There are many legends and myths surrounding the origin of the Manx cat. Much of these stories are inspired by the Manx cat’s rather unique feature, or lack thereof: it has no tail.
As one story goes, the Manx cat was said to have lost its tail when Noah accidentally cut it off when he closed the door to his Ark. According to the legend, the Manx cat was almost left behind because it was playing outside.
Another tale says that Manx cats were descended from cats kept in the ship by homesick sailors. Later, a storm got them shipwrecked off the coast of the Isle of Man (where Manx cats are said to have originated). These tailless cats managed to survive and swam to shore for refuge in the warm houses of locals.
There is another version that Manx cats are descendants of Annamite cats which were introduced to Burma several hundred years ago. Other believed that the breed comes from Siam and Malaya, where cats with kinked, knotted and short tails abound.
While all this makes for fascinating bedtime stories, those are all they are: stories.
The Tailless Gene
It turns out that this tailless characteristic of Manx cats is a genetic defect that has been around for nearly as long as the breed has been in existence. The condition affects the spine of the Manx cat, causing the abnormally short tail and often even no tail at all.
When two tailless genes occur in the same cat, the result could be fatal. It appears that in order for the cat to survive, it must have only one gene that carries the tailless characteristic. For this reason, Manx cat breeders are careful not to breed two tailless Manx cats, as the resultant litter of Manx kittens has very little chance of surviving.
What Is A Manx Cat Like As A Pet?
The Manx cat breed started out as a “working” cat breed. On first blush, the Manx cat looks strong and hardy. Its fierce independence yet gentle disposition makes it both the perfect pet to be kept indoors and the dedicated hunter comfortable in the wild outdoors.
Despite its independent nature, Manx cats are very people-oriented. In fact, many cat owners call them “dog cats” because of their friendly and affectionate manners. A Manx cat has no qualms about following you around the house. Like Velcro, they tend to stick by you, never hesitating to “help” with any activity you happen to be engaged in.
When trying to decide which cat to pick in a group of Manx cats for sale, try to look for one that seems the more energetic of the bunch. By “energetic,” we don’t mean the noisy one as Manx cats are known for their quiet dispositions. Even females in full blow heat are quieter than most other breeds of cats. Instead of the grating meowing that Siamese cats are known to make, Manx cats have a distinct “trill” which mothers use when “talking” with their Manx kitten.
However, Manx cats tend to be quiet, their protective nature does not make them averse to making the occasional noise when they are alerted to an unusual noise or a disturbance. When in their “guard” mode, Manx cats make low growling noises. When threatened, the Manx cat may even attack, just like a dog would.
How Does A Manx Cat React To Children?
Because of their even tempers, Manx cats make great pets for children, including the younger ones. They are usually very tolerant and their size and tough nature allow them to withstand hard “play” or rough handling. Still, it is a good idea to make children understand that cats do get hurt and should be taught how to play with cats in a gentler way.