The Manx is an amicable and sweet-tempered cat, which is actually a short-haired variant of the tailless cat of the Manx breed group. This breed has well-expressed territorial instinct and will protect its domain with unfailing commitment. It’s notable for its stocky build, widely set ears, round muzzle and large curious eyes.
Photo: © Chanan (Sandi Duncan Defoe)
Several showy legends embrace initial appearance of the Manx. One of them claims that Noah snipped off its tail as he slammed the Ark door when the Flood began. Another tail narrates that Irish or Viking invaders would take away kittens since their tails were reckoned to bring good luck. That’s why mother cats just bit the tails off.
However appealing these stories were, the trademark trait of the breed was most likely caused by spontaneous genetic mutation, which was intensified by centuries of inbreeding on the Isle of Man. The first cats were brought to this area from neighbouring Wales or England or they may have arrived there from further away. At some point cats on the island began to produce kittens without tails. The first image of tailless cat dated back to 1810 although written reports offer ample evidence that it had already existed by the 50 of XVIII century.
Due to isolated location of the Isle of Man and scanty feline population the absence of tails gradually became a common feature of all island cats. Tailless and longhaired variety of the Manx was also well-established in this area. However it didn’t attain universal recognition as soon as its shorthaired cousin. It began to be registered in the Cat Fancier Association as a division of the Manx in 1994. At the same time in some feline associations the longhaired Manx is referred as a Cymric and is treated as a distinct breed.
The Manx has a background of an adept mouser and it retains much of its hunting drive and natural vigilance. This cat will unceasingly scan its surroundings for anything suspicious and will issue peculiar warning growl if it detects some threat to its territory or family. When it isn’t on the duty it becomes a true social mixer. The Manx likes to be surrounded by attention and care of its family but it won’t impose its company on the master if it feels unwelcomed. Whenever you decide to rest a bit, though, the breed member will immediately appear in your lap, ready for a cosy nap. It’s not overly talkative and usually expresses its opinion in a quiet thrill and meow.
When properly socialised the Manx will treat all unfamiliar people as potential playmates. This sociable cat gets along with kids as well as with other domestic animals including a peaceable dog. It can make an agreeable travel companion as it commonly enjoys riding in the car. Unlike majority of feline breeds it responds well to obedience training and usually abides the rules that its master set in the house.
Being a quick-witted and inquisitive cat the Manx is quite willing to learn various tricks and can get used to walks on a leash if taught early enough. It manipulates its paws with surprising skilfulness and usually contrives to get access to every cabinet and room in your house. Be mindful that this cat bonds strongly to its human family and can become restless and destructive if left alone for long periods of time. The breed does best in the household where it receives sufficient amount of affection and attention.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· arthritis of the tailbone in cats with partial tails;
· corneal dystrophy;
· manx syndrome.
The Manx should be provided with relatively moderate amount of care. Its short and straight coat requires weekly brushing in order to remove loose hair and keep it free from tangles and mats. The breed will replace its dense fur twice a year, in the spring and fall. More through and frequent brushing is highly recommended during these periods.
The cat’s ears should be regularly examined and cleaned if they look dirty. Long nails can cause great discomfort to this cat so trim them on a weekly basis. Proper dental hygiene should include weekly brushing of cat’s teeth with a vet-approved pet toothpaste.