Is this breed for me?
Manx are sometimes called a man’s cat. If you are a dog lover the Manx is a good cat to purchase. They are more dog-like in their behavior than any other cat we know. You can teach them to fetch, they usually love rides in the car (truck drivers love them as companions), and they are drawn to water like a duck. They are easily leash trained and you can teach them to come by name or with a whistle. Loyal and people-oriented, most Manx are also easily reprimanded and learn the “no” command quickly.
If you like a tailed cat, or a cat that doesn’t interact often with you, or if you are interested in a more exotic version of a cat – slim and lithe or very long-haired or large, or if you are looking for a vocal, high-energy cat, the Manx is not for you. Some people expect a Manx to look like a lynx. The Manx breeders today breed for a medium-sized, sweet and intelligent cat.
How old should my Manx kitten be when I get it?
Any age after 4 months. By that time you may be reasonably certain that you are getting a kitten free from any unsoundness. The exception would be a dock-tailed kitten, which a breeder might place in a new home at around 3 months. It is extremely rare for a docktail to suffer from any bladder/bowel incontinence not connected with some entirely different health issue such as cancer or kidney failure.
How are Manx cats with other members of the family–children, seniors, etc.?/
Manx are friendly and loving to members of the family other than their primary care-giver. Though they do tend to pick a “special person,” they get on well with children (if introduced to the household young enough), and their placid natures make them especially good with older family members.
How do Manx get on with other family pets?
Manx get along with other cats well, and usually adapt easily to dogs, large or small. They are also known to live quietly with other types of pets, such as birds or fish. It would not be wise, however, to simply “spring” a kitten on the other pets in a household, but rather go through several days or even a couple of weeks of introductions and close supervision before letting everybody mingle indiscriminately.
Should I have a pet companion for my Manx?
Like most pets, a Manx will benefit from having “brothers and sisters”–another cat or dog, but Manx attach very closely to their people, and do not especially miss the companionship of another animal. If, however, the caregiver is generally absent from the house for the greater part of the day, another cat keeps the one from being lonely. Because they do attach so strongly to their people, it isn’t good to leave them too long alone–it’s cruel, even.
Are they intelligent?
A fairer question might be, am *I* intelligent enough to out-think them? Manx are clever cats, and do seem to have great understanding. Some Manx have learned how to open doors, and not just by pulling at the bottom, but by somehow turning the handles. They seem to understand very well what door knobs are for.
Manx can make up inventive games which demonstrate their intelligence. Play time can involve retrieving small objects to be thrown again as well as mock hide and seek “attacks”. Fetching toys to be thrown again often comes quite naturally, and no training starts them doing this.
Do they purr?
Most definitely yes. Manx have a great range of vocalizations. Most Manx voices are quite soft, but they miaow and purr and most distinctively, they “trill,” especially a momcat calling her kits, or any Manx calling his person.
Do they scratch the furniture?
Like any cat, Manx will scratch what feels good to them to do so. If provided with scratching posts covered in the materials they prefer (sisal rope is THE excellent choice for this), they will learn to use those posts if one is patient in putting them in front of the post and praising them for using it. A squirt bottle or water pistol can be quite effective in keeping them from scratching forbidden objects.
Are they noisy?
Manx have very quiet little voices for their size and weight. You are more likely to hear them running than you are to hear them vocalizing, unless it is a male and female calling each other, or a female calling her kittens. They do like to chase each other, so hearing the thunder of furry feet is usually the disturbance the Manx owner is used to.
Do they have bad habits?
It isn’t a bad habit so much as it is an unavoidable situation. Because rumpy Manx have no tails, sometimes “poop” will cling to the close-lying hairs around the anus. This in turn may be smeared on the floor or whatever the cat climbs onto after visiting the litter box. If the cat’s diet is such that it produces very soft stools, this can happen fairly regularly. The “cure” for this is to watch what you feed your cat; don’t change the cat’s diet drastically or suddenly–gradually introduce new foods into the cat’s menu and watch for any reaction to it. A little plain yogurt helps digestion. “Poopy butt” occurs with most breeds at some time or another–especially longhairs; it’s only that the Manx hair surrounds the anus so closely that makes it more susceptible. Once you find a food your cat likes and tolerates well, stick with it.
Which makes a better pet–male or female?
If the cat is spayed or neutered, the sex of the cat is of little import in deciding which to choose as a pet. In most markets, it costs less to neuter a male than to spay a female. Either gender is loving and sweet-natured when raised in a loving home. If you plan to show your pet in the championship (or “whole” cat) class, you probably would be happier with a male than a female, since being around males will bring a female into season and make her grouchy at the shows. On the other hand, a whole male will most likely spray throughout the house, and the smell of a whole male is extremely pungent.
Unless you plan to breed your cat (and the only reason to do that would be if you have a top show-cat with excellent genes to pass on, and you intend to become a breeder yourself), it would be best to spay or neuter and show in the premier classes altogether. Either sex can be successful in premier classes if the type is good. Neither males nor females are more or less likely to adapt to showing based on sex alone.
Should the cat be allowed outdoors?
It is NEVER the best idea to allow your cat outside unsupervised, since there are so many dangers for cats outside the home. Even the most intelligent cats do not possess an IQ much higher than that of the average 3-year-old child. What responsible parent would allow their 3-year-old to simply go out of the house and roam wherever it wanted to? Pedigreed Manx are no less susceptible to ear mites, ringworm, rabies, feline leukemia, upper respiratory infections, larger animal attacks and being hit by wheeled vehicles than any other cat, and the worst danger of all is humans who hate cats. Manx may be trained to walk on a leash, if one feels the need to take the cat out. Generally speaking, however, the cat will not “pine” for the great outdoors, and will live a much longer, happier, and healthier life as an indoor pet – not to mention, your home will remain flea-free. Manx will love sitting in a window for hours on end, watching the world go by, and get very excited seeing birds and squirrels and such.
How long do they live?
Manx may live into their 20′s, and certainly may be expected to reach the mid to late teens as a matter of course. Once past the possibility of incontinence due to having been born unsound, the Manx is generally healthy when receiving regular veterinary care and proper diet. The Manx doesn’t fully mature until around 5 years of age, and the greatest threat to health is overweight. Because of the great depth of flank in the Manx, and the standard which calls for a large, solid cat, it may be difficult to tell if you’re overfeeding your cat. It can be hard to distinguish between depth of flank and fat. The best thing to do is to watch for panting after normal exertion–if it doesn’t stop after a short period of time, the cat probably has a weight/health problem. With neutered males, it is especially important to be alert for the possibility of crystals forming in the urine, blocking the urethra and causing swift death. There are litters that can change color to tell you if a problem exists. You should also watch to see that your male cat is not straining to urinate, or miaowing in pain while doing so. A blockage will NOT clear up of its own volition, but requires immediate attention from the veterinarian to save the cat’s life.
What do you feed the cat?
Kittens should get a high quality “growth formula” food for the first year of their lives, and adult cats need a balanced maintenance diet. It is a good idea to check the contents of any food you want to give your cat, and avoid those with high ash/magnesium/potassium content. The diet should be divided between dry and moist food, 1/4 moist to 3/4 dry. A source of fresh water should be provided at all times, and changed/filled daily.
How do I get a Manx?
There are breeder listings in Cat Fancy and Cats magazines. Doing an online internet search will turn up breeders, perhaps someone local to you. CFA maintains a breeder listing service as well. Shipping is quite common, and should not be feared, but should be approached with caution as something you do only when you fail to turn up someone within driving distance for you to actually go and meet the breeder, the kittens, the parents, and be able to choose first-hand.
Another good place to start would be to visit cat shows in your area and talk to the Manx exhibitors there to find someone with whom you feel comfortable and compatible. Your relationship with the breeder of your cat may last years, and you will want someone reliable to whom you may turn if you have questions. Different breeders may specialize in certain colors or coat lengths, and you will also see an example of the kind of cat the breeder is producing. It is usually better to purchase from a local breeder if you can. That way you can see the kitten, its parents, and the conditions the kitten is raised in. If you live in an area where there are no Manx breeders, get recommendations from other breeders. Pictures or even video tape of your new prospective kitten may be available from a breeder outside your area.
NEVER let someone give you a “manx” kitten – that is the surest path to heartbreak and great monetary outlay which almost always turns out to be in vain in the end. Do not purchase one from a pet store, or in a flea market – you have no idea how that kitten was bred, or if it is sound. Sometimes, a short period of observation doesn’t show you serious problems that may exist.
Prices for pet kittens will be less than those for show/breeder quality kittens, so you should know what quality you want, and then be prepared to ask more than one breeder about kitten availability. You may very well need to go on a “waiting list” for kittens, because litters aren’t large, and most breeders don’t produce huge numbers of kittens a year. Don’t lock yourself into the idea of any particular color; it doesn’t hurt to ask if one in your favorite color is available, but please be aware that color is the least important factor in choosing a kitten. Breeders don’t breed for color, but for soundness, health, excellent temperament, and conformity to the written breed standard. Don’t be too adamant about the gender, either, because it really has little to do with the personality of the full-grown adult alter.
If you think you have a wish to enter into the world of the cat fancy as a breeder – DO YOUR HOMEWORK and don’t just leap into the fray without talking, studying, and talking some more to established breeders. NEVER think that cat breeding is a nice way to make a little money on the side – it is not that in any way, shape or form. The hobby/professional breeder spends far more than any kitten sales will ever bring in, and does what he/she does out of deep love for the breed, and a desire to have top show cats with one’s cattery name on them. The outlay for caring for the cattery includes (but is not limited to) vet bills, food bills, litter bills, building and maintaining a well-run physical plant for the cats, show expenses (travel, hotels, entry fees, supplies, etc…and that etc. can cost as much as the rest put together!). Registering kittens, registering your cattery, joining the breed council, purchasing association publications and forms and whatnot, joining and participating in a local cat club – all of these things also are good ideas (not NECESSARY but certainly advisable). Good people are needed in the cat fancy – people with love for all things feline, with the desire to be a part of a special world, with the intention of being responsible and honorable in the pursuit of their hobby. Work is involved. Disappointments must be met and dealt with (emergency c-sections on your favorite queen, loss of kittens, rushing a cat to the emergency clinic because it is mysteriously sick, potential show cats that don’t turn out like you thought they would, selling or not selling cats – either can be painful!). Having said all that, weighing in on the other side is the enormous pride in having done it RIGHT, and seeing your cat standing up on the judging table being awarded a gorgeous rosette and being able to answer YES! when the judge asks if you bred this cat yourself. And not least of all, sending one of your cherished babies (born into your hand in your home) into someone else’s home and life, to become a loving companion.