Manx



Manx
The Manx cat is believed to have originated hundreds of years ago on the Isle of Man, off the coast of England. Since many trade ships docked on the Isle, and all had ship cats, it is hard to tell just what the parent cat really was. Obviously, both longhair and shorthair were represented in the original mutation. Many longhairs were seen on the Isle along with the shorthairs.

The tailless Manx Cat has become somewhat rare. The cats are of two kinds, the entirely tailless ones being known as rumpies, the others as stumpies. In each case the hind legs are longer than those of tailed cats, and the action in running and walking is also different, the run suggesting a hop. Tailless cats are fairly common in China and Japan but in Europe are found mainly in the Isle of Man. Spain and Portugal can however boast a few. They were probably introduced to the Island from a foriegn vessel ship wrecked along the Manx coastline.

Though the tail-less cat is what most people will think of whenever a Manx is mentioned there are, in fact, at least four different types of tail - or lack of it! Rumpy is a cat with a total absence of tail

Rumpy Riser is a Rumpy which has a 'rise' of a coccyx - the hinge where the tail is attached to the spine.

Stumpy has a coccyx and just a few tail vertebrae giving a stump.

Tailed, which describes those which have a normal (long) tail.

According to different Manx breeders there can even be more tail types! There's a 'Long Riser' or a 'Short Stumpy' which falls somewhere between the Rumpy Riser and the Stumpy (having maybe only 1 or 2 tail vertebrae), a 'Long Stumpy' (a bit longer than a regular Stumpy!) and there is even a 'Longie' which is much longer than a Stumpy but shorter than a full tail.

The Manx is fairly square in appearance, short bodied with the rounded rump higher than the head, medium sized and looking muscular and workmanlike.the coat is short and double coated, the undercoat being very thick with longer guard haris. The quality of the coat is of greater importance than colour. All colours are allowed by the GCCF excepting Himalayan (Siamese) coat pattern.

Distinguished by long hindlegs and no tail. Expression of taillessness varies from rumpies (tailless), bumpies/rumpy-risers (vestigial tail), stumpies (short tail) and longies. Gene is semi-lethal (kittens inheriting 2 copies of gene die before birth) and linked to other abnormalities e.g. high incidence of spina-bifida. In spite of harmful effects, the gene was perpetuated naturally because the cats were an island population isolated from natural outcrosses.

History

One of the oldest natural breeds of cats, the Manx is native to the Isle of Man, an island in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland. According to a biblically inspired Celtic folktale, the Manx cat was the last of God's creatures to climb aboard the ark, barely making it before Noah slammed the door shut. A variation portrays Noah's dog as the culprit responsible for the loss of the cat's tail. In exasperation, the tail-less cat fled the ark and swam from Ararat to the Isle of Man, where it found a home.

Another tale claims that the Irish, or alternatively the Vikings, stole kittens to use their tails as good luck charms. In order to save their kittens, wise mother cats bit off the tails of their young, thus producing the tailless cat. But how did the Manx really lose its tail? Geneticists have determined that the lack of a tail occurred as the result of a spontaneous mutation. The breed was easily established due to the genetic nature of the tailless trait and centuries of inbreeding in an isolated island environment.

The Manx has existed for many centuries on the Isle of Man, located in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland. Since the Isle did not have an indigenous feline species from which the Manx could develop, it is surmised that domestic cats were introduced by human settlers and explorers. Exactly who and when is uncertain.

One story has it that the cats were aboard a ship of the Spanish Armada that was wrecked on the Isle of Man in 1588. The resourceful cats supposedly swam ashore at Spanish Point and set up mousekeeping on the Isle. Another story claims that the Manx was introduced by Phoenician traders who transported the cats from Japan. Still another says that cats arrived with the Viking settlers who colonized the Isle of Man.

Besides taillessness, the Manx is known for its robust and rounded appearance. This breed can actually be drawn with a series of circles! It has a very round head and rounded cheeks which give it a jowly appearance; even more so in the male cat than in the female. It is high in the hind quarters with the back legs much longer than the forelegs, thus causing the rump to be higher than the shoulders. The shortness of back forms a continuous arch from shoulders to rump. The eyes are rounded but set at a slight tilt toward the ear. The Manx should have a sweet expression.

Regardless of how cats got on the Isle, they presumably arrived with their tails intact. Geneticists believe that the Manx's taillessness is the result of a spontaneous mutation within the Isle's domestic cat population. Genetically, the Manx and other short-tailed domestic felines are quite different. The Manx's tail, or lack thereof, is governed by a dominant gene along with modifying polygenes, while most other short-tailed breeds, such as the Japanese Bobtail, are governed by recessive genes. Given the Isle's closed environment and small gene pool, the dominant gene easily passed from one generation to the next.

Inhabitants of the Isle, unaware of or unimpressed by boring scientific theory, invented more interesting tales to account for the Manx's lack. One contends that the Manx is an unlikely cross between a cat and a rabbit. Another claims that Irish invaders stole the cats' tails to use for their helmet plumes. A third says two Manx cats were passengers on Noah's Ark, but as they were the last to board Noah slammed the door on their tails!

The modern history of the Manx is better documented, if more mundane. The Manx was a well-established and popular breed before the earliest days of the cat fancy, supported by an enthusiastic group of Manx owners. King Edward VIII was reportedly a Manx fancier and often attended cat shows featuring the breed. British fanciers formed the first Manx club in 1901. The Manx made its journey to America at least 100 years ago (probably longer), and Manx cats are noted in early American cat registry records.

Manx cats were at first exported from the Isle of Man but, as the demand grew, the supply waned. Fanciers had to rely on British and American sources for their cats and, since Manx cats are difficult to breed, demand exceeded supply. Today, show-quality Manx cats are in great demand because of their rarity, but pet quality can be obtained quite easily.

The Manx has existed for many centuries on the Isle of Man, a small island located in the Irish Sea midway between Liverpool, England, and Belfast, Ireland. Since the Isle had no indigenous feline species from which the Manx could develop, domestic cats must have been introduced by human settlers and explorers, but who and when is not known. Some believe that the Manx is descended from British shorthairs, which is likely given the proximity of Britain to the Isle. Many trading vessels stopped at the Isle, however, so the Manx's ancestors could have come from another part of the world.

Geneticists believe that the Manx's lack of a tail is the result of a spontaneous natural mutation that occurred within the Isle's domestic cat population. Given the Isle's closed environment and small gene pool, the dominant gene that governs the Manx's lack of tail easily passed from generation to generation. But no one knows for sure when this happened, or even if the mutation occurred on the island itself.

What we do have are myths and legends to account for the Manx's lack. According to one such tale, the Manx is a cross between a cat and a rabbit (for the record, that's biologically impossible). Another story claims that Irish invaders stole the cats' tails to use for their helmet plumes, and forever after the cats nipped off the tails of their kittens to protect them from the thieves. A third says two cats were passengers on Noah's ark, but as they were late in boarding, Noah slammed the door on their tails.

Records have been found on the Isle of Man that describe the cat as a mutation of the island's domestic cats. It is believed that the island cats were involved, however, did some of the island cats come off the ships? We will never really know.

CFA has recognized the Manx as a breed for many years. The oldest stud book on hand, Vol. #19, list Manx as one of the breeds that CFA recognized back in the 1920s.

Since the Manx (or tailless) gene is dominant, kittens that inherit it can have a full tail, a short tail, a rise (known as a "rumpy riser"), or no tail ("rumpies") at all. Breeders have found that it is possible to have all these tail lengths in one litter! Only the rumpy or the rumpy riser are eligible for competition in the championship category at CFA shows. All other tail lengths are eligible for the AOV (any other variety) Class. Many of today's top breeding females are those that had a long tail when born. Numerous Grand Champions have come from a tailed cat, either male or female. The introduction of a tailed Manx into a breeding program provides a necessary sturdiness.

Appearance

The Manx is the only breed of truly tailless cat. The overall impression of the Manx is that of roundness, enhanced by the lack of tail. From the round head and prominent cheeks to the round rump and rounded, muscular thighs, the Manx is a sturdy, solid, roly-poly cat. The chest is broad, the front legs short and substantial, and the back short and arching from shoulders to rump. The hind legs are much longer than the forelegs, causing the rump to be considerably higher than the shoulders. Male Manx usually weigh 10 to 12 pounds and females usually weigh eight to 10.

The coat is glossy, short and dense, and possesses a cottony undercoat that gives the Manx a well-padded appearance. The Cymric (KIM-rick), the longhaired version of the Manx, is identical to the Manx in every way except hair length. The Cat Fanciers' Association considers the longhaired Manx to be a division of the Manx breed, but most other associations consider it a breed in its own right.

The Manx is a solidly built, medium-size, cobby cat with a round head, widely spaced ears, and large, round eyes. The powerful hind legs are longer than the front legs, so the short back arches upward to the rounded rump. A completely tail-less Manx is called a "rumpy"; the "rumpy riser" appears to be tail-less but has one to three vertebrae fused to the end of the spine; the "stumpy" has one to five normal vertebrae, which give the cat a short, moveable tail stump; the "longy" is a cat with a shorter-than-normal tail, but a tail nonetheless. The Manx coat is very thick and glossy, with a dense undercoat. Many colors and patterns are accepted, including tabby, solid, bicolor, shaded, tortoiseshell, and calico. The Manx's dense coat needs to be combed two or three times a week to remove loose fur.

There are two types of Manx coats, shorthair and longhair (formerly Cymric). The coat length is the only difference between the longhair and shorthair Manx. The shorthair has a double coat, the outer guardhairs are somewhat hard, appearance is glossy. A softer coat may occur in whites and dilutes due to color texture gene link. The longhair has a silky texture to its coat. The coat will be of medium length, with breeches, abdomen and neck ruff being longer than the coat on the main body. The silky texture is soft, and falls smoothly on the body yet being full and plush due to the double coat.

The "Manx gene" produces a variety of tail lengths. Tail types are broken into four classifications: rumpy, rumpy-riser, stumpy, and longy. Rumpies are highly prized by show enthusiasts, since this is the type favored in the show ring. They are completely tailless, and often have a dimple at the base of the spine where the tail would normally begin. Rumpy-risers have a short knob of tail that consists of one to three vertebrae connected to the last bone of the spine. Risers can be shown if the vertical rise of the tail doesn't stop the judge's hand when the cat is stroked. Stumpies have a short tail stump that is often curved or kinked; stumpies are usually pet quality. Longies have tails that are almost as long as an average cat's. Many breeders dock the tails of these pet-quality kittens to make them easier to place and also to avoid a manifestation of the Manx gene, which causes the tail vertebrae to ossify in later years, causing great pain.

Personality

The Manx may be short of tail, but it's long on personality. Fans say Manx get their feelings across very well without a tail to swish. Intelligent, even-tempered and adaptable, Manx cats form strong bonds of love and trust with their chosen humans. While they usually choose one special person, they get along well with all family members, including children, other cats and even dogs. Manx adapt well to most situations. They are playful, too, and enjoy a good game of fetch. Manx are fascinated by water - possibly from all those years surrounded by it on the Isle of Man. Manx are exceptional jumpers because of their powerful back legs, and no cupboard or shelf is safe from the curiosity of the Manx. If given the opportunity, Manx become good mousers.

The Manx's personality is probably the reason the breed has won such a strong following despite the physical difficulties and breeding challenges. Manx cats make great household companions. They are intelligent, active, and fun-loving cats that manage to express themselves very well without tails to swish around. Manx get along well with other pets (particularly dogs), and form strong bonds with their chosen humans. They enjoy a good game of fetch and are fascinated by water-but only on their terms, of course. Manx are exceptional jumpers because of their powerful back legs. No cupboard or shelf is safe with a Manx around.

The Manx is known for its unusual rabbitlike gait, known as the "Manx hop." While some breeders and fanciers consider the walk to be a result of skeletal abnormalities related to the Manx gene, others consider it merely a result of the short back and the long hind legs as noted in the Manx standard.

The tail-less Manx is a friendly, affectionate, relaxed companion--an easy feline to share a home with. According to some sources the Manx is somewhat doglike in its habits; it will play "fetch," growl at an unidentified disturbance, and may follow its owner around. These cats are also known for their love of shiny objects--keep an eye on your jewelry! Manx cats like to snooze in laps and high places. Children, dogs, and other cats are taken in stride.

The Manx is a very playful cat as a rule. They can jump higher than anyone could imagine, and it is not unusual to find them perching on the highest point in any room. They have extremely powerful hind quarters. It has been stated by one Manx owner that "Manx are the feline sport cars of the car world with their acceleration and quick turns." Manx exhibit many dog-like characteristics such as retrieving and burying their toys. They will either be known as a "one person cat" or the "family cat." However, once they bond with someone, it is difficult for many Manx to be happy in a different home. On the other hand, there are those Manx that readily accept attention from any human source!

Conformation

The Manx is one of the most challenging cats to breed because of the Manx gene. Homozygous Manx kittens (kittens that inherit the Manx gene from both parents) die in vivo early in their development. Since homozygous kittens comprise roughly one quarter of kittens conceived from Manx to Manx matings, Manx litters are generally small, averaging two, three, or four kittens. Even the heterozygous kittens (kittens that inherit the Manx gene from one parent) have a higher than average mortality rate, because the Manx gene can cause deformities such as spina bifida, fusions of the spine, and defects of the colon. Because of the possible physical problems, the Manx standard calls for disqualification of any cat with congenital deformities. Careful breeding can help eliminate or minimize the defects.

Since all Manx cats possess only one copy of the Manx gene, and since heterozygous cats cannot breed true, Manx cats come in a wide variety of tail lengths. The tail types are broken into four classifications: rumpy, rumpy-riser, stumpy, and longy.

Rumpies compete in the championship show ring and are highly prized by fanciers. They are completely tailless and often have a dimple at the base of the spine where the tail would be if it were present. Rumpy-risers have a short knob of tail that consists of one to three vertebrae connected to the last bone of the spine, and are allowable in the show ring as long as the vertical rise of the bones does not stop the judge's hand when stroked down the cat's rump (judges are allowed to examine a cat's tail with the palm of the hand only).

Stumpies have a short tail stump that is often curved or kinked. In the CFA, Manx cats with a definite, visible tail joint are transferred to the Any Other Variety class.

Longies have tails that are almost as long as an average cat's. Many breeders dock the tails of these pet-quality kittens to make finding homes for them easier, although not all fanciers approve of this practice.

Since the Manx gene is dominant, all Manx cats that possess the Manx gene will have one of the four types of tail. With all these variables, show-quality Manx cats are hard to come by. Even a Manx with a perfect tail is not necessarily a show cat. It must also have the proper body and head type, legs, ear set, and coat quality.

GeneralThe overall impression of the Manx cat is that of roundness; round head with firm, round muzzle and prominent cheeks; broad chest; substantial short front legs; short back which arches from shoulders to a round rump; great depth of flank and rounded, muscular thighs. The Manx should be alert, clear of eye, with a glistening, clean, well-groomed coat. They should be surprisingly heavy when lifted. Manx may be slow to mature and allowance should be made in young cats.
BodySolidly muscled, compact and well-balanced, medium in size with sturdy bone structure. The Manx is stout in appearance with broad chest and well-sprung ribs. The constant repetition of curves and circles give the Manx the appearance of great substance and durability, a cat that is powerful without the slightest hint of coarseness. Males may be slightly larger than females.
Flank (fleshy area of the side between the ribs and hip) has greater depth than in other breeds, causing considerable depth to the body when viewed from the side.
The short back forms a smooth, continuous arch from shoulders to rump, curving at the rump to form the desirable round look. Length of back is in proportion to the entire cat, height of hindquarters equal to length of body. Males may be somewhat longer. Because the Longhair Manx has longer coat over the rump area and breeches, the body may appear longer.
Head and EarsRound head with prominent cheeks and a jowly appearance (more evident in adult males) that enhances the round appearance of the breed. In profile, head is medium in length with a gentle dip from forehead to nose. Well developed muzzle, very slightly longer than it is broad, with a strong chin. Definite whisker break with large, round whisker pads. Short, thick neck. Ears wide at the base, tapering gradually to a rounded tip. Medium in size in proportion to the head, widely spaced and set slightly outward. When viewed from behind, the ear set resembles the rocker on a cradle. The furnishings of the ears are sparse in Shorthair Manx and full furnishings for Longhair Manx.
EyesLarge, round and full. Set at a slight angle toward the nose (outer corners slightly higher than inner corners). Ideal eye color conforms to requirements of coat color.  
TaillessnessA+ppearing to be absolute in the perfect specimen. A rise of bone at the end of the spine is allowed and should not be penalized unless it is such that it stops the judge's hand, thereby spoiling the tailless appearance of the cat. The rump is extremely broad and round.
Legs and FeetHeavily boned, forelegs short and set well apart to emphasize the broad, deep chest. Hind legs much longer than forelegs, with heavy, muscular thighs and substantial lower legs. Longer hind legs cause the rump to be considerably higher than the shoulders. Hind legs are straight when viewed from behind. Paws are neat and round with five toes in front and four behind.
Coat *The double coat is short and dense with well-padded quality due to longer, open outer coat and close cottony undercoat; texture of guard hairs somewhat hard; appearance is glossy; a softer coat may occur in whites and dilute colors.
ColorAny color except those indicating hybridization resulting in the colors chocolate, lavender, the Himalayan pattern, or these combinations with white.
Manx colors and tabby patterns are recognized as described under colors. Color/patterns showing evidence of hybridization (chocolate/lavender/ ticked tabby/pointed or these combinations with white) are not allowed. Cats with no more white than a locket and/or button(s) do not qualify for the bi-color or OMC Class. Such cats shall be judged in the color class of their basic color with no penalty for such locket or button(s).
Penalize **On the Longhair Manx, coat that lacks density, has a cottony texture or is of one overall length.
DisqulifyEvidence of poor physical condition; incorrect number of toes; evidence of hybridization; evidence of weakness in the hindquarters; in profile, pronounced stop or nose break.
Allowable OutcrossersNone

*
COAT LENGTH - Shorthair: double coat is short and dense with a well-padded quality due to the longer, open outer coat and the close cottony undercoat. Coat may be thinner during the summer months.

COAT TEXTURE - Shorthair: texture of outer guard hairs is somewhat hard, appearance is glossy. A softer coat may occur in whites and dilutes due to color/texture gene link but should not be confused with the silky texture found in the Longhair Manx.

COAT LENGTH - Longhair: the double coat is of medium length, dense and well padded over the main body, gradually lengthening from the shoulders to the rump. Breeches, abdomen and neck-ruff is usually longer than the coat on the main body. Cheek coat is thick and full. The collar like neck-ruff extends from the shoulders, being bib-like around the chest. Breeches should be full and thick to the hocks in the mature cat. Lower leg and head coat (except for cheeks) should be shorter than on the main body and neck-ruff, but dense and full in appearance. Toe tufts and ear tufts are desirable. All things being equal in type, preference should be given to the cat showing full coating.

COAT TEXTURE - LONGHAIR: coat is soft and silky, falling smoothly on the body yet being full and plush due to the double coat. Coat should have a healthy glossy appearance. Allowance to be made for seasonal and age variations.

**
TRANSFER TO AOV - definite, visible tail joint.