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Manx cat

Description: Regarded almost as an emblem of the Isle of Man, the Manx cat derives from a spontaneous genetic mutation which has since been selectively bred to produce the breed characteristics of taillessness, stocky build and long back legs. In effect, the cats are born without (or with very few) tail bones. They are surprisingly agile animals with a distinctive gait and are said to be good mousers.

Not all manx cats are born without a tail; the length can vary, even in the same litter. A completely tailless cat is called a 'rumpy', while one with a short stump is known as a 'stumpy'. Some Manx cats are born with normal, long tails. Their coat can be almost any colour that you would find in a traditional short-haired breed, eg. tabby, tortoiseshell, black and white. Long-haired Manx cats are known as 'cymrics', especially in the USA, where the breed is popular.

Folklore traditions have given rise to a number of stories about how the Manx cat lost its tail. One is that Noah, anxious to close the ark's door as the rain started to come down, accidentally closed it on the tail of a cat which had left it rather later to board the ship. Another story is that a cat with no tail came from a ship from the Spanish Armada which sank off the south coast of the Isle of Man. Even more daft was the notion that the breed is the result of a cat being crossed with a rabbit!

Date found: 2005-07-18

Taxonomic name: Felis catus

Collection: Natural History Zoology Collection

ID number: 2007-0021


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