For the Love of the Manx and Cymric Cats

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The Manx and Cymric Cat

©2009 Kimberly Hartfield

Manx and Cymric kittens can be born with either a small stump of a tail or no tail at all. The Manx breed of shorthaired cat, whose most distinctive features are a rabbit-like gait, along with the absence of a tail. The breed is believed to be native to the Isle of Man, an island off the coast of Great Britain. Although there are many tales about how these tailless cats came to be there, the genetic mutation probably originated there because of a limited gene pool. The Manx has an overall round impression to it, with a round head, full cheeks, and a stocky, compact body. The double coat is a soft outer coat overlying a thick undercoat that comes in many different colors. The Manx is a generally well-mannered, shy cat, but is very loyal to its owners.

The taillessness of the Manx and Cymric cats is caused by a dominant gene that affects the spinal column and may cause serious defects in some of these cats. Some kittens, which are born with stumps of tails, are commonly called “stumpies.” Others, having no tail at all and a rounded rump are called “rumpies”, which are generally preferred by cat fanciers. Both types are the result of a gene mutation which affects the spinal column, which often results in severe malformations of it and causes high mortality rates in the kittens. Breeding a Manx to a Manx often causes kittens to be extremely weak, so manx are often bred with longer tailed cats.  Although kitten mortality is quite high due to these problems with their spinal development, the cats that survive usually grow to be strong, healthy adults. Once grown, they generally have no problems from this genetic mutation.

The Cymric is a longhaired version of the Manx, which has a semi-long, double coat. The Cymric, breed of tailless cat probably first appeared on the Isle of Man as the result of the native Manx breeding with longhaired cats brought to the island by early Vikings. The most notable feature of the Cymric is its lack of a tail. The compact, round, medium-sized body has short, sturdy front legs, with muscular back legs that are longer, so that the cat’s hind end is higher than its shoulders. The short back arches upward, with the chest being broad and deep, and the short, thick neck arrogantly holding the rounded head. The cheeks are very full, and its large, round eyes tilt a little bit upward at the outer corners. Its medium-sized, wide-set ears are rounded and turn outward slightly. The Cymric’s eye color usually depends on the color of its fur. Coat colors include black, blue, cream, red, and white, which may appear in solid, bi-colored, shaded, smoke, or multicolored patterns. Its long, glossy fur is silky, and a little softer than that of the short-haired Manx. The coat is generally thicker at the mane and the back legs.

The Cymric became more common in the 1930s when the breed was improved by crossing the Manx with Persian cats. After longhaired kittens began appearing in litters of Manx in the 1960s, breeders decided the Cymric should be recognized as a separate breed to prevent the interbreeding of the two.

The Manx cats intelligence, loyalty, easygoing temperament, and loving nature make it a perfect family companion. It is known for its acceptance of other pets and usually does better with a companion pet.  It has a quiet soft voice, so noise isn’t usually a problem if you live close to neighbors. The longer haired Cymric is a little bit harder to maintain than the short-haired version of Manx.

An indoor Manx or Cymric can live as long as 15 years with good health care. Vaccinations are necessary if your cat goes outside or is exposed to other cats in a communal environment, even a vet’s office. Good pet quality Manx cats can be bought for around $200 or so, with show quality ranging from around $600 – $2000 depending on the individual characteristics of the kitten.  They can be purchased from catteries, pet stores, and home breeders, with show quality papered animals usually coming from an experienced breeder with a good cattery.  You may find wonderful pet quality kittens in pet stores and from home breeders, but home breeders are usually more cost efficient.  Adult cats and sometimes kittens can often be obtained at animal shelters for a minimal cost, though these are usually spayed and neutered. 

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