A Cat Without a Tail!? Why do manx cats have no tail?

A Cat Without a Tail!? Why do manx cats have no tail?

Cats are known for their distinctive tails, varying in shape and length.

However, did you know that there exists a cat without a tail at all?

The Manx cat is born without a tail.

How did the Manx come to be, and how did it spread across the world?

Let's delve into the fascinating world of the Manx cat.

Table of Contents

1. What Exactly is a Manx Cat?
∟1-1. Where Did the Manx Originate?
∟1-2. Manx are Divided into 4 Types Based on Tail Length
∟1-3. Legends of the Tailless Manx

2. Points to Consider When Living with a Manx
∟2-1. The Athletic Manx
∟2-2. Manx are Skilled Climbers
∟2-3. Be Careful with Tail Brushing

3. Special Attention is Needed for Manx-Specific Diseases
∟3-1. The Genes of the Manx
∟3-2. Early Response is Necessary for Manx Syndrome
∟3-3. Pay Attention to Internal Organs in Manx Syndrome


1. What Exactly is a Manx Cat?

The defining characteristic of a Manx cat is its lack of a tail.

They are born naturally tailless, but the background of how Manx came to be is linked to their place of origin.

While humans can live without a tail, does the lack of one pose any problems for Manx cats?

First, let's explore what kind of cat the Manx is.

1-1. Where Did the Manx Originate?

The Manx cat hails from the Isle of Man, located between Great Britain and Ireland.

 *Map of the Isle of Man


Today, it's known as the venue for the Isle of Man TT motorcycle races, but it has a varied history, including being a pirate hideout.

It's said that pirates began living on the Isle of Man in the 8th century, and it's believed that the ancestors of the Manx cats arrived on ships with them.

Living in the isolated environment of the island, the ancestors of the Manx cats interbred, leading to genetic anomalies and the spontaneous mutation of tailless cats.

Manx cats without tails have been around since the 17th century, when they began to spread around the world through trade merchants.

1-2. Manx are Divided into 4 Types Based on Tail Length

There are variations among Manx cats, and those without any tail are called rumpies.

From there, in order of increasing tail length, they are called rumpy-risers, stumpies, and longies.

The probability of a rumpy being born is about 20% of all Manx cats, with most being born with a short tail.

However, rumpies are the most sought after in cat shows, and they overwhelmingly dominate the Manx population.

1-3. Legends of the Tailless Manx

There's a legend about how the Manx lost its tail, involving Noah's Ark.

According to the Old Testament story of the great flood, all animals were saved by boarding the ark in pairs. The legend says that a cat was late boarding the ark, and when it hurried inside, its tail got caught and became short.

This is, of course, just a legend, as tail injuries in cats can be life-threatening. Nonetheless, the Manx cat carries such a legend.

Furthermore, due to its short tail and rabbit-like gait, some speculate that it may have rabbit blood, leading to the nickname "rabbit cat".

2. Points to Consider When Living with a Manx

Unlike other cats with distinct appearance features, such as the Scottish Fold, Munchkin, and American Curl, which have recently spread worldwide, the Manx is an ancient cat breed.

So, what are the points to consider when living with a Manx?

2-1. The Athletic Manx

Manx cats are generally quiet and tend to keep to themselves. They are also wary, often hiding from anyone other than their human family.

If you get to live with one, it's recommended to give it some time to adjust before it becomes comfortable and affectionate.

Once a trust is established, a Manx can become incredibly endearing and active in play.

Being naturally born hunters, they enjoy playing, so provide plenty of playtime.

Their trustworthiness makes them even more adorable, as they show their true selves only to those they trust.

2-2. Manx are Skilled Clim bers

Cats relieve stress through physical activity, so it's essential to provide ample playtime.

Incorporating vertical movement into play can significantly increase their satisfaction, as it engages their whole body and encourages them to jump high.

Especially since Manx cats are excellent climbers, a cat tower can double the fun of playtime.

Ensure safety during play to prevent accidents, such as hitting their head against walls in tight spaces.

2-3. Be Careful with Tail Brushing

Although Manx cats don't have long fur, regular brushing is necessary.

Covered in a double coat, they shed a lot during the molting season, making brushing essential.

During this time, shed fur can stick to their body, leading to unhygienic conditions and potential skin diseases.

When brushing, pay special attention to the base of the tail, especially in rumpies, as they can be very sensitive and may panic.

Try not to stimulate the tail area too much.

3. Special Attention is Needed for Manx-Specific Diseases

Although Manx cats are naturally occurring, their genetic mutation is undeniable.

Thus, there are diseases unique to Manx cats.

Their tailless or extremely short-tailed appearance may be adorable, but it's not necessarily a good thing health-wise.

Let's discuss the diseases to watch out for in Manx cats and the short-tail gene they carry.

3-1. The Genes of the Manx

The gene responsible for the Manx's lack of a tail is a lethal recessive gene.

That 20% of Manx cats are born without tails speaks to this recessive inheritance, but when this gene is inherited from both parents and becomes homozygous, it leads to lethality.

Therefore, breeding two rumpies is prohibited.

Even if not homozygous, this gene can still cause various diseases.

Of course, not all Manx cats will exhibit symptoms, so constant monitoring for any signs of illness is crucial if you live with one.

3-2. Early Response is Necessary for Manx Syndrome

Diseases caused by the Manx gene are collectively referred to as Manx Syndrome.

Symptoms include spina bifida and abnormalities in the intervertebral discs.

Delay in treatment can be life-threatening, so immediate veterinary care is advised. Establishing a regular vet is best.

While it's a challenging condition with no definitive cure, surgical treatments can help manage it.

Regular check-ups to monitor for any abnormalities in the spine and the progression of Manx Syndrome are essential.

3-3. Pay Attention to Internal Organs in Manx Syndrome

While we've discussed some major concerns with Manx Syndrome, some Manx cats also suffer from functional disorders in the rectum and bladder.

These symptoms are part of Manx Syndrome, and they can appear at birth or emerge around six months of age.

They can affect bowel and bladder function, significantly impacting the cat's quality of life. If you notice any odd behavior in the litter box or a decrease in bathroom frequency, seek veterinary care immediately.


Many people adore the quiet, playful nature of Manx cats.

Their lack of a tail distinguishes them from other cats, endearing them further to their owners.

However, it's a fact that they are prone to more diseases, especially the "rumpies", which are more likely to fall ill.

It's important to note that just because a breed is prone to diseases doesn't mean other breeds are immune to early-onset illnesses.

Of course, we all want our cats to be healthy, but should they fall ill, it's our responsibility as their caregivers to provide the necessary care.

Caring for a sick cat may be challenging, but for those who have fallen in love with Manx cats, even a frail cat can provide special moments of companionship.

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