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About This Breed


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The Manx cat is an ancient breed that originated on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. The Manx taillessness is caused by a mutation that probably originated among the island’s native shorthair cat population and, because it is a dominat gene, spread to the other cats on the island. Although the original island cats were shorthairs, the longhair gene was undoubtedly introduced during the long rule of the Vikings, when the the longhaired beauties that are the ancestors of today’s Norwegian Forest Cats left the Viking ships and comingled with the native cats. The Manx cat is the working cat on the Isle of Man and, as such, has a strong constitution, great intelligence, and a personality that is active yet not hyperactive.

The Manx were one of the original show cats. They were represented in the first cat shows held in Great Britain. Their ancient legacy continues, as when CFA was founded in 1906, they were one of the founding breeds.

To the best of our knowledge, all Manx have at least one gene for a full tail. Therefore, even two cats carrying the Manx (tailless) gene can produce a full-tailed kitten. In addition, the Manx gene is an incomplete dominant, so even kittens that inherit it can show varying tail lengths, from a full tail to no tail at all. It is possible to have all tail lengths in a single litter. Only the rumpy, with no tail at all, or a rumpy riser, with only a slight rise of bone where a tail would start, is eligible for competition in the championship classes at CFA cat shows. All other tail lengths may compete in the AOV (all other varieties) class. Tailed cats are valuable in Manx breeding programs and help to keep the Manx strong and healthy. Numerous Grand Champions and Regional and National Winners have come from a tailed parent, and the first Manx DM (Distinguished Merit award for a female producing at least 5 grands or a male producing 15) was a long-tailed female.

Besides taillessness, the Manx is known for its robust and rounded appearance with great depth of flank. This breed can actually be drawn with a series of circles. It has a very round head with rounded cheeks which give it a jowly appearance, especially in the male. It has high hindquarters with the back legs much longer than the forelegs, causing the rump to be higher than the shoulders. The shortness of the back forms a continuous arch from shoulders to rump. The Manx eyes are large and rounded, set at a slight tilt towards the ear. The ears are wide at the base, tapering to a rounded tip. Medium in size, they are widely spaced and set slightly outward. The ear should resemble the rocker on a cradle.

Manx come in both longhair and shorthair varieties. Both varieties have double coats which should be very dense and plush. Shorthairs should have an outer coat which is somewhat hard and glossy, although softer coats can be seen in whites and dilutes due to a color/texture link. The longhair has a silky coat which is medium in length, with breeches, abdomen, and neck ruff being longer than the coat on the main body.

The Manx are very playful and intelligent cats who are devoted to their families. They have extremely powerful hindquarters which allow them to jump to great heights and run with rapid acceleration and quick turns. The Manx is often said to be “dog-like” both in their loyalty to their families and their love of interactive play. They have a great sense of humor and are not above playing practical jokes on their families. They get along wonderfully with children and other family pets and have been known to protect their families from real or supposed danger. If given the chance, they are still great hunters, and a house with a Manx will certainly never have to worry about rodents. Manx mothers teach their kittens to hunt early in life using whatever “prey” they have available, such as bugs, feather toys, catnip mice, and other objects. A house with a Manx will never be boring! For more information, please contact the Breed Council Secretary for this breed.