Manx Cat

The Manx is a breed of cats with a naturally occurring mutation of the spine. This mutation shortens the tail, resulting in a range of tail lengths from normal to tailless. Many Manx have a small ‘stub’ of a tail, but Manx cats are best known as being entirely tailless and it is the distinguishing characteristic of the breed and a cat body type genetic mutation.

Manx Cat with distinguishing stumpy tail

The Manx breed originated on the Isle of Man (hence the name), where they are common. They are called ‘stubbin’ in the Manx language.

They are an old breed, and these tailless cats were common on the island as long as three hundred years ago. The taillessness arises from a genetic mutation that became common on the island (apparently an example of the ‘Founder’ effect). The Manx tailless gene is dominant and highly transferable from generation to generation; kittens from Manx parents are generally born without any tail.

Having two copies of the gene is lethal to the animal and kittens are usually spontaneously aborted before birth in these cases. This means that tailless cats can carry only one copy of the gene. Because of the danger of having two copies of the tailless gene, breeders have to be careful about breeding two tailless Manxes together. Problems can be avoided by breeding tailless cats with tailed ones and this breeding practice is responsible for the decreasing occurrence of spinal problems in recent years.

There are various legends that seek to explain why the Manx has no tail.

In one of them, Noah closed the door of the ark when it began to rain and accidentally cut off the Manx’s tail, who’d been playing and almost got left behind. Another legend claims that the Manx is the offspring of a cat and a rabbit which is why it has no tail and rather long hind legs. In addition, they move with more of a hop than a stride, like a rabbit. This legend was further reinforced by the ‘Cabbit’ myth.

Recent postcards on the Isle of Man depict a cartoon scene of a cat’s tail being run over and removed by a motorbike, because motorbike racing is popular on the Island.

Long Haired Manx Cat

In appearance the hind legs of a Manx are longer than the front legs, creating a continuous arch from shoulders to rump giving the cat a rounded appearance.

Manx kittens are classified according to tail length:

* Dimple rumpy or rumpy – no tail whatsoever * Riser or rumpy riser – stub of cartilage or several vertebrae under the fur, most noticeable when kitten is happy and raising its ‘tail’ * Stumpy – partial tail, more than a ‘riser’ but less than ‘tailed’ (in rare cases kittens are born with kinked tails because of incomplete growth of the tail during development) * Tailed or longy – complete or near complete tail

Breeders have reported all tail lengths even within the same litter.

The ideal show Manx is the rumpy; the stumpy and tailed Manx do not qualify to be shown. In the past, kittens with stumpy or full tails have been docked at birth as a preventative measure due to some partial tails being very prone to a form of arthritis that causes the cat severe pain.

Manx cats exhibit two coat lengths. The short-haired Manx has a double coat with a thick, short under-layer and a longer, coarse outer-layer with guard hairs. The long-haired Manx, known to some cat registries as the Cymric, has a silky-textured double coat of medium length, with britches, belly and neck ruff, tufts of fur between the toes and full ear furnishings. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) considers the Cymric to be a variety of Manx and judges it in the short-hair division, while The International Cat Association (TICA) judges it in the long-hair division. Short- or long-haired, all Manx have a thick double-layered coat.

In health the pedigreed Manx cats today are much healthier and have fewer health issues related to their genetics than the Manx of years ago. This is due in part to the careful selection of breeding stock, and knowledgeable, dedicated breeders. Manx have been known to live into their mid to late teens and are no less healthy than other cat breeds.

Like any other cat, keeping Manx cats indoors, neutering or spaying, and providing acceptable surfaces for the cat’s normal scratching behavior are vital to lengthen the life of any cat.

Turkish Van

The Turkish Van (Turkish: Van Kedisi, Armenian: Վանա կատու) is a rare, naturally occurring breed of cat from the Lake Van region of present-day Turkey. For Turkish Vans, the word van refers to their color pattern, where the color is restricted to the head and the tail, and the rest of the cat is white. It is the maximum expression of the piebald white spotting gene that makes the van pattern. The spotting gene appears in many different species (like the horse and ball python). It also shows up in the common house cat, so a cat that shows this color pattern but is not registered or from the Van region, is called a “Vanalike”.
Turkish Van
Turkish Van – The swimming Moggy
Characteristics The coat on a Van is considered semi-longhaired. While many cats have three distinct hair types in their coat – guard hairs, awn hairs and down hairs – the Turkish Van only has one. This makes their coat feel like cashmere or rabbit fur, and the coat dries quickly when wet. Lake Van is a region of temperature extremes and the cats have evolved a coat that grows thick in the winter with a large ruff and bottlebrush tail for the harsh winters and then sheds out short in the body for the warm summers. The full tail is kept year round. The Van is one of the larger cat breeds. The males can reach 20 lb (9 kg) and the females weigh about half of that. They have massive paws and rippling hard muscle structure which allows them to be very strong jumpers. Vans can easily hit the top of a refrigerator from a cold start on the floor. They are slow to mature and this process can take 3-5 years. Also, their fetching skills are quite good and they are quick to learn. Perhaps the most interesting trait of the breed is its fascination with water; most cat breeds dislike being immersed in water. The unusual trait may be due to the breed’s proximity to Lake Van in their native country; it may have acquired this trait due to the very hot summers and have extremely waterproof coats that make bathing them a challenge. As such, Vans have been nicknamed the “Swimming Cats” for this most unusual trait. Most Vans in the United States are indoor cats and do not have access to large bodies of water, but their love and curiosity of water stays with them. Instead of swimming they stir their water bowls and invent fishing games in the toilet. Breed standards Breed standards allow for one or more body spots as long as there is no more than 20% color and the cat does not give the appearance of a bi-color. Although red tabby and white is the classic van color, the color on a van’s head and tail can be one of the following: Red, Cream, Black, Blue, Red Tabby, Cream Tabby, Brown Tabby, Blue Tabby, Tortoiseshell, Dilute Tortoiseshell (also known as blue-cream), Brown Patched Tabby, Blue patched Tabby and any other color not showing evidence of hybridization with the pointed cats (Siamese, Himalayan, etc).

British Longhair

The British Longhair cat is a semi-longhair version of British Shorthair. Apart from fur, it is identical to the British Shorthair. The British Longhair is also known as Lowlander in U.S. and Britanica in Europe, but is not recognised in the UK as a separate breed.
The rationale for this breed is that the original longhaired British cat, through interbreeding with imported longhairs, was developed into the Persian and became increasingly massive and extreme in type and with longer, thicker fur than the early Persians. During the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, the Persian was considered the longhaired analogue of the British Shorthair (Frances Simpson’s The Book of the Cat depicts and describes the old type of Persian). During the latter part of the 20th Century a shorthaired version of the modern Persian was developed and was called the Exotic Shorthair; this was very different from the British Shorthair. It was therefore proposed that a longhaired cat of the British type be reintroduced into the cat breeds.