Manx Cats

What are Manx Cats?

The Manx, a breed of cat having a naturally occurring mutation of the spine. The mutation shortens the tail, the result is a range of tail lengths from normal to no tail. Quite a number of Manx have a small 'stub' of a tail.

A Manx is best known as being entirely without a tail and that is the distinguishing characteristic of this breed of cat and the cat body type genetic mutation. The Manx Cat has the reputation of being a skilled hunters and have been known to take down bigger prey when they are quite young. Farmers seek this breed of cat to help with rodent problems.


The Manx breed is said to have originated before the 1700s on the Isle of Man (hence the name), where they are common. They are called stubbin in the Manx language. They are an old breed of cat.

Cats without tails were common on the island as long as two or three hundred years ago. The taillessness arises from a genetic mutation that became common on the island.

Cultural References

The Isle of Man has adopted the Manx cat as a symbol of its native origins. On the Isle of Man, this cat appears on the 1988 "cat" crown coin and on postage stamps.

Mythology and Folklore of the Manx

Folk beliefs claim these cats came from the Spanish Armada; a ship foundered on the cliffs at Spanish Head on the coast of the Isle of Man. As the legend goes, 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.

Nmerous stories of the origin of the Manx cat are found in cat and mythology books. In many of these tales the Manx are descended from ship's cats who were shipwrecked on the Isle of Man when their ships were sunk off the coast. A commonly told story is the legend from the early 1600s of two ships from the Spanish Armada that were sunk off Spanish Point near Port Erin.

The Isle of Man was the refuge for the tailless cats from these two ships. Another legend has it that the cat came from a ship wrecked in 1806 off Jurby Point, while another says it was a Baltic ship wrecked off Castle Rushen and Calf Island.

Early stories considered the Annamite cats to be the beginning of the Manx as these cats have short tails. They were introduced into Burma. Other beliefs felt the Manx may be descended from Siam and Malaya. The Malaya Archipelago cats have kinked, knotted and short tails.

The Welsh populace also lay claim to the Manx in their legends. The people considered them sacred animals in earlier times. The truth is that short-tailed and tailless cat are seen worldwide, results of a genetic mutation.

Japanese Bobtails have short kinked tails and a body less stocky than the Manx. Other breeds of cats occasionally produce a kitten with a missing tail. The Manx is the only cat that is bred to have no tail.

According to the Cat Fanciers Association, Manx cats, those white in color, are extremely rare. It has been reported in some cases, a white Manx may be worth well over $4,000. These cats generally like warmer climates without snow.


The hind legs of the Manx cat 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 large, round eyes and small nose.

Tail length

Manx kittens are classified according to tail length:

  • Dimple rumpy or rumpy - no tail at all.
  • 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.
  • Tail length can be random throughout a litter.

An ideal show Manx is the rumpy and the stumpy (No tails or Stubbed tails). A Tailed and "Stubbie" Manx do not qualify to be shown, unless shown in an AOV (Any Other Variety) Class.


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.

The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) considers the Cymric to be a variety of Manx and judges it in the short-hair division, while The International Cat Association (TICA) judges it in the long-hair division. Short or long-haired, they all have a thick double-layered coat.


Present day Manxs are much healthier and have fewer health issues related to their genetics than the Manx of years ago. This is due in part to the careful selection of breeding stock and knowledgeable, dedicated breeders. Manx have been known to live into their mid to high-teens and are no less healthy than other cat breeds.

Manx cats cease to be kittens after one year but it takes up to five years for any Manx cat to be fully grown.

Like other cats, keeping Manx cats indoors, neutering or spaying and providing acceptable surfaces for the cat's normal scratching behavior are vital to lengthen the life of any cat. This breed of cat is medium sized with an average weight of 12 pounds.

The Manx breed, in spite of the absence of tail, has no problems with balance, mostly because of its long legs and round features.


The Manx breed is a highly intelligent breed of cat. This cat is playful and in its behaviour, bizarre but very reminiscent of dogs; as an example, some Manx cats will fetch small objects that are thrown.

t is considered a social feline and the breed loves humans. This attribute makes them an ideal breed for families with young children and people who prefer a companion.

Some members of this breed tend to like water, many times even playing with it. This trait makes it very easy to give some Manx cats a shower for hygiene purposes, unlike most other cats. Although not as trainable as dogs, a Manx can learn simple commands.

Other cat breeds that share similar personality traits are Bengal and Ocicat. If there are multiple Manx cats in a household, an owner might notice that they chase each other frequently.

This is common behaviour for Manx cats; they like to chase anything, be it an animal or leaf caught in the wind. Their 'meow' often resembles a long, monotone grunt or rapid chirping. However, these cats are usually very quiet.

“When Mother Nature saw fit to remove the tail of the Manx, she left, in place of the tail, more cat.”

-- Mary E. Stewart

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