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Manx cat, tailless cats

An Encyclopedia

The Manx cat, is a breed of domestic cat, originating on the Isle of Man, with a naturally occurring mutation that shortens the tail.

Many Manx have a small stub of a tail, but Manx cats are best known as being entirely tailless; this is the most distinguishing characteristic of the breed, along with elongated hind legs and a rounded head. Manx cats come in all coat colors and patterns, though all-white specimens are rare, and the coat range of the original stock was more limited. Long-haired variants are sometimes considered a separate breed, the Cymric. Manx are prized as skilled hunters, and thus have often been sought by farmers with rodent problems, and been a preferred ship's cat breed. They are said to be social, tame and active. An old local term for the cats on their home island is stubbin. Manx have been exhibited in cat shows since the 1800s, with the first known breed standard published in 1903.

Although tail suppression is not the sole characteristic feature of the breed, the chief defining one of the Manx cat is its absence of a tail to having a tail of long length, or tail of any length between the two extremes. This is a naturally occurring, cat body-type mutation of the spine, caused by a dominant gene. As with the sometimes-tail-suppressed Schipperke dog and Old English Sheepdog, tail suppression does not "breed true" in Manx cats. Attempting to force the tailless trait to breed true by continually breeding tailless Manx cats to tailless Manx cats has led to increased negative, even fatal genetic disorders. Tail length is random throughout a litter of kittens. Manx to non-Manx breeding will usually produce some Manx-type tail varieties in kittens. Whether the shorter tailed kittens of these varieties are labeled Manx is up to the breed standard consulted.

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