Cymric Cats

Is Tail-Challenged Bred Just a Long-Haired Manx?

The Cymric cat, pronounced “kim-rik,” has had its origins questioned for some time now. Actually, since the breed first made its appearance centuries ago on the Isle of Man.

Is the Cymric really a longhaired Manx? A mutant breed? Or an intentional breed created by Canadian cat fanciers?

While the debate continues, this affectionate, affable cat that has found its way into homes worldwide.

Cymric cat

Many historians believe it’s no coincidence that the Cymric cat appeared on the same island as the Manx—and looks quite a bit like a Manx, with the exception of its long hair.

Manx cats surfaced on the Isle of Man, a small island located in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland, centuries ago, perhaps accompanying Viking settlers or the Spanish Armada.

At the time considered a mutation due to the absence of a traditional tail, the Manx cat has been the subject of island folklore since Isle residents took notice of the breed. One legend says that while Noah was filling the ark, he hastily shut the door and caught the tail of a Manx. The other says that mothers bit the tails off their Manx kittens to keep the invading Scandinavians from snatching them off to don as trophies on their helmets.

The Manx cat has been so beloved by the island’s residents that in 1971 the government put a picture of the Manx on one of its coins and has also been featured on a stamp.

While the Cymric cat may be considered a relatively “new” breed on the scene by cat fanciers, historians note that longhaired Manx cats have been present on the Isle of Man for centuries, so it’s not without merit to believe that the Cymric—long thought to be the longhair version of the Manx—has been around as long as the Manx itself.

Those who tie the two breeds together believe the Cymric is simply a variation of the Manx possessing a recessive longhair gene.

Others believe that the breed actually originated in Canada in the early 1960s, bred intentionally by cat fanciers.

Sometimes referred to as the longhaired Manx or the Manx longhair, the Cymric got its name from breeders Blair Wright and Leslie Falteisek, who wanted to give the breed a Welsh-sounding name (meaning “Wales”).

While the Cymric currently is recognized as a breed of its own by many cat associations, some, such as the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) in 1994, have decided to group it with the Manx breed as a longhair variety.

Cymric cats are highly interactive, preferring the company of people and other pets, such as dogs. Like their canine counterparts, Cymrics can learn to perform tricks and are known to be very playful.

It has been noted that this breed gets along very well with children, revealing a gentle disposition and affectionate mannerisms.

Powerful jumpers—one likely characteristic attributed to their muscular build—the Cymric likes to find high place to perch, including on the backs of its owners.

Considered a highly intelligent cat, the Cymric is not a typically demanding breed, and will entertain itself if human or pet companionship is not readily available. One such form of entertainment: water. Like the Manx, Cymrics can often be found playing with water.

Cymric cat

Like the Manx cat, Cymric cats are medium to large-sized, weighing on average between seven and 13 pounds. Their medium-long, dense fur coat makes the breed look larger than it actually is.

The breed can be born with a variety of colors and patterns as well as eye color, which has been documented as cooper, hazel, green and blue.

The Cymric cat is actually born with one of four types of tail: rumpy, rumpy-riser, stumpy and longy. Cats classified as rumpy are completely tailless. Rumpy-risers have a short knob of a tail; stumpies have a curved or kinked tail stump; and longies have tails that are nearly as long as that of a normal cat.

While these medical conditions are generally uncommon they are known to occur in the breed. Your Cymric cat will not necessarily develop any of the conditions listed below. Choosing a reputable breeder from which to purchase your pet will help minimize the risks.

  • Sacrocaudal dysgenesis refers to the dominant gene causing the lack of a traditional tail in Cymric cats. The gene, also called Manx syndrome, causes varying degrees of taillessness, some of which can be fatal. In severely affected cats, there are serious spinal defects including a gap in the last few vertebrae, fused vertebrae, or spina bifida in newborns. Neurological deficiencies such as fecal or urinary incontinence and in-coordination of the rear legs are often the result of these spinal defects. Clinical signs of Sacrocaudal dysgenesis are typically obvious within the first six months if not immediately at birth.

As with any pet, be sure to regularly consult a veterinarian for routine care and medical advice for your four-legged friend.