Manx (cat)

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The Manx (Manx: Kayt Manninagh or Stubbin) is a breed of cat with a naturally occurring mutation of the spine. This mutation shortens the tail, resulting in a range of tail lengths from normal to tail-less. Many Manx have a small "stub" of a tail, but Manx cats are best known as being entirely tail-less; this is the distinguishing characteristic of the breed and a cat body type genetic mutation. The Manx are said to be skilled hunters, known to take down larger prey even when they are young. They are often sought by farmers with rodent problems.

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Origin

The Manx breed originated before the 18th century on the Isle of Man (hence the name), where they are common. They are called stubbin in the Manx language. Tail-less cats were common on the island as long as three hundred years ago. The tail-lessness arises from a genetic mutation that became common on the island (an example of the founder effect).

Folk beliefs claim the Manx cats came from the Spanish Armada; a ship foundered on the cliffs at Spanish Head on the coast of the Isle of Man. According to legend, the cats on the ship swam ashore and became an established breed. Legend has it that the cats originally went onboard the Spanish ship in the Far East.

According to the Cat Fanciers Association, Manx cats, especially white in color, are extremely rare. In some cases, white Manx cats may be worth well over $4,000. They generally like warmer climates without snow.

The Manx tail-less gene is dominant and highly penetrant; kittens from Manx parents are generally born without any tail. Having two copies of the gene is semi-lethal and kittens are usually spontaneously aborted before birth.[1][2] This means that tail-less cats can carry only one copy of the gene. Because of the danger of having two copies of the tail-less gene, breeders have to be careful about breeding two tail-less Manxes together.[3] Problems can be avoided by breeding tail-less cats with tailed ones and this breeding practice is responsible for the decreasing occurrence of spinal problems in recent years.

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