Other names: Isle of Man cat, Manks, Rumpy, Stubbin
Manx are a rare and unique breed as they have no tail! Their lack of a tail results from a genetic mutation possibly caused by the high rate of feline inbreeding on the small Isle of Man, its place of origin, a few hundred years ago. The mutated gene shortens their tails to varying degrees depending on the individual. This means that while most Manx have no tail, some do still have one. Whether you consider them little miracles, or genetic outliers, Manx always get people talking about them, but we bet that’s mostly down to their adorable nature.
Key facts about the Manx
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Origins and history
The Isle of Man is a small island located between Ireland and England. The first cats arrived there by boat very early on in the island’s history. 200 or 300 years ago, a mutation occurred in the genome of a Manx cat. Given the isolation of the island and the dominant nature of the gene, the mutation quickly spread from generation to generation without human intervention. Manx are therefore a purely natural breed.
When breeders wanted to control the breed and its characteristics, it was mainly to preserve this unique cat, but also to limit the collateral consequences of the mutation. Despised by some, adored by others, this breed is rare in Europe today.
Physical characteristics of the Manx
Female : Between 12 and 14 in
Male : Between 12 and 14 in
It takes up to 5 years for the Manx to reach their adult size.
Female : Between 7 and 11 lb
Male : Between 9 and 11 lb
Black / seal, blue / grey-slate, chocolate, lilac / lilac, cinnamon / cinnamon, fawn / fawn, red, white, tortoiseshell
In a nutshell, Manx come in many colours. However, white is the most rare.
Type of coat
Manx are totally round and have Cobby body types. Their heads are round, with round cheeks and big round, barely angled eyes. They have short backs, which curve from their shoulders to their rumps. Their strong hind legs are longer than their front legs, and their roundness is further accentuated by their lack of a tail.
This is the case at least, for the most desirable type of Manx. The different cat associations divide the breed into 4 or 5 subgroups according to the length of their tails. According to the LOOF (the French Cat Federation), the 4 subgroups are:
- The Rumpy: No caudal nor sacral vertebrae and thus the Rumpy has no tail at all! There is a small groove where a tail would normally be found.
- The Riser (or Rumpy-Riser): 1 to 3 sacral vertebrae and a small "bump" of cartilage where the tail normally is normally found.
- The Stumpy: 1 to 3 caudal vertebrae which give the Stumpy a short tail.
- The Longy: long, sometimes even totally normal tail.
Good to know
Due to their lack of a tail, these cats require special attention when handling. Since terminal caudal nerve endings are always present, pushing, or pressing on the point where the tail should be can cause the cat pain. Similarly, you must support their hind legs when lifting a Manx to avoid tension in their spine. However, this skilful jumper will always remain balanced as their tails (or lack of) does not influence this.
They are extremely kind and loving in nature.
Manx are excellent hunters, so it's no wonder they love to play! Manx adore daily play sessions where they can show off their talents.
Despite their playful nature, Manx are very adaptable and know how to relax and be calm.
Manx are very intelligent, and it is said that they can learn tricks almost effortlessly ... such as opening doors and switching on taps.
Fearful / wary of strangers
Generally it takes a Manx a little more time before fully trusting a newcomer. To start with, respect and understanding are required.
They prefer to be in the company of humans, or even of other 4-legged friends, rather than to be left on their own.
Behaviour of the Manx
Manx rarely meow, and generally prefer to coo.
Need for exercise / Sporty
Their powerful hind legs and bunny-esque physiques make them prodigious jumpers and capable of rapid acceleration. They will not hesitate to show off these talents.
Tendency to run away
In general, they’re too attached to their humans to run away, but there are always exceptions.
Greedy / Gluttony
These cats have big appetites and are quite greedy which means they gain weight easily!
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Manx and cats
These tailless cats are sociable and if left the time and opportunity, are able to get on with other cats.
Manx and dogs
Introduced to each other correctly, a beautiful relationship can be born between Manx and dogs.
Manx and children
With a little supervision, these big, whiskered teddy bears can be very patient with children.
Manx and the elderly
By ensuring that they have enough exercise time, Manx can be perfect companion for an elderly person, especially when the latter gives them lots of attention.
Depending on their gender, lineage, type, age, etc., it can cost approximately £100 to buy a Manx. A budget of about £25 / month is needed to provide necessary care for this cat.
Regular brushing is usually sufficient. During periods of moulting, it may be necessary to brush them a little more often to remove the dead hair.
Despite their thick coat and dense undercoats, they only lose a reasonably manageable amount of hair.
Nutrition of the Manx
Special attention should be paid to their diets, to prevent them from gaining too much weight. We would recommend feeding Manx with high quality wet or dry food in interactive bowls.
Health of the Manx
After taking a long time to mature and grow, Manx also generally live long lives, reaching fifteen years of age on average.
Strong / robust
This "tailless cat" is generally very robust, even if you may think otherwise!
Tendency to put on weight
This cat has a genetic predisposition to being overweight.
- Manx Syndrome: when the mutated gene shortens the spine too much, severe abnormalities appear in the spine and spinal cord, such as spina bifida, but also in the bladder, intestines and hind legs ... Manx that suffer from this disease have significantly shortened life expectancies (5 years max).
- Megacolon: With this disease, the colon is no longer able to contract to eliminate stool, and therefore the cat loses the ability to defecate. It can be part of Manx Syndrome.
- Intertrigo: infection in the folds of the skin
- Corneal dystrophy: malformation of the eye
Manx may also develop the same illnesses found in other non pedigree cats. Also, they can be particularly prone to periodontal disease (gingivitis and tartar). Dental care is highly recommended.
The Manx gene (M), is a dominant gene, and thus expresses itself as soon as it is present. However, all tailless cats have only one mutated gene, with their other allele coding for a full length tail (m). Thus they are [Mm]. When the mutated gene is completely absent [mm], their tail is simply normal. On the other hand, an [MM] kitten will have so many changes to their spine and spinal cord that they will not survive. The gene is therefore lethal, which makes raising the breed rather difficult.
When breeding Manx cats, it is important to never to couple two completely tailless cats, because the risk of having kittens with Manx Syndrome is very high (30% risk). In general, we prefer to couple a Rumpy with a Stumpy or a Longy.