The Breed History
It is reported by some that Manx cats were originally brought from Japan to North America by traders. The tailless trait is autosomal dominant in this breed and recessive in the Japanese Bobtail thus refuting the theory that these tail mutants share a common origin. Another theory places breed origins on the Isle of Man. The original cats were both long and shorthaired. Records on the Isle of Man document their origin from domestic cats by a process of spontaneous mutation. CFA recognized the bred in the 1920s; longhairs in 1990. In some registries, longhaired Manx are termed Cymric. The CCA recognized the Cymric ("kim-rick") in 1976. In 1994, longhairs became a division within Manx in the CFA. In some registries they are still separate breeds. No outcrosses allowed.
Weight: 8-12 lb (3.4-5.5 kg); males a bit larger than the females
Coat: Short dense double haircoat is less full in warm weather. The outer coat hairs are hard in texture except in the white and dilutes. Longhair coat hairs are medium in length, silky but not cottony in texture, with breeches and ruff. Many coat colors and patterns accepted.
Eyes: Eyes are large and round; color conforms to coat.
Points of Conformation: The Manx is of medium size and cobby (stocky) conformation; features tend to roundness. A large, rounded head, with full cheeks is the standard. Ears are small-medium, round tipped, and angled outward (so-called "cradle" set). The nose is broad, medium length, and straight in profile. Neck is short. They possess round feet. Spine forms a gradual upward arch.
Recognized Behavior Issues and Traits
Reported breed characteristics include: Gentle sweet cats, playful, love close contact with people, adapt well to other pets. Gait tends to be rolling behind; a hop somewhat like a rabbit in rumpies. Easygoing, some learn to open door knobs, many like water, and willingly leash train. Some say that Manx have dog-like traits, such as toy burying. Some cats are like one-man dogs and follow a favored person around the house and may act like "watchdog" cats in the home. Good hunters. Quiet voiced and often use a trilling vocalization. Good with children if raised with them; they like a quiet home.
Grooming: Daily grooming is needed to prevent build-up of undercoat, may need to blow dry after bath in longhairs due to thick double coat.
Normal Breed Variations
Different degrees of "taillessness" exist:
Rumpy (SYN: rumpies): no protuberance, so is level or hollow (dimple) where tail usually originates (show quality); no caudal vertebrae
Rumpy riser (SYN: risers): when one runs a hand down over tail base, a small fused protuberance is felt-not penalized in show if it does not act as a stop to a hand caress; one to seven caudal vertebrae
Stumpy (SYN: stubbies): short bobtail, a stumped tail less than 1/2 the usual length and eligible for AOV classes, can move it laterally; two to 14 caudal vertebrae, may have a kink.
Longy (SYN: tailies, longies [pl]): half tail (blunt ended) and full tail (regular tapered end); sometimes kinked; are not shown though they are used in breeding programs.
They are long-lived.
They are slow to mature.
They gain weight easily.
None reported in the literature
Sacrocaudal Dysgenesis: The variable phenotype resulting from the autosomal dominant (M) gene for taillessness/sacrocaudal dysgenesis is likely due to incomplete penetrance, variable expressivity, or there is a modifying gene at work due to the spectrum of the phenotypic expression. Reduced tail length, and especially reduced lower spine length are correlated with abnormalities of the sacrocaudal area leading to deleterious effects in addition to the breed specific trait of taillessness being selected for. Heritability for the gene was reported to be 0.4. There is a progression of severity of abnormalities as the gene expression becomes fuller. Since homozygosity of alleles at the Manx tailless gene locus appears to be lethal in utero, an informed breeding program will produce kittens with tails of all lengths. The heterozygote may be semi-lethal; there is an excess of females in viable Manx gene carriers; the sex ratio change is not well characterized.2 Abnormalities of fetuses as young as 5 weeks gestation include gross malformation of the CNS.
Associated M gene abnormalities include:
Myelodysplasia/Anury/Spinal Dysraphism: The lower spinal column does not form normally. The spectrum includes:
- vertebral defects (missing or irregular vertebrae) in lumbar and sacral area;
- taillessness, an absence of caudal vertebrae (SYN: anury) вЂ“this is the characteristic being selected for;
- neuronal defect (myelodysplasia), leading to cavitation of dorsal white matter and tract degeneration which may begin as high as the mid-lumbar cord;
- neural tube and notochord defect leading to incomplete early embryologic closure, with sacral and caudal dysgenesis or partial agenesis (spinal dysraphism).
Resulting in: Spina Bifida, Hydromyelia, Myelocele, Tethered Cord, and Syringomyelia; these occur with low frequency in live born kittens.
Vesicourethral Dysfunction: Those with incontinence problems tend to be euthanized early. A published case report outlined detailed status of a cat afflicted with detrusor muscle atonia, pelvic floor EMG deficits, proximal urethra malfunction and total lack of adrenergic enervation of the bladder and proximal urethra. According to that report, 50% of rumpy cats have urinary incontinence and sacral cord abnormalities. Bladder may be grossly distended with neurogenic dysfunction.
In a case control study of 285,000 records of cats with and without urinary tract disease, the Manx was reported to be at increased risk for congenital urinary tract defects and urinary incontinence.
Gait Abnormalities: Ataxia progressing to paraplegia; sometimes kittens bunny hop. Bunny hopping is strongly associated with syringomyelia, and plantigrade posture while walking or standing can occur. Gait deficits may be of neurogenic origin, or alternatively, be a mild lameness associated with pelvic bony malformation. Club foot is sometimes also present. Gait changes are not present in all cats.
Colon Dysfunction: Constipation/obstipation; neurogenic. Not present in all cats. Hyaline degeneration of the smooth muscle layers is evident and reduced ganglion cell numbers in Meissner's plexus noted; grossly a megacolon, with associated abdominal distention and fecal perineal staining in afflicted cats. Some cats may also have mild rectal prolapse. Structural or functional deficits may remain stable or may deteriorate. Associated pathologic changes may show up in utero, at birth, before weaning, or in the first 4 months of life in less severely affected kittens. Severely affected kittens will show fecal or urinary incontinence, reduced perineal cutaneous sensation, and significant pelvic limb weakness before weaning, and vertebral abnormalities are commonly noted on imaging studies. Breeders often hold kittens until 16 weeks of age because usually if a kitten is going to have difficulties, problems generally manifest by 4 months of age. In tailed Manx crosses, birth defect rates are low-normal, with rates in the same range as humans and other cat breeds. Litter size is also low normal in this breed. An internet-based survey found that in: 39 litters, 121 kittens Average number of kittens per litter: 3.1 Stillbirths: 8% C-sections: 15% Average birth weight: males 95, females 91 g
Hereditary Deafness: Is associated with the dominant gene for white cat (W); may be found in white cats of this breed.
Tail Arthritis: Some cats with stumpy or longy tails left undocked may develop arthritis later in life if the caudal vertebrae malformed - anecdotal.
Rare and Isolated Reports
Corneal Dystrophy: An inherited condition resulting from local metabolic defects. This is an autosomal recessive trait. Signs are often noted at about 16 weeks of age and progress from anterior stromal edema to diffuse bullous keratopathy.9 Stromal dystrophy may lead to epithelial rupture at a young age; Descemet's membrane is also abnormal. This is usually a bilateral condition.
None commercially available
- Breed name synonyms: Tailless Cat, Cymric (for longhaired in some registries), Man's Cat, Isle of Man Cat
- Registries: FIFe, TICA, CFA, ACFA, GCCF (short haired), ACF, WCF (provisional), NZCF, CCA, CFF. In some registries, longhairs or semi-longhairs are called Cymric (TICA), in others they are termed longhaired Manx (CFA).
- Breed resources: The American Manx Club: http://www.americanmanxclub.com
The International Manx & Cymric Society (ACFA):
254 S. Douglas
Bradley IL 60915
Cymric Cat Club (CFA):
PO Box 917
Snohomish WA 98291
The Breed Club Europe Manx and Cymric: http://www.raskatt.com/emc/emc.html
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