The Manx cat is tailless, its body breaking off at the end with a seemingly abrupt finish. But, this cat is anything but limited by its lack of a tail. If anything, the Manx cat makes up for its missing tail with an endless supply of love and affection for its owners.
Originating on the Isle of Man, the Manx cat is legendary. There are numerous stories about how these darling cats lost their tails - from getting it stuck in the door of Noah's ark to having its tail severed as a prize by Viking invaders, the Manx's lack of a tail is steeped in tall tales.
A popular Isle of Man fairy tale, first published in 1911, says the cat arrived at Noah's ark late because she was out mousing and when Noah shut the door, it closed on the cat's tail. Another story tells of the King of the Cats, a simple Manx housecat by day, but a regal King by night who stalks the streets and commands his army.
Of course, the boring truth is that the lack of a tail is caused simply by a genetic defect that was able to spread and propagate on the isolated Isle of Man. Not nearly as exciting as stories about rabbit-cat hybrids or losing its tail escaping from Spanish shipwrecks, but definitely more accurate.
Though the taillessness was originally caused by a genetic change, the Manx cat is recognized as a distinct breed - and a highly prized one at that. They are bred in the United States, Britain, Europe and, of course, the Isle of Man. That said, the breed has become increasingly popular all over the world thanks to its fun-loving personality and sociable nature.
Many residents of Man consider the cat to be a unique symbol for their island home and their breeding is taken very seriously. While any cat can be born without a tail, it takes something else to be deemed a true Manx. The cat must have long back legs, a true double coat, sturdy and compact build and absolutely no tail.
If a Manx is born with a bump where the tail should be, it is called a "Stumpy," often considered to be an inferior breed, but they still make magnificent pets. True Manx cats, those born without any tail at all are often referred to as a "Rumpy," and can be sold for a higher price.
When it comes to personality, the Manx cat is known for its playfulness, high-spirited nature and love of water. Many owners think of the Manx as charming and almost dog-like in its willingness to play games, and even learn simple commands. The Manx loves to be a part of the family, and any owner will tell you they love humans. My family had a Manx named Kirby who loved to play fetch with a rolled up ball of paper and would hop up on the bathroom cabinet to watch me shave every morning.
If you're looking for a cat that's sociable, loves children, and enjoys playing and snuggling, then the tailless Manx cat may be just right for you. Look for a qualified and sincere breeder in your area or try a pet classifieds website to find the perfect Manx for your family.
CS Swarens is the president of Find a Pet Online. 800 998-7065
For additional information on dogs, cats, birds, horses, and exotic pets visit the internet's pet resource including pet classifieds at http://www.findapetonline.com