PetMD Editorial
By PetMD Editorial
Published: November 9, 2009

Best-known for its lack of tail, the Manx is native to the Isle of Man, located between England and Ireland. This round, cuddly breed is also fun-loving and friendly, should there be any other household pets.

Physical Characteristics

Though plump and round, the Manx has a compact body with solid muscles. The most striking feature of the cat is its small "stub" of a tail, which is classified into four varieties: rumpy, rumpy-riser, stumpy, and longy. Rumpy tops the popularity charts and is in great demand in show rings: these have no tail, with just a dimple present in its place. Stumpy has a short curved tail while longies -- the least popular -- possess a normal tail.

There are also two types of Manx coats: shorthair and longhair (formerly Cymric). The shorthair’s double coat is glossy and padded, while the longhair has a silky and plush double coat. There are many different types of accepted color and varieties, including white, black, brown spotted, silver tabby, and black tipped.

Curiously, the Manx has a rabbit-like gait, appearing to hop around rather than walk.

Personality and Temperament

This fun-loving cat is a great companion. It adjusts easily, bonds well with other household pets (especially dogs), and enjoys playing fetch and leaping on high shelves, but will still find time to curl up with you for some snuggling.

History and Background

The Manx has a long history and has lived on the Isle of Man -- which lies in the Irish Sea, between England and Ireland -- for centuries. There are several tales of how they first arrived on the island.

According to one story, the cat was traveling with the Spanish Armada when it was wrecked on the Isle of Man in 1588. The cats swam to the island and made it their home. Another story is that they were brought to the Isle by Phoenician traders, who arrived from Japan. Others claim that the cat was introduced to the island by Viking settlers who colonized it.

Inhabitants of the isle also have many fanciful tales to account for its lack of tail, which is most often attributed to a spontaneous genetic mutation that occurred many centuries ago. According to one story, the Manx was a result of a cross between a cat and a rabbit. Another imaginative tale narrates how Irish invaders stole the cat’s tail to make plumes for their helmets. Yet another interesting story suggests that the Manx was brought to Noah’s Ark but since time was short and as they were the last passengers to climb aboard, Noah slammed the door on their tails.

According to early American registry records, the first Manx cats were imported from the Isle of Man over a century ago, but as demand for the breed grew, breeders began to rely on Britain and France for new imports. 

Though it is still considered a rare cat, the Manx has Championship status in all associations.

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