manx kitten

Manx Cat

A complete breed guide for Manx cats

Last Updated 22 JULY 2022

This breed profile is written by Pet Circle Veterinarian, Dr Katelyn Bailey BVSc

Easily recognisable by their distinctive lack of a tail, there's much more to the Manx than meets the eye. This friendly, affectionate breed more than makes up for its taillessness with a loving, unique personality that's sure to keep everyone in the family entertained! Read on for more information about the Manx and how to best care for these one-of-a-kind cats.


Facts About the Manx

History of the breed

Physical Characteristics


Nutritional Requirements

Common Health Problems

Fun Facts

Further reading

Facts about the Manx

Place of origin: Life expectancy: Other names:
Isle of Man 10 to 14 years Rumpy, Longy, Rumpy Riser, Stumpy
Energy level: Tendency to vocalise: Coat colours:
Moderate Moderate Variable; variety of colours possible
Coat type: Size: Coat markings:
Short, thick double coat 3.5 - 5.5kg Variable
Shedding factor: Overall grooming needs: Eye colour:
Moderate Moderate Variable

Manx History

The exact origin of the Manx is unknown, but some different myths and theories have surfaced over the years. One legend has it that the Manx was the last animal to enter Noah's Ark and was a little too slow about it, resulting in her tail getting stuck in the door!

Most sources speculate that tailless cats sailed with the Spanish Armada in the 1500s and were then shipwrecked on the Isle of Man, an island off the coast of Britain.The Isle of Man was also a popular stop on trade routes, meaning that the original Manx cats may have come from as far afield as Asia, Russia or Eastern Europe.

This isolation on the Isle of Man led to continual breeding within a small and limited population- perfect conditions for the tailless gene to persist throughout the generations.

Manx Physical Characteristics

manx cat in profile

If we had to use one word to describe the Manx, it would be 'round'!

The breed is compact and stocky, with a rounded head, round eyes and widely spaced ears. Sadly, while inheriting two copies of the tailless Manx gene proves to be fatal, cats that inherit one copy of the gene will display the tail-altering effects. Tail length can be variable, ranging from the complete absence of any tail vertebrae (giving a 'classic' Manx appearance- this is called 'rumpy'), to an almost full-length tail (called 'longy'). A short, hardly visible tail is a 'rumpy riser', while a slightly longer tail is called a 'stumpy'.

Despite their lack of a tail, the Manx is still quite good at jumping thanks to its powerful hind legs which are a little longer than the forelimbs. This gives the rump a noticeably rounded appearance.

The Manx has a short, thick double coat that needs regular brushing to remove any loose hair that may get trapped beneath the top coat. Like many breeds, often shedding - and therefore grooming requirements - are increased in the warmer months.

Top Grooming Products for Manx Cats

Manx Personality

dog and cat playing on grass

The Manx is an intelligent, playful, affectionate breed that enjoys attention and tends to be people-oriented - some like to talk to their humans with their unique 'trilling' meow, usually while following them around the house!

Like most cats, the Manx enjoys having a predictable routine while still enjoying some mental challenges. They are generally placid and quite sociable with other animals, and if introduced when they're young, they often readily accept the company of other cats and dogs.

Enrichment toys are a great tool to help keep your Manx entertained and mentally challenged. Changing or switching out toys on a regular basis will ensure they always have something new to explore and enjoy!

Top toys and accessories for Manx Cats

Manx Diet and Nutrition

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The Manx cat is a unique breed, but is still taxonomically within the domestic feline species, so their nutritional demands don't differ too much from other cats. It's recommended to feed a premium kitten food up until 12 months of age.

From 12 months onwards, controlled amounts of a high-quality adult diet are recommended. A lot of Manx love their food and can easily gain a little extra weight, so if your Manx is less active or enjoys an indoor lifestyle, we recommend a 'Light' or 'Indoor' formulation which can help with weight control.

Dry food is beneficial for maintaining good dental health, while wet food helps to ensure your Manx is well-hydrated, so in a healthy cat we recommend feeding a mixture of both.

Top dry foods for adult Manx

Top wet foods for adult Manx cats

Manx Health Concerns

manx cat sunbaking

Manx are predisposed to a few health conditions including Manx Syndrome, Corneal dystropy and arthritis.

Corneal Dystrophy

Corneal dystrophy is a disease of the eyes affecting some Manx cats. It is assumed to be inherited in certain lines of the breed, though it's unknown exactly what genetic marker is associated with the condition. It becomes noticeable at around 4 months of age and appears as a cloudiness of the eyes that progresses with time.

Manx Syndrome

Manx syndrome is an inherited condition that leads to developmental abnormalities of the end of the spine and/or spinal cord. While most Manx cats (especially 'rumpies') do have some degree of deformity in this area, most of the time this does not cause any issues.

Cats with Manx syndrome can show neurological deficits that affect the hind limbs, such as a wobbly hind limb gait or difficulty walking, and can also have potentially life-threatening issues with faecal and/or urinary incontinence. Signs are often present within the first few months of life and may continue to progress. There is no treatment and it's recommended not to breed any parents or siblings of affected cats.

Manx Kittens

If you're interested in purchasing a Manx kitten, it's important to check with the breeder whether there is any familial history of inherited health conditions such as Manx syndrome or corneal dystrophy. As these conditions may not become apparent until up to 4 months of age, some breeders may prefer not to adopt out Manx kittens until after this age so they can ensure they are not affected by these diseases. For more information, check out our article on How to Find a Good Breeder.


As mentioned above, many Manx cats do have deformities of the rump and tail region, including malformed tail vertebrae in 'stumpies'. Even if this doesn't lead to the neurological deficits seen in Manx syndrome, it does mean that many Manx cats are prone to developing arthritis in the tail which can be painful and debilitating. While arthritis cannot be cured or completely prevented in at-risk pets, we can slow its progression with the use of joint supplements which contain ingredients proven to support joint health.

The best joint supplements for Manx cats

Manx Fun Facts

manx cat lying on bed

  • The Manx is one of the oldest known cat breeds
  • A common misconception is that Manx cats have issues with balance due to their taillessness, however as balance is primarily controlled by the inner ear this is incorrect
  • The Cymric breed shares many characteristics with the Manx but has a longer coat, causing it to often be referred to as 'the long-haired Manx'. It also developed on the Isle of Man (in fact, some cat registries consider it to be a variation of the Manx rather than a separate breed) and then started to be intentionally bred in Canada in the 1960s
  • Stimpy from 'The Ren and Stimpy Show' is a Manx cat
  • The Manx's rounded tailless rump and long back legs, as well as its unusual hopping gait, led some to give it the nickname 'cabbit' for its rabbit-like qualities
  • In another animal comparison, the Manx is often described as having a 'dog-like' personality much like their larger cousin the Norwegian Forest Cat.

Further Reading

Want to read more? Check out our other articles:

Games you can play with your cat

Arthritis in cats

Teach your cat to walk on a lead

Dental care for cats

How to tell if your cat loves you

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