The Manx (kayt Manninagh or stubbin in Manx Gaelic) is a breed of breeds with a naturally occurring Mutation of the Spine (anatomy). This mutation shortens the tail, resulting in a range of tail lengths from normal to tailless. Many Manx have a small 'stub' of a Tail, but Manx cats are best known as being entirely tailless and is the distinguishing characteristic of the breed and a breed.


The Manx breed originated on the Manx (hence the name), where they are common. They are called in the Manx language. They are an old breed, and 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). The Manx tail-less gene is dominant and highly penetrant; kittens from Manx parents are generally born without any tail. Having two copies of the gene is 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 Noah when it began to rain and accidentally cut off the Manx's tail, who'd been playing and almost got left behind. Another legend claims that the Manx is the Offspring of a cat and a Rabbit which is why it has no tail and rather long hind legs. In addition, they move with more of a hop than a stride, like a rabbit. This legend was further reinforced by the Cabbit myth. Recent postcards on the Manx depict a cartoon scene of a cat's tail being run over and removed by a motorbike, because Manx.


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.

Tail lengthRectify

Manx Beatrice very young

A week old female Manx Kitten. Note the stumpy tail.

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

-Tail length is random throughout litter.

The ideal show Manx is the rumpy; the stumpy and tailed Manx do not qualify to be shown. In the past, kittens with stumpy or full tails have been Docking (animals) at birth as a preventative measure due to some partial tails being very prone to a form of Arthritis that causes the cat severe pain. Most pedigreed cats are not placed until four months of age (to make sure that they are properly socialised) and this gives adequate time for any health problems to be identified. Renowned feline expert Roger Tabor has stated that "Only the fact that the Manx is a historic breed stops us being as critical of this dangerous gene as of other more recent selected abnormalities.".

Manx Beatrice

A stumpy white female Manx kitten. Note the long hind legs.

Common unknown factsRectify

  • The Manx breed, in spite of the absence of tail, has no problems with balance.
  • The Isle of Man has adopted the Manx cat as a symbol of its native origins. On the Isle of Man, Manx cats appear on the 1988 "cat" crown [1] and stamps.
  • Even though Manx cats cease to be kittens after one year, it takes up to five years for any Manx cat to be fully grown.
  • The Manx was developed before the 1700s.
  • The breed is of medium size with an average weight of 5.5 kg (12 Pound (mass)).
  • The Manx are said to be skilled hunters, known to take down larger prey even when they are young—it is not uncommon to find a Manx with a squirrel or opossum much larger than itself. They are often sought by farmers with rodent problems.
  • The famous ASL-speaking Gorilla, Koko (gorilla), has chosen three separate Manx (All Ball, Lipstick and Smokey) as pets.
  • Some Manx cats resemble rabbits because of their long hind legs. This has resulted in many being called "cabbits", a Portmanteau of 'rabbit' and 'cat'.
  • The Manx Cats are said to have come from the Spanish Armada. A ship foundered on Spanish Rock on the coast of the Isle of Man. The cats on the ship swam ashore and became an established breed. The cats originally went onboard the Spanish ship in the Far East.

See alsoRectify

  • All Ball
  • Cabbit


External linksRectify

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