The Manx Cat Genetic Mutation
The Manx breed of cat is most known for it's genetic mutation, taillessness. This genetic mutation causes some of it's off spring to be born tailless. The genetic mutation doesn't always occur in every kitten born in every litter. Various tail lengths are normal to see in the same litter. Registered Manx born with full tails who are bred to another true, genetically proven, registered Manx born with a full tail have always produced registered kittens with full tails, in my cattery. Kittens born with the tailless mutation can sometimes have health issues or weakness in the hind quarters, due to the shortened spine. Kittens born tailless in my cattery are monitored closely to be certain the tailless mutation doesn't interfere with their health, soundness and quality of life. Most of today's registered breeders keep detailed records on the bloodlines, genetic mutations and offspring they produce in their breeding programs. It's very important to me that such kittens/cats with noted problems are not used in my breeding program. It is possible to eliminate undesired traits being passed on by keeping strict breeding practices and records. I devote my time breeding the true, genetically proven, registered Manx cat for sound bloodlines, charming personalities and solid bone structure. I've been very successful at avoiding the unwanted health issues associated with this breed. The Manx is a wonderful breed of cat, I'm so proud to be a part of preserving it for future generations. I couldn't imagine myself doing anything else that will have so much meaning and impact on future generations to come.
Something to keep in mind is that not all breeders have the same philosophies. This is where time should be spent doing some research on this breed, breeders and the cat you chose to bring into your family and heart. I've provided some advice on helping you chose a reputable breeder below. I am far from being an expert and can only speak from my breeding experience. However, I think my experiences with the breed give me an edge over the average person seeking a Manx cat. The best piece of advice I feel I can give anyone is a reputable, true, genetically proven, registered breeder is always your best source when it comes to acquiring a tailless cat!
What Is A "Domestic Tailless" Cat?
You'll notice I mention the words "true" and "genetically proven" alot. Thats because the genetic mutation that causes the registered Manx cat to be born without a tail can happen in "any cat". This happening in "any cat" does not then make the off spring of "any cat" born without a tail a Manx breed cat. Those tailless off spring of "any cat" are what should more correctly be referred to as "domestic tailless" cats. Domestic tailless cats descendants are usually unknown and cannot be traced like that of the registered Manx cats who originated on the Isle of Man, thus the name Manx (Man) cat. There is a now a genetic marker true Manx have. It was discovered by UC Davis using known true registered Manx compared to domestic tailless and tailed Manx who didn't carry the tailless gene.
"If short hair cats with unknown ancestors are referred to as being "domestic short hairs" and long hair cats with unknown ancestors are referred to as being "domestic long hairs", why then don't shelters and Vets refer to cats who are born tailless or short tailed with unknown ancestors as being "domestic tailless"? There are many reasons why this is not done, I'll touch upon a few in the order I most find this mistake to happen.
1. Sometimes shelters and rescues organizations have little or no knowledge of specific cat breeds. They aren't aware tailless or short tailed alone does not make a cat a Manx breed cat. They often operate with inexperienced volunteers and personal who don't know cat breed characteristics. They associate "any" tailless cat to the Manx breed.
Reasoning behind continuing to do so right or wrong calling these cats Manx is due to their uniqueness (in not having a tail). It has helped find homes for such tailless cats in the past so they continue. Please "be aware" just because they said it's a Manx cat based on it being tailless that in no way actually makes it a Manx breed cat. Unless, they're certain it was a registered cat to begin with it's anyone guess, sorry to disappoint. It's a funny thing, in the years I've been breeding registered Manx I've been contacted to help find homes for such rescued domestic tailless cats, never have I been contacted by any shelter or rescue to help find a home for a tailed cat being called a Manx.
2. Veterinarians knowledge and opinions are generally trusted and respected. However, often they mislabel domestic tailless cats as being Manx. This is usually based solely on the information known to everyone about the breed, Manx cats are tailless.
Veterinarians are educated to know animals health issues, they cannot honestly look at a tailless cat and say it's a Manx, especially if that opinion is based on it being tailless or "looking" like a Manx. I have hands on experience with this breed, (although asked to do so on a weekly basis) I can't look at a cat and tell if it's a Manx tailless or not. If it looks like a Manx, it doesn't mean it's a Manx. I've produced registered Manx kittens that don't "look" like a Manx. They have full tails with long lanky bodies, but they are 100% registered Manx.
3. Back yard breeders are breeding unregistered domestic tailless cats and selling them to unsuspecting owners as Manx. Listen up here people!!!! Not every tailless cat is a Manx, ok? Often times these cats turn out to be the unsound and unhealthy ones the Manx breed is being blamed for having health issues. These cats parents are often unknown as is their history. If this cat turns out with health issues do you really think the person you got it from cares, not usually. They got their money and the cat is now your problem.
This continues because these individuals have found a market for their product and have a demand to fill. Their sole purpose is to turn a profit from their deceitfulness, they don't care what the health and quality of life the animal gets is like. There is a HUGE difference between the true, genetically proven, registered Manx cat and professional Manx breeder and a domestic tailless cat and back yard breeder. To some it doesn't matter, all they're looking for is a cat without a tail and that's fine, I wish them the best. For those who didn't know this information I offer you the truth, clear and precise. Don't allow yourself to be fooled into thinking that the tailless cat you have is actually a Manx when it's not registered. Unless of course it came right from the Isle of Man, no papers needed for that and from what Im told these days all those whole cats on the Isle are being spayed and neutered. THIS IS A RARE BREED BECOMING RARER, EVEN WHERE THEY ORIGINATED FROM.
Registered Manx vs."Domestic Tailless"
It tugs at my heart to mention the countless emails and calls from wonderful, caring people looking for advice and answers (whom I'd be honored own one of my registered Manx) because they went about getting a tailless cat from the wrong person or place and have had nothing but grief as a result. Some of the most common places domestic tailless cats are acquired from are(in no particular order) a barn/farm (indiscriminate breeding of any cat hurts everyone. Disease can be rampant with outside cats in alleys and on farms. The Feline Leukemia vaccine is only 75% effective against feline Leukemia. There is still a 25% chance any cat exposed will come down with the virus. Often cats are dropped off, the city/farmer cannot afford to inoculated or alter all of them. They will die very young, suffering or worse are left whole to repeat the cycle and pass on the diseases.), found abandoned (usually it was abandoned for a reason and it's not always due to not wanting to care for it.), the SPCA/Humane Society(As I mentioned above, these organizations mean well when they label a tailless/short tailed cat a Manx in the interest of finding a home for the cat. However, still if no heritage can be verified your getting a domestic tailless cat, not a true Manx cat.) Often times the case is these cats are adopted and the person is completely unaware of the problems this type of genetic mutation can cause in their cat, especially from domestic tailless parents until long after they've had the cat and problems arise. These cats are the ones who most often have health issues and it's blamed on the Manx breed as a whole. There have been books written about the Manx breed stating it is not a healthy breed, I must strongly disagree with those studies. Registered breeders are the best source for information on the Manx cat and it's health. Over the years, dedicated Manx breeders have been able to breed away from certain types of unwanted genetic problems in the breed. I'm one of a growing number of blessed registered Manx breeders to have successfully been breeding Manx with a low occurrence of unwanted genetic mutation related health issues. My experience is that the registered Manx cat is a much healthier cat than a domestic tailless cat and will be your best investment.
Let's assume from here on you've made your mind up you want a registered Manx cat. SMART CHOICE! I get a lot of inquiries from people who are looking to purchase a Manx, but want to be frugal about the amount they invest. I don't blame them, so let's make every penny count. Price comparison is natural, each person has their ideal range, most breeders are willing to work with potential owners to determine this. You can find varying priced Manx as well as other Manx breeders. However, I'd like to caution you on several things, while looking for a Manx/breeder that is within your price range or area don't be so intent on that exact price/place or breeder that it becomes more "price/place/breeder" shopping and you find yourself purchasing based solely on that. Don't over look the need to be cautious about what your getting, sometimes it's true, it's best to pass up a lower priced Manx, pay a little more, to have piece of mind down the road and get what you want. It's not unlike buying generic as to name brand. Simply put, on the outside you get the same thing but the quality in the higher priced item is better and it lasts much longer. You my pay less for a domestic tailless cat than a registered Manx however, don't expect them to have the same personality and breed traits as a true Manx would have. Remember, buy from a reputable registered Manx breeder who is very picky about the cats they use in their breeding program and what they produce, you can't go wrong. If looking for a pet Manx you should ask the breeder for a "pet quality". If you insist on it being tailless, you can expect to pay more. Tailless kittens are hard to come by, they are usually show and breed quality, breeders could ask more for them based on their confirmation. If you choose wisely whom you purchase your registered Manx cat from there should be no problems or horror stories from you.
Finding A Reputable Breeder
Be sure to first educate yourself as much as possible about the Manx breed and it's genetic mutations before you begin your search. Your new Manx will be your next family member, make it a good investment that is both rewarding and enjoyable.
- Don't be concerned with the geographical closeness between you and the breeder, it usually doesn't matter. Kittens are easily shipped these days and tolorate it very well.
- Don't buy your kitten from a breeder that has a large amount of kittens available to choose from at one time. Illnesses are more prone to occur in kittens in these cattery situations due to over population and stress. These situations may be the result of poor breeding standards and lack of responsibility to their breeding stock on the breeders part. It's best not to have too many females or over breed your females so they produce healthy, sound, vibrant kittens.
- Seek registered breeders who have dedicated themselves to bettering the breed and who activly show their cats. These breeders usually have show quality stock they use for breeding and should have higher standards for what they produce. I always breed with the intent I'll get a nice show kitten from each litter I breed.
- A breeder should have been successfully breeding and showing the Manx breed for enough years to be on the Breed Council and their only goal should be to produce a sound, healthy registered Manx cat, not just sell kittens.
- A good breeder is one who has a written sales contract, alters cats prior to you taking them home and places kittens that are current on all shots.
- Last but not least, seek a breeder whom you can establish a good communicative relationship with should you have questions or concerns you may wish to contact that person about anytime in the future. Look for a breeder who stands behind what they breed and sell, will be there months or years down the road should you need them.
*If your still in doubt, don't know who to buy a registered Manx from, find comfort in knowing you just picked a good place to start, this Manx breeder and Karello Cattery's Manx cats. I'd be happy to talk with you about buying a Karello Manx, feel free to email me.
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