Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Cabbit, Cymric (if long-haired)|
|Country of origin:|
|Isle of Man|
|Breed standards (external links):|
|CFA, ACFA, TICA, CCA,|
ACF, FIFe, GCCF
The Manx is a breed of cat with a naturally occurring mutation of the spine. This mutation shortens the tail, resulting in a range of tail lengths from normal to tailless. The hind legs are longer than the front legs, creating a continuous arch from shoulders to rump giving the cat a rounded appearance. In their gait, Manx cats move more like a hop than a stride when running, in this aspect they resemble more of a rabbit than a cat. Many Manx have a small 'stub' of a tail, but Manx cats are best known as being entirely tailless: it is the distinguishing characteristic of the breed.
The Manx breed originated on the Isle of Man, hence their name. They are an old breed, and tailless cats were common on the island as long as two or three hundred years ago. It is unknown exactly how the mutation originated, but one legend states that it was the result of cats surviving a shipwreck centuries ago; these legends even claim that Noah had influence on the tailless part by closing the door to the ark, thus, cutting off the tail, and genetically altering their DNA legacy forever. Other legends allege that cats and rabbits mated, and their offspring became the Manx cat; the reasoning behind this is the fact that Manx usually do not have tails, and have longer hind legs, which gives them a similar appearance to rabbits, especially when running. This was further reinforced by the Cabbit myth.
The most probable scientific explanation of this breed's creation is that once the dominant mutant tailless gene was introduced to the island, it became common and concentrated in the population since it was genetically isolated and thus the mutation was found at a much higher rate than in a more diverse cat population, such as those on the mainland. This resulted in the "normal" cat on the island having a short or nonexistent tail.
Other Tailless Cats
It is possible that excessive inbreeding can result in short tails, however, the Manx breed has its shortened tail due to the action of the mutant tailless gene, which is dominant and inheritable regardless of the inbreeding coefficient of a particular cat. This gene, like many others, also occurs in the domestic cat population and in fact was probably transferred from the Isle of Man to it. For a cat to be considered a Manx, registering bodies (CFA, TICA, GCCF etc..) require that the cat show ancestry from the Isle of Man in an unbroken line of succession. Many of the distinguishing characteristics of cat breeds exhibit naturally sometimes in the domestic population, however, as much as they resemble a certain breed, they are considered domestic cats unless the ancestry has been tracked. This is the same in pedigreed dogs. Thus a random bred cat lacking a tail is a domestic tailless, but not a Manx.
The Manx (tailless) gene is dominant; kittens from Manx parents are generally born without any tail. There is no proven ratio of the amount of tailed to tailless kittens produced in each litter. However, tailed Manx bred to tailed Manx normally results in all tailed kittens, even though there are exceptions. Manx kittens are classified according to tail length. Tail lengths range from no tail whatsoever known as 'dimple rumpy' or 'rumpy', a small stub of cartilage or several vertebrae under their fur that may be felt when the kitten is happy as 'riser' or 'rumpy riser', a kitten with more of a tail than a riser but not a full tail as 'stumpy', and finally kittens with a complete or nearly complete tail are known as 'tailed' or 'longy' Manx. Breeders have reported all tail lengths within the same litter.
The ideal show Manx is the rumpy. The stumpy and tailed Manx do not qualify to be shown. Depending on the presence of the mutant gene, their kittens may or may not be tailed. In the past, kittens with stumpy or full tails have been docked 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. However, tailed Manx cats have been being born for hundreds of years on the Isle of Man with no known documented problems. Most countries today have put a ban on altering animals for cosmetic appearances. Some United States breeders still practice docking Manx kittens tails as a rule. Although, this is on the decline as Manx breeders educate people that this breed can be born with a partial to full tail without removing it, and with no ill effects, yet still be a Manx cat. Docking tails on cats is not an exclusive practice performed on Manx; for whatever reason necessary, it can be performed on any cat breed for beneficial medical reasons not covered here in this article.
The mutation that causes the Manx cat to be born without a tail is not present in every Manx kitten that is born. Therefore, not all Manx cats lack a tail. However, since they carry Manx genetics, their kittens or descendants can be born without a tail even if their parents had tails. Some stumpy Manx are born with kinked tails because of incomplete development of the tail during the fetal stage. This is somewhat rare though, as other tail lengths (or lack thereof), as well as straight-tailed stumpy tails are much more common.
Pedigreed Manx cats today are much healthier and have fewer health issues related to their genetic mutation than Manx of years ago. This is due mostly in part to the careful selection of breeding stock, and knowledgeable, dedicated breeders. Manx have been known to live into their mid to high teens and are no more or less healthy than other cat breeds. Like any other cat, keeping Manx cats indoors, neutering or spaying, and providing acceptable surfaces for the cat's normal scratching behavior are vital to lengthen the life of any cat.
Manx Syndrome is a colloquial name given to the condition which results when the mutant tailless gene responsible for shortening the cats' spine has an excessive negative effect. It can seriously damage the spinal cord and the nerves. The cat can have problems with spina bifida, bowels, bladder, and digestion as a result, however the actual occurrences of this are rare in modern cats due to informed breeding practices.  Most pedigreed cats are not placed until four months of age to make sure that proper socialization has occurred. This is also an adequate time for any mutant gene related health issues to be seen as they turn up early in the cat's life.
According to Robinson's Genetics for Cat Breeders and Veterinarians ISBN: 0750640693, both the Manx tailless gene and the Scottish Fold fold-eared gene are potential lethals if extreme tailless to tailless are mated or if extreme fold-eared to fold-eared are mated. Problems are most likely to occur when two completely tailless Manx are bred together. For this reason, responsible breeders generally breed a 'stumpy' or fully-tailed Manx with a 'rumpy' or 'rumpy riser' to minimise the chances of serious defects. This breeding practice is responsible for the decreasing occurrance of spinal problems in recent years.
The Manx breed is a highly intelligent cat breed, it is playful, and in its behavior, very reminiscent of Dogs. It is considered a social feline, and the breed loves humans. It is also very prone to like water, many times even playing with it, and unlike many other cats, this breed is very easy to give a shower for hygiene purposes. Although not as much as dogs, it can also learn some easy commands like No. Other cat breeds that share similar personality traits are Bengal and Ocicat. If there are two Manx cats in a household, the owner might notice that the two (or more) Manx cats will chase each other heavily. This is a very common thing for Manx cats to do, being as they like to chase each other. However, Manx cats usually are very quiet cats, so this is normally their only vice.
One issue that Manx owners may have is that the completely tailless variants may sometimes have problems with their bathroom hygiene, as a direct result of the lack of tail; many cats use their tail as an aid for releasing their faeces, but since rumpy variants do not have a tail, fecal matter may stick to their fur in the anal area, resulting in the Manx doing the "butt scoot" using whatever it can (carpets, the litter box, furniture, et cetera.) as toilet paper for removal. One must understand though, that this is not something the cat does out of spite, nor is it always the case with every rumpy Manx, however it is unavoidable for the cat if it has this issue.
There are two types of Manx coat lengths. The short haired Manx has a double coat with a thick, short under layer and a longer, course outer layer with guard hairs. The long haired Manx, known to some cat registries as Cymric, has a silky textured double coat of medium length, with britches, belly and neck ruff, with tufts of fur between the toes and full ear furnishings. CFA considers the Cymric a variety of Manx. It is referred to as a long haired Manx and is shown in the short hair division with other short haired cats even though its hair is longer. TICA recognizes the long haired Manx as a Cymric, it is the same in all respects as the Manx, except the Cymric has a longer coat. TICA judges the Cymric with other long haired cats in the long hair division. Short or long-haired, all Manx have thick double layer of coat.
- The Manx breed, in spite of the absence of tail, has no problems with balance.
- The Isle of Man has adopted the Manx as a symbol of its native origins. On the Isle of Man, Manx cats appear on currency, coins 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, and since the breed is of medium size, the weight is on mean of 5.5kg/12lb.
- Cat Fanciers The Manx: Cat Breed FAQ
- Cat Fanciers' Association Breed Profile: Manx
- Manx Syndrome Myth and Truth
- American Manx Club
- The Manx Breed Council
- Cabbits--What are they?
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