The Manx cat, a medium, gold-eyed, long-haired, ancient breed from the Isle of Man, is best known for its lack of a tail. The Manx came to the US in the 1920s, where it quickly became desirable after success as a show cat in England. They are highly social and playful, sometimes said to be dog-like in their loyalty and trainability. Nicknames for the cat vary depending on the Manx tail length. If your Manx has no tail, it is called a "rumpy," while a Manx with a very slight tail is called a "rumpy riser." The loving, even-tempered Manx cat will likely get along with all family members and provide many years of affection and companionship.
Other Names: Manks, Rumpy, Stubbin
Personality: Easygoing, affectionate, social
Weight: 8 to 12 pounds
Length: About 14 to 16 inches
Coat Length: Short hair and long hair
Coat Colors: White, blue, black, red, cream, silver, brown
Coat Patterns: Bicolor, solid, tortoiseshell, tabby (among others)
Eye Color: Gold, copper, green, hazel, blue, or odd-eyed
Lifespan: 14 to 16 years
Origin: Isle of Man
Manx Cat Characteristics
The Manx cat is a unique-looking, affectionate, friendly cat. Manx owners love their cat's stubby tail and high trainability. They are known to hunt rodents and insects with precision, but their hunting instincts don't translate to an aggressive temperament toward humans. These cats are excellent jumpers, which may make for some frustration, but remember that the Manx cat's playful nature is a gift. The Manx cat has a wonderful personality and makes a great addition to any family.
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History of the Manx Cat
The Manx is an ancient cat breed hailing from the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. Initially, the breed name was typically spelled "Manks" or "stubbin" in colloquial terms on the Isle. Today, they are a substantial but declining percentage of the local cat population on the Isle of Man. Due to their hunting skills, Manx cats have historically been a popular choice by farmers to help with rodent problems and companions on sea voyages.
The many folktales about the Manx are rooted in the cat's characteristic lack of a long tail. Some folktales claim that a tailless cat swam ashore from a shipwreck and brought the trait to the island, while biblical references suggest that when Noah closed the door of the Ark, he accidentally cut off the tail of the Manx cat. Some people believed that any cat in close contact with a Manx could pass along its taillessness to its kittens. In actuality, the absence of a tail arises from a spontaneous genetic mutation.
The Manx was one of the original show cats in the first cat show held in Great Britain, with its first known breed standard published in 1903. The Manx was one of the founding breeds of the Cat Fancier's Association in 1908. The United States pedigreed cat registry has records on the breed in North America from the 1920s.
Manx Cat Care
The care needed for a Manx cat is typical of any domestic breed. It requires a moderate amount of exercise and a regular grooming routine. Knowing your cat's needs makes caregiving straightforward and effective.
The Manx cat doesn't have unique exercise needs but benefits from 30 to 60 minutes of designated playtime due to its playful nature. Like many cats, the Manx loves to run, jump, and climb, so providing ample play opportunities will typically be enough to satisfy your cat's needs. Manx are natural hunters with sometimes dog-like characteristics, so your Manx will be engaged by small plush toys that mimic trapping and retrieving.
Because of their double coat, Manx cats are prone to shedding, particularly in the spring and fall. A double coat occurs when a cat has an extra layer of fur to provide additional warmth and protection. All cats with double coats shed more than those with a single coat.
Weekly (but ideally, daily) brushing is essential to limiting a Manx cat's shedding. A longhaired Manx will require more intensive grooming than a shorthaired Manx, but a regular brushing schedule is important, no matter the coat length.
Common Health Problems
Although generally healthy, the genetic abnormalities that lead to the Manx signature short tail are related to several health issues. The Manx is prone to a short spine that can fail to provide proper nerve and muscle endings. Typically, a Manx breeder will watch for health issues in the cat during the first four months of life. These health issues may include the following.
The appearance of the Manx cat is trademarked by its very short or non-existent tail. A Manx with no tail is called a "rumpy," while those with short tails are called "rumpy risers." A Manx with a half-tail may be referred to as a "longy."
Manx are medium-sized and stocky, with flat flanks, sloping shoulders, and full chests. Typically, a Manx cat's hind legs are longer than its front legs, creating the appearance of an arched back. Manx have round heads, small noses, and large eyes and ears. Their eyes are usually a variation of a gold color.
Manx cats can have either long or short hair, but all have a dense, plush double coat. Short-haired is the more common variation of Manx and has an outer coat that is somewhat hard and glossy, while the long-haired variation has a silky coat that is medium in length. The coat pattern and color range widely and can incorporate elements found in all cat breeds because of cross-breeding. Manx cats commonly have a tortoiseshell, tabby, or solid coat. Although Manx cats are not hypoallergenic, some people with cat allergies have reported being somewhat less sensitive to Manx. The cat sheds slightly less than other breeds but is in no way entirely hypoallergenic.
Diet and Nutrition
Like all cats, the Manx requires a balanced diet of protein, vitamins and minerals, fats, and water. The cat food should include fish oils and omega-3 fatty acids to keep the thick Manx coat healthy. Amino acids are essential for vision and heart health, and fiber is necessary for digestion and weight control. A Manx cat does well on wet or dry commercially-prepared cat food, especially when meat is the first ingredient. Wet food may need to be warmed up, as Manx cats are not fond of chilled meals. Manx cats should not be given cow’s milk, as the lactose can build up in the intestines and cause digestive issues.
Where to Adopt or Buy a Manx Cat
You may be able to find a purebred Manx cat through a breeder in your area or through a shelter or adoption agency. A Manx from a breeder typically costs between 150 and 500 dollars, depending on the breed standards it meets.
Types of Manx Cats
The types of Manx cats are usually categorized by their tail lengths and coat length, but other consistent variants have been developed. These include:
- Cymric: Cymric Manx cats are the result of breeding a Manx with a long-haired breed like a Persian. The Cymric is not a breed of its own but a standard Manx with long hair.
- Isle of Man Longhair: The Isle of Man Longhair is a Manx with a full-length tail. It resembles a Manx in all regards except for its signature taillessness.
- Isle of Man Shorthair: The Isle of Man Shorthair is essentially a Cymric with a full-length tail. It is recognized as a separate breed rather than a variation within the Manx family.
- Tasman Manx: The Tasman Manx is a tailless or half-tailed Manx with a curly coat. The length of its coat varies, which can place it within any of the sub-categories above.
Manx Cat Overview
The Manx cat makes for an excellent pet. Its playful nature, sociability, and intelligence are compatible with all family configurations and are only sweetened by its unique physique. Before adopting or buying a Manx cat, be aware of potential health issues related to the shortened tail.
Active, playful, sturdy breed
Intelligent, highly trainable
Might be more predisposed to spinal problems
Likes high perches, might jump up to shelves, tables, or counters
Needs consistent grooming
More Cat Breeds and Further Research
When determining if the Manx cat is the right cat for you, be sure to research all aspects of the breed and consult other Manx cat owners, breeders, and rescue groups for more information. Similar cats include:
Otherwise, be sure to check out all of our other cat breed profiles.
Why doesn't a Manx have a tail?
The Manx lack of tail comes from a genetic mutation. While the mutation itself isn't harmful, related health issues may develop from a non-existent or very short tail.
Do Manx make good pets?
Manx cats are friendly, playful, intelligent, and loyal. They make for great companions and are well-suited for families with children.
Can I find a Manx cat at a shelter?
While the most reliable way to find a Manx is through a breeder, some shelters may have Manx for adoption. Some rescues specialize in tailless cats.