Hailing from the Isle of Man, the aptly named ‘Manx’ is a widely recognised, tailless breed of house cat that is most likely descended from the African wildcat. It is believed that a shipwreck brought the tailless cat to the island where it evolved into the modern-day Manx. Theories surrounding how the cat came to be without a tail are numerous; the most popular myth is that the Manx was nearly forgotten by Noah as he set sail in his Ark, only making it onboard at the last minute and subsequently losing its tail as the doors were abruptly closed. Another common theory is that the Manx evolved through the mating of a domestic cat and a rabbit, although this is not genetically viable. It is more likely that the trait for taillessness results from a mutation that came about through inbreeding on the island.
Besides its stumpy or missing tail, there is much to characterise the Manx. Due to having longer hind legs than front legs, the appearance and structure of the cat is often likened to a rabbit. The rump is also raised, giving the impression of being hunched over. The front legs themselves are muscular and can support the cat sufficiently. The head is rounded, the chest is broad, and the coat is either long or short. The longhaired Manx is known as the Cymric by some cat registries, and boasts a profuse double coat that is dense but soft to the touch. The shorthaired Manx possesses a close-fitting, silky coat that is easy to manage. Most colours are permissible in the breed although the most common variations include tortoiseshell, calico, tabby and solid colours.
The Manx is a highly intelligent cat that can be trained to a good degree. With a gentle and easy-going temperament, the Manx is a delightful breed choice for households wanting a relaxed companion cat that is playful and affectionate. Sometimes a Manx will focus its love and attentions on one individual in the home, while others will bestow their affections on everyone! Fond of children and human company in general, a Manx will not appreciate being left unattended for long periods of time. On average, a healthy Manx at full maturity will weight 8-10 pounds, with a typical life expectancy of 15 years or more.
Various health problems are identified in the Manx breed due to the gene for taillessness. Being born without a tail is not always a painless, benign condition but can result in very severe spinal defects. Sometimes, a lack of tail can cause shortening of the spine that leads to a myriad of difficulties such as trouble walking, urinating or defecating, as well as other neurological signs. Some people believe it is fairer on the cat in question to euthanize it if any symptoms are recognised at 6 months.
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