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Manx cats are a unique breed—most recognizable for their round appearance and lack of a tail. After meeting a Manx, you will quickly understand why so many people have fallen in love with these cuddly felines. Not only are they lively and playful cats, but they are also a wonderful companion.
Although no one knows just how old the Manx cat is, some say that they first appeared in the mid-1700s, while others claim that these cats have been around since the late 1500s. However, it is a well-known fact that these felines are from the Isle of Man, a small island sitting in the Irish Sea between Ireland and Great Britain. This island was also the inspiration behind the Manx’s name.
The Manx (previously spelled Manks) has a long history of legends behind their origin, specifically why they have no tail. One story states that these cats were running a little too late to catch a ride on Noah’s ark, and consequently, their tail got caught in the door. Another tale claims that invaders liked to use the cat’s tail as plumes for their helmets. Perhaps the most unlikely explanation of them all is that Manx cats are a mix between a cat and a rabbit.
As interesting and fantastical as these tales are, the most likely explanation is that the Manx is descended from an African wildcat that at one point found its way to the Isle of Man and began spreading around its dominant gene. Due to the limited gene pool on the island, the tailless gene circulated until cats without tails were rather common.
One of the most obvious Manx cat characteristics is that they do not have a normal cat tail. However, these cats can be categorized by the length of their tail. The four options include:
Even though the tailless gene is dominant, it is still possible for all four tail types to appear in one litter of kittens.
All Manx cats have a thick, double coat that can appear in practically any color or pattern, except for the pointed pattern, the colors chocolate or lavender, or any of these combinations with white. The majority of Manx cats have a short coat, although they can also be found with a long coat. Some consider this longhaired version to be a separate breed called the Cymric. However, except for their coat length, the Cymric and Manx are identical.
If there could only be one word used to describe the Manx cat, it would be “round.” These felines have a round body, a round head with big, round eyes, and even their ears are rounded off at the top. Although they may appear big-boned, don’t underestimate the athletic ability of these rotund cats. With powerful legs, they not only can jump on top of furniture, shelves, counters, and refrigerators, but they genuinely seem to enjoy doing exactly that.
The Manx cat personality makes them the perfect choice for many pet parents. These felines are social, talkative, and enjoy the company of others. While some Manx are a little reserved around strangers, it typically doesn’t take long before they have warmed up to their new friend. As a result of their wonderful temperament, these felines can get along splendidly with children, dogs, and other cats.
Often described as dog-like, Manx cats enjoy playing various games, such as fetch, and can even be trained. You may even notice that as you move about your house, your Manx will be following along, right by your side.
You may discover that your Manx has a fascination with water, but take note, though they are intrigued by water and will sometimes play in the water with their paws, they typically do not enjoy actually going for a swim.
Another noteworthy trait of the Manx is their intelligence. This cat is one smart cookie, which is a great asset if you choose to train your cat or teach them tricks. Just keep in mind that their brilliance can also get them into some sticky situations. Manx cats have been known to turn on the faucet, open doors, and get into cupboards.
These cats are also quite talented at catching mice—a rather useful resource to have around the house. Due to their mouse-hunting abilities, these felines have been a popular choice for farmers and sailors for centuries.
Before adopting a Manx, pet parents typically have questions that they first want to be answered. Some of the most common questions include,
Manx cats are not necessarily rare. However, they are definitely not as common as other breeds, such as the American Shorthair or the Scottish Fold. On the other hand, an all-white Manx is quite a rare find.
These cats can typically have a lifespan of 10-14 years. Even so, each cat is unique, and your Manx may live below or above this average.
Considered a medium-sized cat, Manx cats typically weigh 8-14 pounds.
While these cats can grow to a decent size, their growth rate is rather slow, and they typically won’t be fully grown until they are much older—close to five years.
Most Manx cats are great travelers who seem to enjoy accompanying their parents on a car ride or trip. If you’re interested in bringing your Manx along for an adventure, first read up on some tips for traveling with your cat.
To help keep your cat in tip-top shape, it’s essential to establish a regular grooming routine.
Manx cats have a thick, double coat that will require brushing multiple times a week. Not only will brushing help keep their coat healthy, but it can also help remove dead hair. During spring and autumn, your Manx will most likely be shedding even more than normal. This means that your cat may require a few more brushings per week.
Although it’s not talked about as often, it’s still important to brush your cat’s teeth every week. Keeping on top of your feline’s oral health can help reduce the risk of various health problems, plus it can help keep their breath smelling fresh. Don’t forget to check their ears regularly and clean them when necessary as well.
As a cat parent, it will also be your responsibility to trim your cat’s nails. They will typically need to be trimmed every few weeks, but each cat’s needs are unique to them. To help your Manx wear their nails down naturally, it is best to provide them with a scratching post or two.
Besides keeping your cat healthy on the outside, it’s equally important to keep them healthy on the inside. Manx require daily exercise, which can be achieved by playing various games—games that require mental stimulation are even better.
When it comes to your feline’s meal plan, be sure to choose an age-appropriate, nutritious diet. Manx cats are prone to becoming overweight, so it will be important to keep an eye on your pal’s waistline. If you are unsure whether your Manx is at a healthy weight or if they are eating the right amount of food, talk with your veterinarian about how to best manage your cat’s diet and exercise.
Manx cats, like every other cat breed, are susceptible to some health conditions. According to our claims data^ the top issues that affect these cats are:
Due to their shortened tail, Manx may also develop an issue with their back or the area where their tail would have been. For instance, it is not unheard of for a Manx to develop arthritis or Manx syndrome.
Manx syndrome can encompass multiple signs, but the most common include a shortened spine, bowel issues, or limited mobility in the hind legs. Just because these conditions are the most common among the Manx breed, that does not guarantee that your cat will be diagnosed with any or all of them.
One of the best ways to help your cat stay healthy is to schedule a yearly check-up with their veterinarian. These routine appointments allow the veterinarian to stay up to date with your cat’s overall health and well-being. Not to mention, regular exams mean that if a health issue were to arise, your veterinarian would be more likely to diagnose the issue early on.
However, even if your Manx receives a clean bill of health, it’s possible that their back end around their tail (or where their tail would be) could still be sensitive. In this case, it is best to be mindful when picking your cat up and to be gentle when you are petting them.
Being such a unique and fun cat breed, it’s no wonder that there are so many interesting facts about this friendly feline.
When it comes to the Manx, there’s always something new to learn.
After making the ever-so-difficult decision of which cat to adopt, you now have to make the second most difficult decision—what to name your new cat. At first, this decision may seem nearly impossible, since the choices literally are endless, but with the help of a more condensed list, maybe inspiration will strike sooner than you think.
With these names inspired by England, Ireland, and the Isle of Man, you should surely be able to find a name that’s fit for your feline.
^Internal Claims Data, 2014-2019
The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.