The Manx (Manx: Kayt Manninagh or Stubbin) is a breed of cat with a naturally occurring mutation of the spine. This mutation
shortens the tail, resulting in a range of tail lengths from normal to tail-less. Many Manx have a small "stub" of a tail, but Manx
cats are best known as being entirely tail-less; this is the distinguishing characteristic of the breed and a cat body type genetic
mutation. The Manx are said to be skilled hunters, known to take down larger prey even when they are young. They are often
sought by farmers with rodent problems.
The Manx breed originated before the 1700s on the Isle of Man (hence the
name), where they are common. They are called stubbin in the Manx
language. Tail-less cats were common on the island as long as three hundred
years ago. The tail-lessness arises from a genetic mutation that became
common on the island (an example of the founder effect).
Folk beliefs claim the Manx cats came from the Spanish Armada; a ship
foundered on Spanish Rock on the coast of the Isle of Man. According to
legend, the cats on the ship swam ashore and became an established breed. Legend has it that the cats originally went
onboard the Spanish ship in the Far East.
The Manx tail-less gene is dominant; kittens from Manx parents are generally born without any tail. Having two copies of the
gene is semi-lethal and kittens are usually spontaneously aborted before birth. This means that tail-less cats can carry only
one copy of the gene. Because of the danger of having two copies of the tail-less gene, breeders have to be careful about
breeding two tail-less Manxes together. Problems can be avoided by breeding tail-less cats with tailed ones and this breeding
practice is responsible for the decreasing occurrence of spinal problems in recent years.
There are various legends that seek to explain why the Manx has no tail. In one of them, Noah closed the door of the ark when
it began to rain and accidentally cut off the tail of the Manx cat who'd been playing and almost got left behind. Another
legend claims that the Manx is the offspring of a cat and a rabbit, explaining why it has no tail and rather long hind legs. In
addition, Manx cats move with more of a hop than a stride, like a rabbit.
The hind legs of a Manx are longer than the front legs, creating a continuous arch from shoulders to rump giving the cat a
rounded appearance. Ears are smaller than most cat breeds and Manx can come in any color, including Tortoise-shell, Tabby,
Calico, and all solid coat colors. Heads are round in shape, and often very expressive, with cute eyes and small nose.
Manx kittens are classified according to tail length:
- Dimple rumpy or rumpy - no tail whatsoever
- Riser or rumpy riser - stub of cartilage or several vertebrae under the fur, most noticeable when kitten is happy and raising its 'tail'
- Stumpy - partial tail, more than a 'riser' but less than 'tailed' (in rare cases kittens are born with kinked tails because of incomplete growth of the tail during development)
- Tailed or longy - complete or near complete tail
- Stubby - half tail, or short tail.
Tail length is random throughout a litter.
Manx cats exhibit two coat lengths. The short-haired Manx has a double coat with a thick, short under-layer and a longer,
coarse outer-layer with guard hairs. The long-haired Manx, known to some cat registries as the Cymric, has a silky-textured
double coat of medium length, with britches, belly and neck ruff, tufts of fur between the toes and full ear furnishings. Shortor
long-haired, all Manx have a thick double-layered coat.
"Manx Syndrome" is a colloquial name given to the condition which results when the mutant tailless gene shortens the spine
too much. It can seriously damage the spinal cord and the nerves causing spina bifida as well as problems with the bowels,
bladder, and digestion.
The Manx breed, in spite of the absence of tail, has no problems with balance, mostly because of its long legs and round