The Manx is a medium-sized, rounded cat known for having longer hind legs than front legs.
This causes the rear to sit higher in the air and can make the cat appear to be hopping when walking or running. This characteristic caused the cat to be nicknamed “bunny cat.”
The double coat can be two different lengths — the shorter-coated cat is called the Manx, and the longhaired version is called the Cymric.
The tail of the Manx or Cymric can be full, short, stubby or missing. An incomplete dominant gene is responsible for the natural genetic mutation. Although the gene affecting the tail length may be present, it’s not a guarantee of the length of tails in the offspring.
The eyes are large and rounded, and the wide ears taper to a rounded tip. Males weigh between 10 and 12 pounds, and females are slightly smaller with a weight between 8 and 10 pounds. Full maturity is reached around 5 years of age.
The Isle of Man in the Irish Sea is listed as the origin of the Manx cat breed, although there is speculation about the cats being brought over from England or Wales.
Language evidence dates the breed to around 1750, and a Manx cat was present in an 1810 painting. The Isle of Man was small, so inbreeding was common in cats.
A myth explained the short tail, or lack thereof. It was said that the Manx’s tail was cut off when Noah closed the door to the Ark.
The trait of having a short tail or missing tail became common for cats on the island. The Manx was a breed included in the rise of cat fancy in the 1800s. The International Cat Association (TICA) recognized the Manx and Cymric in 1979. The Cat Fanciers’ Association added the breed in 1906.
The Manx is a companion pet and may participate in conformation (or, naturally, rodent hunting).
They enjoy children and other household pets, and their devotion makes them susceptible to separation anxiety. Manx cats can be protective of the home and are generally good hunters. They like to play fetch and bury their toys, and they have been known to be talkative.
Manx cats don’t have specific exercise needs in addition to those of regular cats. Their physical activity should be similar to that of their feline peers (sleeping long hours, playing, running and jumping). They should be kept indoors to avoid injury or straying away from home, because they are very people-oriented.
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Because of their longer, powerful hind legs, Manx cats can jump high, turn and accelerate quickly when running.
This video shows a Manx cat playing fetch and exhibiting the breed’s fast movements:
Both coat varieties of the Manx are double coats, and they are easy to maintain. Regular brushing a few times per week is sufficient with an occasional bath. When a regular grooming routine is in place, the coat is less likely to tangle or create mats. Additional grooming may be needed during the spring and fall seasons, when shedding increases.
Scratching surfaces should be provided to help keep the nails maintained between trimmings. Check the eyes and ears for discharge or buildup, and clean the teeth regularly to prevent periodontal disease.
Common Health Problems
The Manx is a pretty healthy cat breed, but the spine and longer hind legs can cause health concerns:
- Tail area sensitivity
- Spinal defects
- Neurological problems
The spine should be supported during transport or when picking up the cat to avoid injuries.
Is the Manx the Right Cat for You?
Manx cats are generally healthy cats with short tails. They enjoy children, other animals and become devoted to their family members.
They can act like dogs at times when playing fetch or burying their toys. They are great hunters, so rodents should never be a problem with this cat breed.
Manx cats are playful and have more energy than other cat breeds, so encouraging exercise should not be an issue.
Grooming requirements are average, although more grooming will be required during periods of high shedding or if your cat appears in cat shows.
They can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time, so consider this when deciding if your schedule will allow the time to interact with your new pet. If these qualities sound appealing to you, a Manx might be a great cat breed to consider.
Adopt, Don’t Buy
Purebred cats can and do end up in shelters and rescues. Start with our adoptable pet search (choose the cat tab) or check your local rescues and shelters. If you do decide to check out breeders, get to know them, ensure they are not operating a kitten mill and require a health certificate for your Manx because of the potential for spinal problems.
- The International Cat Association’s Manx Page
- Cat Fanciers’ Association Manx Page