of Man. Some say that many years ago the islanders cut off their cats’ tails to evade a cat tail tax from a cruel landowner. Others look back even further to Noah’s Ark. According to these nutters, the cat was late for the journey and got its appendage trapped in the closing door as it boarded.
Anyway, it’s not all bad news since whatever happened to the modern Manx’s luckless ancestors, today the creature has become somewhat dog-like in its nature. Yes, it looks like a British shorthair can have the colouring of any other domestic cat (except the Siamese). But they generally like to hang around with people, show unfeline characteristics such as loyalty and unconditional love, and even enjoy the company of dogs.
Cat with no tail #2: The American Bobtail
This yank is rarely seen in Blighty, as the apparatchiks at the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) refuse to recognize it. But speak to the right people, and you can still find one.
The bobtail is not completely without tail: the length of its rear aerial varies from cat to cat. Long Haired American bobtails have shaggy hair like their wild ancestors, and a puffball tail. Shorthaired bobbers tend to have more antennae-like tails. Both varieties may actually wag their tail to show pleasure.
It’s a medium-large cat with almond-shaped eyes. Your dealer may offer you a range of colours to choose from, including black, chocolate, cinnamon, blue, lilac, red, or cream, to make that sale. Again, the best of the American bobtails are somewhat doggish. They’re intelligent, enjoy family time, and may even play fetch.
Cat with no tail #3: The Japanese Bobtail
The Japanese bob is a rare item with a long, rich history. Paintings and literature tell of its existence for over 1,000 years. Like its American cousin, the Japanese bobber can be long haired or short. And it is tough to get your mitts on one in the UK due to those GCCF pen-pushers.
Anyway, if you are able to bring one into your home, you’ll find the Japanese bobtail is a clever, loving, and energetic beast. Naughty, too. Keep it amused with games and play, or it’ll end up climbing everywhere, leaping on your feet, and generally letting its presence be known.
Cat with no tail #4: The Highlander Cat
Highlander cat ©Shutterstock
This new breed was developed as recently as 2004. The Americans wanted a cat that looked like a wildcat. So they bred a ‘dude’ with curled ears (that look more like a novelty baked potato snack than a wildcat’s lugholes), a long, sloping forehead, big feet, and a stumpy, waggy tail.
While it is quite friendly, we don’t advise you to leave this pocket tiger alone with your hamster.
So ends the tail
A cat doesn’t need a tail to be complete. After all, humans lose their own tails in the womb. But if you choose to bring a tailless or bobtail cat into your life, make sure to get one from an approved breeder who treats their critters with respect – rather than playing ‘chef’ with genetics!