For centuries the Manx cat has existed on the Isle of Man. It is assumed that since the Isle didn’t have any of its own domesticated cats of its own that they were brought over by early explorers and settlers (although no one knows by whom or when this occurred)
One theory has it that the Manx was brought from Japan by Phoenician Traders. Another has them arriving with Viking settlers that settled on the Isle. Still another theory says they were on a ship in the Spanish armada that was wrecked in 1588 and they swam ashore at the Spanish point.
No matter how they arrived, they supposedly had tails. Scientists believe that a spontaneous mutation is the cause of their lack of tail. Either unaware or unimpressed by a scientific explanation, the people of the Isle have their own more interesting stories as to how the Manx came to have no tail. Story #1 says the Manx is a cross between a cat and a rabbit. Story #2 says Irish invaders cut off their tails to use as plumes for their helmets, and story #3 fables that the Manx were the last animals into Noah’s Ark and the door was shut on their tails, cutting them off.
The Manx were first exported from the Isle of Man where, as the demand for them grew, the supply declined. People had to turn to alternate sources for them, such as the U.S. and Britain (King Edward the VIII was a very enthusiastic supporter). But, Manx cats are difficult to breed and demand exceeded supply again. Today, a Manx cat of show quality is rare, although cats of pet quality are fairly common.
Manx cats are active, fun-loving, intelligent companions. They are able to express themselves quite well without a tail to twitch. They become strongly bonded to their owners, and get along well with other pets. No high place or shelf is safe as they are exceptional jumpers
Manx come in 4 tail types, Rumpy, Rumpy-Riser, Stumpy and Longy. Rumpies are prized by show people and are completely tailless. Rumpy-Risers have short nubs of a tail that has 1-3 vertebrae connected to the last bone in the spine. Stumpies have short tails that are often kinked or curved, and longies who have tails as long as a regular cat. Some breeders have these tails docked so as to better sell them but this is not an approved practice. The CFA put Manx cats with a definite, visible tail joint to the Any Other Varity class in cat shows.
By: Linda Eastabrooks
Former AKC Breeder