Manx - ZNoTails Manx Cattery  

Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions | Myths and Legends | Feline Genomics
 ZNoTailz FAQsTop of Page


Select from the questions listed below:

If you have a question that is not listed here, please email us and we will answer it as soon as possible. Thank you for your interest.

Question: Can I get on a waiting list for a Manx kitten or retired Manx?Top of Page

_MANX_IMAGE_/gallery/images/gallery_581_med.jpg_We have 1 to 4 Manx litters per year. But we have three partners in other States that we recommend having wonderful Manx also. We will announce the Manx litter on our website telling about the new arrivals.

We also offer our _MANX_LINK_/mewsletter_ that I mainly use for a way to have an index for the names & email addresses for those that have inquired about wanting a Manx.
I have noticed that sometimes I will get a blank notice for subscribing to the MewsLetter....there is no way for me to track that person to tell them it was if you subscribe and do not get a confirmation email....repeat the process, we would hate to miss you!

I sometimes have phone service interruption & prefer you to contact me with emails. That way, you are in my system & we can exchange information.

If you are a fancier of the Manx and want to know about our Manx, email us with your ideas. We can get to know one another with emails, phone calls, & photos. We encourage you to visit our home & see the Manx we have. If you want to have us "hold" a certain Manx kitten for you until it is ready to leave its mom, we can accept a deposit to hold that Manx kitten.

Your deposit can be transferred to another kitten if we agree that a different kitten would be better for you [or a kitten decides for you].

If you do not live on the West coast and hesitate to fly-in for one of our Manx kittens, I can recommend Manx breeders in other states, I trust, to help you find your Manx.

Question: Can I speak to one of your clients before adopting?Top of Page

Here is a selection of ZNoTailz Manx owners commenting on their kits:
(If you are interested in speaking with any of our ZNoTailz Manx owners, _MANX_LINK_/contact/_ and I will give them your email to contact you)

Chris comments on her ZNoTailz Manx lads Cognac & Cosmo:

I don’t know if ours think we are all human, or all cats –
but no question they consider themselves full-fledged beloved children of ours, which they are.
Maybe as they take on human qualities and we take on cat ones –
we all arrive at a middle ground of new species – cat people.
They influence us to do cat-like things just like we influence them to have people behavior.

Of course! You know how strongly I feel -that if at all possible – people should get two Manx –
I can’t imagine anything more blissful than having two Manx companions – loving each other and loving you at the same time.

No one would ever call these guys “aloof”. They are glued to us in all we do.
Except for when they are napping, their little bodies are right up there with us on whatever desk, table or counter we are working on -
and their little noses are stuck right in the middle of whatever we are doing.


When we make the bed, they love to get “covered up” by each layer and then come nosing out and onto the floor, like moles.


When we shower – they have to go in as soon as the water is off and sit on the little bench in there catching drips in their mouth.
When I come out of the shower – Cognac jumps on the toilet seat and starts “yapping” and does not stop
until I pick him up and hold him up with his face next to mine and say, “you are the king, Cognac, you are the king”.
And only then is he ok being put back down.

For anything Cosmo wants – he comes and places himself right in front of us, little legs spread and dug in solid
in a four legged football kind of stance, looks us straight in the eyes, and chirps up a storm until he gets what he wants,
which of course he always does.

When we walk, they get next to us and “heel” and walk with us, literally pacing their steps to ours.
Or if we make it down the stairs before they notice – they come tearing after us and run right by us to get where we are going first.

We love this. We talk to them constantly and they talk back. We continually remark on how they are always in a great mood.
We actively miss them if they are not in our room for a while, and we go looking for them for a quick “kittie-fix”.

They do love to sprawl on their backs, stretched out, arms over their heads. Especially in front of the fireplace.
And they do enjoy a tummy rub – when they are together I must do them both at the same time.


When we get ready to leave for work you can see the dismay on their little faces. Especially if one of our suitcases comes out.
They go and sulk.
Then when we come home each night – they are waiting inside the front door and their faces just light up and they rub up against us –
and Cosmo runs and stands by his stick toy, ready to play.
In our apartment I’ve watched them wait for William to return and they literally know the sound of the elevator opening out in our hallway as a sign someone is coming.

I have taught Cosmo to do “the obstacle course” with his stick toy.
I drag it around quickly and he chases it in circles and then I take it up over the two living room chairs sitting next to each other
and he jumps up and over each of them, down the other side and then does the same thing in reverse.
Or up and over the bed in the bedroom. He just loves to run. Then I swing it up in the air and he jumps really high for it.
Sometimes he catches it in his mouth and I let go and he goes walking off with this 3 foot long stick in his mouth. I need to get a video of that for you.

[MMQ note: "I love it that Chris thinks she "TRAINED" him....when he really "TRAINED" her :-)......]

They are on our laps a lot of the time. And Cognac sleeps on top of me more than he should, as his 10 pounds are not ideal for my poor aging back – but no stopping him.
I can keep putting him off me when I’m awake but he knows to wait until I fall asleep and crawl right back on me.
When we get up in the middle of the night they both jump up and run with joy right along with us –
and purr and rub up against you as if – “thank goodness – the night is such a long time to go without getting any love.”
And of course I do a full love session before going back to sleep – how could you not?

We always welcome their love with lots of our own. We never ever ignore their reaching out to us.
And we follow the practice of “always greet your cat in the morning.”
They are just amazing little guys. We love them wholeheartedly.


Stacey, [in N.CA]:

Over many years, I've shared my home with seven ZNOTAIL Manx, five who still live with us.
They are absolute delights and I can't imagine my life without them.


They all have their own unique personalities and quirks, but they all share wonderful Manx sweetness and beauty.
Mema has a limitless understanding of Manx and is always ready with answers for any questions I might have for her.
She's as passionate about helping others with their Manx as she is about raising them.
I can't recommend this cattery enough--the cats and breeder are simply top notch!

Here are mine:



Mary in Southern California:

After waiting for over two years for a ZNoTailz Manx kitten,
I was overjoyed when Mema contacted me that she had a little baby girl for me by the name of Priss.
She is a bundle of energy and is on the go constantly.
Miss Priss has 2 brothers who are also Manx cats and her mission in life is to get them to play with her.
She'll bump into them so they will chase her and then she'll chase them back.
More or less a cat and "mouse" game for her.
She has also taught her mom to throw things over and over and over so she can fetch them.
When Priss wants mom to play with her in the middle of the night, she'll drop her favorite toy on mom's face so she'll wake up and play.
Prissy Stella knows a car trip means a visit with that "horrible vet person" (Prissy's own words) to get her yearly check-up.
Everything is great, she's grown some, and now weighs 7.8 lbs.
Prissy is beautiful, smart, headstrong, and a joy to live with (Mom's own words).


Question: Do You Understand Declawing (Onychectomy) ?Top of Page

Please just take a few minutes to research what de-clawing actually involves.

It isn't just a case of pulling the claws out - which would be painful and distressing enough. A cat's claw is closely adhered to the bone, and to remove the claw, the last joint in your cat's toes also has to be removed - it's basically an amputation of the end of each toe.

It's very painful surgery and has a long painful recovery period.

The Cat’s Claws

Unlike most mammals who walk on the soles of the paws or feet, cats are digitigrade, which means they walk on their toes. Their back, shoulder, paw and leg joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves are naturally designed to support and distribute the cat's weight across its toes as it walks, runs and climbs. A cat's claws are used for balance, for exercising, and for stretching the muscles in their legs, back, shoulders, and paws. They stretch these muscles by digging their claws into a surface and pulling back against their own clawhold - similar to isometric exercising for humans. This is the only way a cat can exercise, stretch and tone the muscles of its back and shoulders. The toes help the foot meet the ground at a precise angle to keep the leg, shoulder and back muscles and joints in proper alignment. Removal of the last digits of the toes drastically alters the conformation of their feet and causes the feet to meet the ground at an unnatural angle that can cause back pain similar to that in humans caused by wearing improper shoes.

Understanding Declawing (Onychectomy)

The anatomy of the feline claw must be understood before one can appreciate the severity of declawing. The cat's claw is not a nail as is a human fingernail, it is part of the last bone (distal phalanx) in the cat's toe. The cat’s claw arises from the unguicular crest and unguicular process in the distal phalanx of the paw (see above diagram). Most of the germinal cells that produce the claw are situated in the dorsal aspect of the ungual crest. This region must be removed completely, or regrowth of a vestigial claw and abcessation results. The only way to be sure all of the germinal cells are removed is to amputate the entire distal phalanx at the joint.

Contrary to most people's understanding, declawing consists of amputating not just the claws, but the whole phalanx (up to the joint), including bones, ligaments, and tendons! To remove the claw, the bone, nerve, joint capsule, collateral ligaments, and the extensor and flexor tendons must all be amputated. Thus declawing is not a “simple”, single surgery but 10 separate, painful amputations of the third phalanx up to the last joint of each toe. A graphic comparison in human terms would be the cutting off of a person's finger at the last joint of each finger.

Many vets and clinic staff deliberately misinform and mislead clients into believing that declawing removes only the claws in the hopes that clients are left with the impression that the procedure is a "minor" surgery comparable to spay/neuter procedures and certainly doesn't involve amputation (partial or complete) of the terminal-toe bone, ligaments and tendons. Some vets rationalize the above description by saying that since the claw and the third phalanx (terminal toe bone) are so firmly connected, they simply use the expression "the claw" to make it simpler for clients to "understand". Other vets are somewhat more honest and state that if they used the word "amputation", most clients would not have the surgery performed! Onychectomy in the clinical definition involves either the partial or total amputation of the terminal bone. That is the only method. What differs from vet to vet is the type of cutting tool used (guillotine-type cutter, scalpel or laser).

Onychectomy (Declawing) Surgery

The below is a clinical description of the the declawing surgery taken from a leading veterinary surgical textbbook. Contrary to

misleading information, declawing is not a "minor" surgery comparable to spaying and neutering procedures, it is 10, seperate, painful amputations of the distal phalanx at the joint (disjointing).

"The claw is extended by pushing up under the footpad or by grasping it with Allis tissue forceps. A scalpel blade is used to
sharply dissect between the second and third phalanx over the top of the ungual crest . The distal interphalangeal joint is
disarticulated (disjointed), and the deep digital flexor tendon is incised (severed). The digital footpad, is not incised. If a nail
trimmer is used, the ring of the instrument is placed in the groove between the second phalanx and the ungual crest. The blade
is positioned just in front of the footpad. The blade is pushed through the soft tissues over the flexor process. With the ring of
the nail trimmer in position behind the ungual crest, the blade is released just slightly so that traction applied to the claw causes
the flexor process to slip out and above the blade. At this point, the flexor tendon can be incised and disarticulation of the joint
(disjointing) completed. Both techniques effectively remove the entire third phalanx." (Excerpted from: Slatter D; Textbook of Small Animal Surgery 2nd ed vol I, p.352 W.B. Saunders Company Philadelphia.)


Declawing is not without complication. The rate of complication is relatively high compared with other so-called routine procedures. Complications of this amputation can be excruciating pain, damage to the radial nerve, hemorrhage, bone chips that prevent healing, painful regrowth of deformed claw inside of the paw which is not visible to the eye, and chronic back and joint pain as shoulder, leg and back muscles weaken.

Other complications include postoperative hemorrhage, either immediate or following bandage removal is a fairly frequent occurrence, paw ischemia, lameness due to wound infection or footpad laceration, exposure necrosis of the second phalanx, and abscess associated with retention of portions of the third phalanx. Abscess due to regrowth must be treated by surgical removal of the remnant of the third phalanx and wound debridement. During amputation of the distal phalanx, the bone may shatter and cause what is called a sequestrum, which serves as a focus for infection, causing continuous drainage from the toe. This necessitates a second anesthesia and surgery. Abnormal growth of severed nerve ends can also occur, causing long-term, painful sensations in the toes. Infection will occasionally occur when all precautions have been taken.

"Declawing is actually an amputation of the last joint of your cat's "toes". When you envision that, it becomes clear why declawing is not a humane act. It is a painful surgery, with a painful recovery period. And remember that during the time of recuperation from the surgery your cat would still have to use its feet to walk, jump, and scratch in its litter box regardless of the pain it is experiencing."

Christianne Schelling, DVM

"General anesthesia is used for this surgery, which always has a certain degree of risk of disability or death associated with it. Because declawing provides no medical benefits to cats, even slight risk can be considered unacceptable. In addition, the recovery from declawing can be painful and lengthy and may involve postoperative complications such as infections, hemorrhage, and nail regrowth. The latter may subject the cat to additional surgery." The Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR)

Two recent studies published in peer-reviewed veterinary journals (Vet Surg 1994 Jul-Aug;23(4):274-80) concluded “Fifty percent of the cats had one or more complications immediately after surgery.... 19.8% developed complications after release.” Another study (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998 Aug 1;213(3):370-3) comparing the complications of declawing with Tenectomy concluded “Owners should be aware of the high complication rate for both procedures." Many cats also suffer a loss of balance because they can no longer achieve a secure foothold on their amputated stumps.

Question: How can I be prepared for a poison emergency?Top of Page

Follow these basic steps:

  • Call your poison center at 1-800-222-1222. The poison center can send you telephone stickers or magnets with the emergency phone number. Post that number on or near your telephones.
  • If you have a poisoning emergency call 1-800-222-1222.

  • _MANX_LINK_http://www.aapcc.org_

Also here is the number for ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center:



Question: How can I tell if a kitten is healthy? How can I be sure a kitten has healthy parents?Top of Page

It's not always easy to know. Of course you should research the breeder before considering an adoption, but here are a few good "Rules of Thumb".

  • In general, Manx are healthy & robust.
  • There are some Manx Myths and Legends that have been passed around, written down, even published that have been accepted as fact. It is up to every Manx fancier to "do the work" to educate themselves about the TRUTH. For more information see our _MANX_LINK_#myths_ section.
  • When choosing your Manx, it is mandatory that the cats & kittens have clean clear eyes, noses, ears & butts. They must be walking, jumping & running with all four legs moving normally.
  • They should be easy to handle. They should have glossy coats without signs of flea dirt. You are looking for a healthy, happy, & very athletic kitten. Do not accept excuses for anything less. Never rescue a "poor" kitten.
Question: How To Select A BreederTop of Page

A large number of the kittens raised in the U.S. are raised by people who NEVER have another litter. Relatively few of these people are well informed, prepared for the experience and do a good job. They don't usually stand behind their kittens. Very few are equipped to take adequate care of all their kittens until they can be placed in good homes, regardless of how long that takes. Another LARGE PERCENTAGE of kittens are raised by "Kitten mills" that sell numerous litters of many breeds, or sell to retailers for resale.


That leaves relatively small percentages of kittens being raised by experienced people who are dedicated to one [or two breeds] and raising kittens for reasons other than maximum profit. Not all of these breeders are knowledgeable and conscientious.

How Do You Identify An Experienced and Conscientious Breeder?

  1. When you inquire about a Manx, the breeder will interview you. You know they will not sell you a Manx kitten simply because you want one and have the money to pay for one. They want to know that you can house and raise their Manx appropriately and that their kitten will have one "Forever Home".
  2. You will talk to and buy the Manx from the breeder who raised the litter and owns or co-owns the mother. Conscientious breeders don't trust other people to screen new homes for them and would NEVER offer a Manx as a prize or for an auction. Their Manx kittens don't cost any more because there is no "middleman". All kittens will have had all of their Vaccinations.
  3. The breeder will know the ancestry of the kittens, not just Parents, but Grandparents, Great Grand Parents, etc. Not just titled and colors, but strong points and weak points of personality and structure.
  4. The breeder will tell you what genetic screening is necessary for the Manx, and will be willing to discuss problems.
  5. You won't see multiple litters of multiple breeds. You will see evidence (photos, books, awards) of long term interest and activity in the Manx breed. The kittens environment will be clean with ample room for exercise, and socializing.
  6. The kittens will not have been separated from their mother and littermates at less than 14 weeks of age. Many breeders consider 14 weeks ideal, some wait until the Manx kitten is 16 weeks or older.
  7. All things discussed and implied will be written down in a contract. The breeder will be there to help and advise you throughout the life of your Manx. The breeders will ask you to bring the kitten (or cat) back to them at any age, if for any reason you can't keep him.
  8. The breeder will insist that you prepare an appropriate place at home for your kitten before you take him/her home. They will give you thorough personal instructions on feeding, care and a record of vaccinations and worming.

I am a cat breeder. I spend a lifetime learning pedigrees, health testing, going over cats, talking and learning from those in my breed and those outside it. I raise each litter as if I gave birth to them and spend an equal amount of time finding them loving forever homes. I only put kittens on this planet that I think... will be the healthiest (mentally and physically) and nicest examples of their breed. I fully support ...............each family who choses one of my kittens and let them know they are now a part of our extended family. I am there if one needs to come back and will aggressively pursue the return of one of my cats if its in the wrong place. I support my breed in rescue and education. I hold them when they arrive and leave this world, not only my own, but also others in the cat fancy. I share my knowledge and socialize my kittens / cats so that they will be the advertisement for my dedication.

I don't keep track of the money and time I put in to my love of cats, it would not be true measure of how I feel. I support my friends in the cat fancy, because it takes a village sometimes and only WE know how things are for us.

The price I charge for my kittens is NEVER profit, but investment in the next generation. I will not be ashamed of who I am, I work hard at being a damn good cat person and encouraging others to be the same. I am a breeder and I am proud of it.

Question: Is it true that Manx can live to be 15 years or more?Top of Page

Manx is a feline breed that develops slowly and lives long - often fifteen years & sometimes to twenty or more years. We suggest that you make proper arrangements for your Manx in the event something should happen to you and you become unable to care for them - a Living Will is one option. You can always contact us about re-homing your ZNoTailz Manx at any time.

"He is your solace, your partner, your spiritual guide
You are his life, his love, his everything.
Through many lifetimes,
He will always be yours, always faithful, always true,
beyond the last beat of his heart.
You owe it to him, to be worthy of such devotion."
~Author Unknown [modified]~

Question: Is there a difference between Pet Manx & Show Manx?Top of Page

A Show Manx must be a great example of the Manx Standard. It must express all the unique qualities of Manx. There are many reasons a Show quality Manx might never be shown. Perhaps the Show quality Manx has a tail; it can’t be shown but will make a “Grand” pet. Maybe the Show quality Manx owners have no desire to spend their weekends showing, but want a beautiful Manx to enhance their lives.

All of ZNoTailz kittens are valued the same, no matter their future adventures. ZNoTailz wouldn't offer a kitten that wasn't a happy, healthy robust example of Manx whether it is going to be shown to Grand awards or taken as a "Grand-Family-Member" to fill a home with love & laughter.

We have been blessed to know accomplished Manx breeders who share their very best Manx with us. We have committed ourselves to learning from them and to continue the preservation & promotion of the finest Purebred Registered Manx.

Question: Looking for someone interested in Showing & Breeding Manx?Top of Page

If you are interested in possibly showing a Manx, the best place to start is by contacting a breeder in your area and discussing your interests. Frequently, breeders will have a show quality altered Manx that would be perfect for someone interested in showing. Ask questions. Visit a cat show. Contact CFA for a mentor. Cat shows are the place to make new friends, learn more about your breed and show off your cats.

And just for you, CFA has designed a web site & yahoogroups mail list & Blog that has everything you ever wanted to know about showing your cat. _MANX_LINK_
Showing cats isn't just a hobby - it's a mindset and (often) a way of life. Having a positive show experience doesn't just happen; it takes thought, planning, and a lot of consideration. Maintaining a balanced and positve outlook and doing your homework will go a long way in keeping the showhall a fun place to be.

Finally, CFA also created a to cfanewbee_ just for "NewBees" - a place where they can ask questions that haven't been covered here and have them answered by experienced showhands.

Showing sometimes leads Manx enthusiasts to become interested in breeding Manx. If you think you want to breed Manx so you can make money from the kitten sales, forget it – this is an expensive hobby that requires sponsorship, commitment & passion. Often breeders will suggest that you jump-start your education about the breed by showing an altered Manx. For the breeder, showing Manx is a big part of breeding them. It is in the show ring where you get the feedback on how your breedings are progressing. It is in the show hall that you make the friends that will help you and encourage you along the way.

Reputable breeders are dedicated to the protection of the Manx breed. They are very diligent when allowing any of their Manx to be sold for breeding, which is always in Partnership and with a contract. When they consider selling you a Manx, it is a sign that you have gained their respect. Please remember that you are not dealing with just one person. You are dealing with the many who came before them and who carefully bred and protected the breed. Find a breeder you like. Earn their trust and trust their judgments. Educate yourself about the many aspects of the Manx. You’ll discover that just when you think you know it all, you will learn something new.

Question: Should I brush my cat's teeth (oral hygiene)?Top of Page

Brush Your Cat’s Teeth?! Yes!!
Peridontal disease/gingivitis and reabsorption are the top contributors to disease in cats and dogs. Ranging from a variety of issues like liver and kidney disease. Dental care is something a lot of pet owners over look and it's actually quite a serious issue in veterinary medicine.

Start by offering a taste of CET poultry or salmon flavored toothpaste (available at vet offices) on your finger. Do this for several days to a week, depending on how much your cat seems to like the paste. Talk to your cat in a happy voice during the process and praise your cat at the end. At first, you may just want to brush one or both upper canine teeth (the large ones in the front of the mouth). These are the easiest teeth for you to get at and will give you some easier practice. As before, when your cat accepts having several teeth brushed, slowly increase the number of teeth you are brushing. Again, by making it appear to be a game, you both will have fun doing it.

Next, put the paste on the toothbrush and allow the cat to lick and chew the paste from it. Do this also for several days to a week.

Move to holding the head and actually distributing the paste around on the outer surfaces of the teeth. Most won’t want their head held, but will tolerate it nicely. Actual brushing need not take much time at all, just scrub a few times at the back teeth. The bottom teeth just behind the canines are the ones most prone to trouble and, of course, are the toughest to brush due to the jaw moving! It’s worth the effort to get them; in terms of both health and money. The vet offices spend much time cleaning and extracting teeth!

There are other products proving very worthwhile and easy to use. CET also makes an oral hygiene gel that works wonders for inflamed gums. Add Aquadent to the drinking water for self-treatment!
Trust me, prevention is much less expensive than any problem that could arise down the line. Dental care to fix an issue is costly.

Question: What are you requiring in a contract or agreement?Top of Page

Yes, we do have an agreement that can be customized to the wishes of the seller & buyer.

The goal is to set down an agreement in writing that states the expectations & assurances of both parties in the interests of the cat or kitten.

We are so proud of our Manx and want them to have full, happy & healthy lives with someone who will make a full commitment to them.

Question: What characteristics make the Manx a Manx?Top of Page

_MANX_IMAGE_/faqs/images/cat_in_bag_02.jpg_The Manx breed is unique; they are stocky, round shaped cats with a plush double coat; they have big bones, a wide frame and round paws; their faces are round, as are their whisker pads, and their ears are round tipped and set wide on their head; they may have a shortened tail. They come in all color combinations except Color Point which is not found in the original Isle of Man Manx.

  • special thanks to _MANX_LINK_http://www.irisannhirsch.com_,

  • for sharing Kalei's picture.'*

All purebred Manx ARE Manx regardless of their tail status. In any one litter you may find kittens with or without tails.

Manx can fall into any one of the following categories:

  • rumpys - No tail naturally
  • rumpy risers - Only one vertebra [either movable or stationary]
  • stubbies - Short tail naturally.
  • tailed - Full tail.
  • docked - docked – tails shortened to one or two vertebra

We use all of these Manx in our breeding as long as their health & conformation reflect the Manx Standard. However, the Show Manx are naturally tailless, or have a natural riser that does not impede the judge's hand as s/he runs it over the length of the cat.

We feel that the tail, or lack of, is the least important characteristic of the Manx. The best characteristics are often reminders of a "puppy" because Manx are loyal to their family [sometimes picking their favorite member] & their tremendous love of play.

_MANX_IMAGE_/faqs/images/cat_in_a_bag.jpg_Our Manx will look for ways to get you to play with them. They will bring you gifts of their toys or untie your shoe strings to get your attention. Little girl's ponytails are meant to be a source of fun. Brown paper sacks are great places to hide while waiting for some unsuspecting ankle to pass by. There are no books or papers that you read that do not get inspected by their curious little paws. And when you sit down, your lap is their favorite place to view the world. However, it is their loud purring & "happy feet” that will replace your stress with bliss.

Other traits that delight us about Manx:

  • Most of them like water and some even swim
  • Most will learn their name and come when called
  • Learning to fetch comes quickly to most Manx
  • They always know when it is breakfast & dinner time <grin>

Now you see them, now you don't,
First they will & then they won't,
You see them racing up the stair,
Climb the cat tree, fly thru the air,
...Tear a Tuffy-mouse to bits,
Act like they are having fits.
Hide in places you can't find,
Make you think you'll lose your mind,
Sit in the middle of your papers,
Then carry on their Manxie capers*!
by Marjan Swantek
[from the 1995-1996 Manx Yearbook & Directory]

Question: What is a "Retired Manx"?Top of Page

Several of my associated Manx breeders & myself will have Manx that have either been a Show Manx or have been in our breeding program. We know that there will come a time for these Manx to be retired; when that time comes, they deserve their very own special person to love & care for them, to live out their days in luxury and comfort which is only befitting of such sweet personalities! We try to stay in touch with every cat we retire as it comforts us to know they are happy and enjoying their time with their new owners....lucky for us that so far they have all found fantastic retirement homes with owners who adore and pamper them!

We offer our retired Manx at about 4-6 years old. But as we know, the Manx are a slow maturing they are just reaching their development & maturity at about 4-5 years of age. We consider them young adults not really Senior Cats:

10 (plus) Reasons Retired Cats Rule

  1. When retired cats are adopted, they seem to understand that they've graduated to a life of leisure, and do enjoy the personal attention that they are getting...bonding close to their new owner.
  2. A retired cat's personality has already developed, so you'll know if he or she is a good fit for your family.
  3. You can teach an old cat new tricks (I do every day with my own cats!): Retired cats have the attention span and impulse control that makes them easier to train than their kitten counterparts. What you see is what you get. Adult cats already know who they are. Kittens are undeniably cute, but you never know what the future holds, how large they may get, what their personality will ultimately be, etc.
  4. An adorable little kitten will be an adult in the blink of an eye.
  5. A retired cat may very well already know basic household etiquette (like not attacking your feet at night) anyway! Adult cats aren't as "chewsy." Kittens have a tendency to chew things, lots of things. Whether teething or just exploring bits of the world around them, kittens chew on shoes, the corners of books, ear lobes and fingers, carpet tassels, electrical cords, drapery strings, plants, and much, much more. Most adult cats don't chew inappropriately at all.
  6. Adult cats won't be climbing up your leg or your curtains, they won't be swinging from your chandeliers, knocking down knick knacks or just running full speed ahead for no good reason.
  7. Adult cats may sleep at the foot of your bed, under the bed or in a cozy spot somewhere else in the house, while a kitten will most likely run around all night, doing anything possible to wake you up for more games. Adult cats are generally happy to sleep when you do and don't try to attack your toes through the blankets in the middle of the night.
  8. Adult cats are usually a better choice for families with small children. Kittens often play rough and are constantly underfoot. They're sharp--they can't help it, but kittens are all teeth and claws. Generally speaking, adult cats are more mellow, and often more patient with young children. The experience should be a good one for both the cat and the child. Ask to meet the Breeder's best "kid cats."

    In particular, retired cats are often already litter trained and are less likely to "forget" where the box is.
  9. A retired cat won't grow any larger, & their coat will be as long or short as you like, so you'll know exactly how much cat you're getting.
  10. Retired cats are often content to just relax in your company, unlike younger cats, who may get into mischief because they're curious about this big new world to investigate. If you have an older cat in your home and are looking for a friend for him or her, another adult cat may be the best choice. Kittens can be too playful and may upset your cat instead of providing companionship. A kitten may cause your resident cat to be more annoyed than amused.
  11. Speaking of relaxing, retired cats make great napping buddies. After a long day at the office, you may just want to come home and curl up with your furry friend--but most kittens prefer an action packed evening--lots of touseling, frolicking, and plenty of running and jumping. An adult cat will greet you at the door and be more than happy to curl up and watch your favorite shows on TV. They've already learned about the unconditional love thing.
  12. Retired cats often know that scratching posts (not furniture) are for scratching and toys (not hands or feet) are for biting.

We are committed to finding the right homes for our retirees, so we reduce the price of these beauties to their new owners. For just the cost of the altering & vetting & transportation, you may find the love of your life.

When properly cared for, cats often live well into their late teens or longer. Typically, they will remain active and even playful throughout most of their lives. Once a cat adjusts to a new home where they can feel safe and secure, they'll offer years of faithful companionship and unconditional love. Be sure of your choices by spending time with us in our home, visiting our Manx.

Question: What is a Purebred Pedigreed Registered Manx?Top of Page

The Manx breed is one of the oldest of the original feline breeds recorded; there is mention of them in writings from the early 1500's. We can document the ancestry of our current day Manx back to the Isle of Man, an Island off the coast of Great Britain & Ireland.

There have been many Manx breeders who, down through the years, have kept records of breeding only Manx to Manx; that is what we refer to as "Purebred Manx”.

The documentation of this pure breeding is the "Pedigree" which lists the generations of ancestors. There are several Feline Breed Organizations/Registries that accept the pedigree of the purebred Manx to be "Registered" with them. And it is possible to have a Pedigreed Manx that is registered with all the Registries.

ZNoTailz "Registers" our Purebred Pedigreed Manx with the _MANX_LINK_ [CFA], which is the most comprehensive & largest Feline Registry in the world.

Other Associations of Acceptance:
American Association of Cat Enthusiasts (AACE)
American Cat Association (ACA)
American Cat Fancier's Association (ACFA)
Canadian Cat Association (CCA)
Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA)
Cat Fanciers' Federation (CFF)
The International Cat Association (TICA)
United Feline Organization (UFO)

A cat registry is an organization that registers cats for exhibition and breeding purposes. A cat registry stores the pedigrees (genealogies) of cats, prefixes or affixes of catteries, studbooks (lists of authorized studs of recognized breeds), breed descriptions and the standards of points (SoP) for those breeds; lists of judges qualified to judge at shows run by, or affiliated with, that registry. A cat registry is not the same as a cat club or breed society (these may be affiliated with one or more registries with whom they have lodged breed standards in order to be able to exhibit under the auspices of that registry).



The first cat registry was the National Cat Club, set up in 1887 in England. Until the formation of the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy in 1910, the National Cat Club was also the Governing Body of the Cat Fancy. A rival registry called the Cat Club was set up in 1898,but foundered in 1903 and was replaced by the Cat Fanciers Association. Cats could only be registered with one or other registry. These two fancies merged in 1910 and became the GCCF.

In the USA, the 1899 Chicago cat show resulted in the formation of the Chicago Cat Club, followed by the more powerful Beresford Cat Club (named after noted British breeder Lady Marcus Beresford).

In 1906, the American Cat Association became the main registry. In 1908 this became the Cat Fanciers' Association Inc (CFA).

In the intervening years, many cat registries have been formed worldwide. These range from international organizations or federations to national registries in one particular country. In many countries, independent registries have also been formed which may or may not be recognized by the main registries. While some cat registries forbid the practice, it is now common to allow a cat to be registered by more than one registry.

The largest overall organization is the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe) which is a worldwide federation of member cat registries.

Cat Registries have their own rules and also organize or license cat shows. The show procedures vary widely and awards won in one registry are not normally recognized by another.

The World Cat Congress (WCC) is an international coordinating organization of the largest cat registries. The WCC operates an "open Doors" policy by which cats registered with one registry can be shown under the rules of another registry.

Some independent cat registries specialize in particular types of cat that are ineligible for registration with a major registry due to breed restrictions or certain genetic traits. For example The Dwarf Cat Association recognizes breeds derived from the short-legged Munchkin (a cat body type genetic mutation) which are banned by FIFe and some other registries, while the Rare and Exotic Feline Registry specializes in cats derived from (or alleged to derive from) hybrids with wildcat species.

Question: Where are you located; do you ship Manx kittens?Top of Page

ZNoTailz splits the seasons between our home in CA & the family ranch in Oregon....We love spending most of the year on the Central Coast of California, midway between San Francisco & Los Angeles. We encourage Manx fanciers to come visit us, to see our wonderful Manx anytime & especially when it is time to pick up your ZNoTailz Manx.

It is a beautiful weekend drive up Hwy 101 to San Luis Obispo County from either the North or the South.


After you have visited our home & picked out your special Manx:
Regarding delivery, when the kittens are ready to leave their moms, there is the possibility that we could arrange to meet you at one of our shows to share your excitement of running your new Manx in the AGILITY RING where you can enjoy your kittens running the course.

If you are located at a great distance, we suggest that you FLY IN TO OUR LOCAL COUNTY AIRPORT WITH CONNECTIONS BOTH TO LOS ANGELES & SAN FRANCISCO; it will only cost a bit more for the cat's fare. Fly out to visit us when your Manx is ready to leave for its new home. We have a guest room & can provide transportation to & from our airport. You can take your new Manx home in a carrier placed in the cabin with you for the safety & comfort of your new baby.

Question: ZNoTailz can suggest resources to "Re-home" a Manx?Top of Page

Occasionally we hear about a Manx that needs help finding a new home. We work with the Purebred Manx Rescue Group to find them new homes.

Sometimes they are neither Registered nor Purebred Manx.
And sometimes they are not Manx at all.
The incomplete dominant gene that shortens the tail can be found in feral colonies & randomly bred domestic cats. These are erroneously called “manx" because the tail is short or missing, these cats are not Manx, they are “domestic tailless cats.”

There are Veterinarians & Shelter Staff that place "designer labels" on cats -to make them more desirable to the public looking for their new buddy. Hence, if they find a cat without a tail, they call it a manx. This happens with other breeds as well. For example, large, long haired cats are often, but erroneously, labeled "Main Coon" while cats that have color points are often, and again erroneously, labeled "Siamese.”

As far as this goes, I am in favor of every healthy cat getting a new start on life in a kind, caring, loving home [whatever their "fancy-labeling"].

NOTE: Please do NOT turn to Shelter or Rescue for a "quick fix" for your cat unless there is absolutely no other choice.
If you bought your cat from a breeder, contact them to ask if they will take the cat back or help you rehome the cat. Sometimes they have a waiting list for their breed. ZNoTailz always has a waiting list for our beautiful adult Manx.


  • S/N [alter] your pet if not already spayed or neutered.
  • Make sure your pet is up to date on vaccinations
  • Wash and groom your pet before taking pictures or showing your pet to potential adopters
  • In addition to your cat's record, you may also want to provide addresses of your cat's usual groomer, veterinarian and a picture of your cat.

  • Prepare a record of your pet including:
  • veterinary history,
  • favorite treat,
  • what food the cat is used to eating,
  • what litter the cat is used to using and
  • what sort of litterbox.


  • Describe the appearance, size, and age of the animal.
  • Describe his/her nature and appealing qualities.
  • Include the pet's name
  • State that the pet is spayed or neutered.
  • Define any limitations, e.g.
  • not good with cats/small children/ other dogs/other cats.
  • Use a good photograph. Color is best. Copy places like Kinko's can help with these.
  • Be sure to put in your phone number, and time you can be reached.


  • Advertise your cat and charge a nominal fee (do not offer for free as it attracts undesirable interest from those who may not value your pet
  • Make flyers which display your cat's photo and put your contact information on it. *Ask your vet to post it in his/her office.
  • Put them up at work.
  • Ask to post them at the local pet stores and food markets.
  • Post them at your church.
  • Post them on community bulletin boards.
  • Give them to your friends and family and ask that they post them where ever they can.
  • Post them at the local grooming establishments.
  • Put an ad in your local newspaper - charge a minimal fee to discourage those who would sell to research laboratories


  • Ask about their experience grooming a Longhair and clipping nails.
  • Ask how much time they are at home and what arrangements they make for a pet when they are away or ill.
  • Ask if they have ever declawed a cat.
  • Ask if they ever allow their cats outside.
  • Ask to for their permission to speak directly to their vet about their history with animals,
  • including how up to date the animals are on vaccines,
  • how diligent they are about maintenance issues like teeth cleaning, and
  • under what conditions they have euthanized pets, if ever.
  • Ask if they have ever brought an animal to a shelter to relinquish the cat.
  • Find out what other animals they have and have had and what experience they have with grooming.
  • Find out if any people in the household have allergies.
  • Ask if they will allow you to visit their home before you place the cat there.
  • Ask if they have arrangements in place for someone to care for the cat should they become ill, are hospitalized, or die.
Submit Your Own Question

 Manx Myths and LegendsTop of Page

We would like to help clarify that Manx are no different from other feline & canine breeds that might be afflicted with one or more of the many Syndromes/Conditions diagnosed.

There are very few syndromes/conditions that are EXCLUSIVE to one breed.

It is unscientific to attach one breed [such as Manx] to any single syndrome/condition.

The term: "Manx Syndrome" is a harmful label that has no basis in fact & needs to be "stamped out" because it unfairly detracts from a wonderful, sturdy, healthy breed of cat.

The following article was written by twenty-five year Manx breeder Sherman Ross, BS Eng.Phy., MS Ed, Ex-President, American Manx Club, technical consultant to Karen Commings for Manx Cats: (Complete Pet Owners Manual), (Barons, 1999) and Joanne Mattern for The Manx Cat, (Capstone Press, 2003)

Manx Syndrome: The Myths and the Truth

Manx Syndrome is a subject of great concern to all lovers of the Manx breed. It is fraught with emotion, steeped in misinformation, and perpetuated by the ignorant. Perhaps some light can be shed on this subject by comparing some of the myths of Manx Syndrome to the actual truth.

The Myth: Manx Syndrome is any of several birth defects related to the Manx gene and afflicting the Manx breed.
The Truth: There is no common definition of what Manx Syndrome is. All of the conditions commonly called Manx Syndrome occur in other breeds of cat and other species of animals. Therefore these conditions cannot be linked to the Manx gene.

The Myth: Manx have shorter backs than other cats because they have fewer vertebrae. This leads to severe neurological problems.
The Truth: The Manx gene does not impact the spine above the pelvis. The gene causes the cat to have fewer caudal vertebrae causing a shorter tail. Manx have the same number of vertebrae in the upper spine as any other cat.

The Myth: Spina Bifida is a Manx condition.
The Truth: Spina Bifida is a condition found in all animal species that have spines. It is caused by the neural tube that forms the spine not closing completely in the fetus. It is not related to the Manx gene. It has been shown to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In humans the environmental trigger is insufficient folic acid during pregnancy. The environmental factor in cats is not known. Some Veterinarians have bred Manx with Spina Bifida in their genes and related it as a Manx Syndrome. This is really bad science. But unfortunately, since it was published in a Veterinary Journal, many vets believe this.

The Myth: Urinary and fecal incontinence is a part of Manx Syndrome. It is due to insufficient nerve endings.
The Truth: Incontinence occurs in all breeds of cats; it is not related to the Manx gene. There is no diagnostic for missing nerves except extremely careful and complete autopsy. Incontinence is related to spina bifida. NOTE WELL: Not all spina bifidas are visible externally. In all probability, most cases of incontinence in the Manx are related to spina bifida.

The Myth: The homozygous rumpy is an automatic lethal, and is never born.
The Truth: The Manx gene for taillessness is a variable _expression gene.This type of gene is also called an incomplete dominant. The gene is always present, but always variable. It acts very much like the white spotting or bicolor gene. Homozygous rumpy is in fact a meaningless term.

The Myth: It is necessary to use tailed Manx in the breeding to prevent Manx Syndrome.
The Truth: This is demonstrably untrue. A good MANX breeder can point to sound healthy Manx without tails in the pedigree for six generations. A much more important consideration is the length of the upper spine. Breeding excessively for shorter bodies causes the individual vertebrae in the upper spine to be shorter. Bred to the extreme, this causes problems in any breed.

Any treatise on the subject confined to a few paragraphs would, of necessity, be only an effort to introduce the reader to concepts and open the door to a more full exploration of possibilities with the proper authorities.

We at ZNoTailz Manx dedicated ourselves by continueing our education with the new research being developed all the time & we find reference material that gives us a more technical medical description of the genetics that MANX & MANY OTHER FELINE BREEDS & canine breeds are subject.

Congenital malformations of the sacrocaudal (sacrococcygeal) spinal cord and vertebrae have been well described in tailless cats, in which the condition is transmitted as an autosomal dominant trait.

This disease is also known as 'caudal dysgenesis'

The disorder is associated with varying degrees of agenesis/aplasia (absence of formation) or dysgenesis/dysplasia (defective development) of caudal lumbar, sacral and caudal (coccygeal) vertebrae, and spina bifida.

The variable expression of feline taillessness is a salient and consistent feature. Pathologically, subcutaneous cyst formation, meningocele, meningomyelocele, shortening of the spinal cord and absence of cauda equina, and myelodysplasia of the caudal lumbar, sacral, and caudal spinal cord segments including central canal defects, syringomyelia, myeloschisis (cleft within spinal cord) and abnormal gray matter differentiation have been described in affected animals.

Clinical signs in seriously affected cats may be progressive after birth, perhaps associated with progressive syringomyelia, or they may remain static in cats with a partial disability. Neurological signs include plantigrade posture, hopping gait, pelvic limb paresis/paraplegia, fecal and urinary incontinence, and perianal sensory loss.

Urodynamic studies have shown significant abnormalities of vesiculourethral function: detrusor areflexia, autonomous pressure response to bladder filling, a dysfunctional proximal urethra, and poor quality pelvic floor electromyographic activity

Catecholaminergic histochemical studies of the bladder and urethra have demonstrated complete absence of adrenergic fibers, including the trigone area.

Myelography or MRI may outline the meningocele or meningomyelocele, if present. Prognosis is guarded. There is no treatment.

Mildly affected animals may attain longevity if fecal and urinary incontinence are managed.

Sacrococcygeal dysgenesis may be seen sporadically in many breeds of cats and in dogs, the English Bulldog in particular.


  • Kitchen H, Murray RE, Cockrell BY. Animal model for human disease. Spina bifida, sacral dysgenesis and myelocele. Animal model: Manx cats. Am J Pathol 1972; 68:203-206.
  • Leipold HW, Huston K, Blauch B, et al. Congenital defects on the caudal vertebral column and spinal cord in Manx cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1974; 164:520-523.
  • James CC, Lassman LP, Tomlinson BE. Congenital anomalies of the lower spine and spinal cord in Manx cats. J Pathol 1969; 97:269-276.
  • Deforest ME, Basrur PK. Malformations and the Manx syndrome in cats. Can Vet J 1979; 20:304-314.
  • Robinson R. Expressivity of the Manx gene in cats. J Hered 1993; 84:170-172. - PubMed -
  • Tomlinson BE. Abnormalities of the lower spine and spinal cord in Manx cats. J Clin Pathol 1971; 24:480.
  • Martin AH. A congenital defect in the spinal cord of the Manx cat. Vet Pathol 1971; 8:232-238.
  • Woodside JR, Dail WG, McGuire EJ, et al. The Manx cat as an animal model for neurogenic vesical dysfunction associated with myelodysplasia: a preliminary report. J Urol 1982; 127:180-183. - PubMed -
  • Dickele G, Perrot P, Audrin JF. Sacral dysgenesis in a Pekinese resembling the Manx cat anomaly. Prat Med Chir Anim 1996; 31:149-152.
  • Wilson JW, Kurtz HJ, Leipold HW, et al. Spina bifida in the dog. Vet Pathol 1979; 16:165-179. - PubMed -

 Feline Genomics Top of Page

Table Of Contents

Genetics In GeneralTable of Contents

How can two breeds of cats that don't look anything alike be related?

The study of genetics is the fascinating study. Passing the genetic code of the parents to the next generation through the "germ" cells is an incredibly marvelous processes in nature. Each feline breed is absolutely unique.

Long irregular threads of genetic material called chromosomes are found within the nucleus of a cell and they are arranged in pairs. Cats have 19 pairs of chromosomes; it is these 38 chromosomes which make up the unique individual "blueprint" for that animal. The chromosomes are covered with hundreds of thousands to millions of light and dark colored bands which are the actual genetic codes called genes. Each gene controls a single feature or a group of features in the makeup of an individual. Many of the genes interact with other genes! A single feature of an individual may be controlled by many different genes which makes "mapping" of the genes very difficult and for cats only a few major genes have been mapped out to date. The genetic research that is being done has enabled many breeders to improve their breeds.

A single molecule of DNA runs the entire length of each chromosome. What makes DNA very successful in genetically reproducing is the actual amino acids and the order of them within each gene. The four different amino acids that are arranged in groups of three forming a 64-letter alphabet which is used to compose "words" of varying length. Each gene controls the development of a specific characteristic of that particular feline. No feline contains the exact same blueprint of DNA and there are an infinite number of possible genes. While some genes control specific color traits other genes control the "mapping" of specific traits and how they are expressed physically in every feline.

When a cell has absorbed enough of the various amino acids and other compounds necessary to sustain itself it makes another cell by dividing which is called "mitosis". Since the genetic coding is carried in the DNA through the various combinations of the 64 letter alphabet the actual blueprint instructions for a feline may be considered to consist of two sets of 19 "map" one set from each parent and each "map" millions of words in length.

Genotype And PhenotypeTable of Contents

Geneticists differentiate between what a cat is genetically versus what it looks like. The Mendelian patterning is the basic rule of genetics but it is important to remember that when breeding we are dealing with MORE THAN ONE GENE from each parent! The number of possible off-spring combinations is two to the power of the number of genes…there are literally hundreds of millions of genes for one cat!!

Male And FemaleTable of Contents

The 19 pairs of chromosomes within a cat that we discussed earlier are chromosomes numbered 1 through 18 plus "X" and "Y". It is the "X" and "Y" chromosome that determine the sex of the kittens. A female cat has two "X" chromosomes "XX" while the male cat has one "X" and one "Y" chromosome "XY" so if we follow the Mendelian pattern through we see that the female can only pass the "X" chromosome to her kittens so the sex of the kitten is determined by the male who can pass the "X" chromosome for a girl or the "Y" chromosome for a boy. The "X" chromosome is longer than the "Y" chromosome and this is to carry the extra instructions for females AND some other things such as the gene for orange fur! These characteristics are said to be "sex-related" and do operate differently in males and females.

MutationsTable of Contents

It is obvious that some genetic changes have taken place as the cat has evolved over time and these changes are called "mutations". Mutations are the very essence of a breeding program. It is through mutation which is an imperfect replication or joining of the DNA that the survival of the fittest takes place. How do we know if a mutation is good or bad? Time and nature are usually the determining factors of the "success" of a mutation. Manx are an example of a mutatant gene.

Body Conformation GenesTable of Contents

There are thousands of body conformation genes but only a few have been mapped and these are:

  • "Scottish Fold gene": normal or folded ears. The wild allele "fd" is recessive and produces normal ears. The mutation "Fd" is dominant and produces the cap-like folded ears of the Scottish Fold breed. This mutant gene is crippling when homozygous.
  • "Japanese Bobtail gene": normal or short tail. The wild allele "Jb" is dominant and produces normal length tails. The mutation "jb" is recessive and produces the short tail of the Japanese Bobtail breed.
  • "The Manx gene": normal or missing tail. The wild allele "m" is recessive and produces normal length tails. The mutation "M" is dominant and produces the missing tail or shortened tail of the Manx.
  • "The polydactyl gene": normal number or extra toes. The wild allele "pd" is recessive and produces the normal number of toes. The mutation "Pd" is dominant and produces extra toes particularly upon the front paws.
  • Coat Conformation Genes

Coat Conformation GenesTable of Contents

These genes affects the length and texture of the coat.

  • "The Sphinx gene": hairy or hairless coat. The wild allele "Hr" is dominant and produces a normal hairy coat. The mutation "hr" is recessive and produces the hairless coat of the Sphinx breed.
  • "The Long Haired gene": short or long coat. The wild allele "L" is dominant and produces the normal short-haired coat. The mutation "l" is recessive and produces the long-haired coat of the Persians Angoras Maine Coons Manx and others.
  • "The Cornish Rex gene": straight or curly coat. The wild allele "R" is dominant and produces a normal straight-haired coat. The mutation "r" is recessive and produces the very short curly coat without guard hairs of the Cornish Rex.
  • "The Devon Rex gene": straight or curly coat. The wild allele "Re" is dominant and produces a normal straight-haired coat. The mutation "re" is recessive and produces the very short curly coat of the Devon Rex yet also retains the guard hairs in its coat.
  • "The Oregon Rex gene": straight or curly coat. The wild allele "Ro" is dominant and produces a normal straight-haired coat. The mutation "ro" is recessive and produces the very short curly coat of the Oregon Rex also without the guard hairs.
  • "The American Wirehair gene": soft or bristly coat. The wild allele "wh" is recessive and produces a normal soft straight-haired coat. The mutation "Wh" is dominant and produces the short stiff wiry coat of the American Wirehair.

Color Conformation GenesTable of Contents

These genes determine the color pattern and expression of the coat. The genes fall into three groups; those that control the color; those that control the pattern; and those that control the color expression. Each of these groups contains several differing but interrelated genes.

The Color GeneTable of Contents

The color gene controls the actual color of the coat and comes in three alleles: black dark brown or light brown. This three-level dominance is not at all uncommon.

The black allele "B" is wild dominant and produces a black or black and brown tabby coat depending upon the presence of the agouti gene. Technically the black is an almost-black super-dark brown as true black is theoretically impossible to achieve!

The dark-brown allele "b" is mutant is recessive to black but dominant to light brown and reduces black to dark brown.

The light-brown allele "bl" is mutant and is recessive to both black and dark brown and reduces black to a medium brown.

The Orange-Making GeneTable of Contents

The second of the genes controlling coat color is the orange-making gene which controls the conversion of the coat color into orange and the masking of the agouti gene and comes in 2 alleles: non-orange and orange.

The non-orange allele "o" is wild and allows full expression of the black or brown colors. The orange allele "O" is mutant and converts black or brown to orange and masks the effects of the non-agouti mutation of the agouti gene.

This is one of those genes that is "sex-linked"; that is it is carried on the "X" chromosome of the female; therefore in males there is no homologous pairing and the single orange-making gene stands alone. As a result there is no dominance effect in males; they are either orange or non-orange. If a male possesses the non-orange allele "o" all colors will be expressed. If he possesses the orange allele "O" all colors will be converted to orange. A male has only one orange-making gene.

The Color Density GeneTable of Contents

This is the third and last of the genes controlling the coat color and it controls the uniformity and distribution of the pigment throughout the hair. This gene can be "D" for dense allele; or "d" for dilute allele. The "D" allele is wild dominant and causes pigment to be distributed evenly throughout each hair making the color dark and pure. A dense coat will be black dark brown medium brown or orange. The dilute allele "d" is mutant and recessive and causes the pigment to be separated into microscopic clumps surrounded by translucent non-pigmented areas which will create a blue tan beige or cream coat.

The 8 Cat ColorsTable of Contents

All possible expressions of the color orange-making and color-density genes produce the eight basic coat colors: black blue chestnut or chocolate brown lavender or lilac cinnamon fawn red and cream.

The Agouti GeneTable of Contents

This is the gene that controls the pattern of the coat known as "ticking" and comes in two alleles: agouti "A" which is wild dominant and products a banded or "ticked" hair producing in turn a tabby coat; and non-agouti "a" which is mutant recessive and suppresses ticking with in turn will produce a solid-colored coat. This gene only operated upon the color gene in conjunction with the non-orange allele of the orange-making gene and is masked by the orange allele of the orange-making gene.

The Tabby GeneTable of Contents

This is the last of the genes affecting coat pattern and will control whether the coat is solid striped or spotted and comes in three alleles: mackerel or striped tabby "T" Abyssinian or all-agouti-tabby "Ta" and blotched or classic tabby "tb".

The mackerel tabby allele "T" is wild co-dominant with the spotted tabby and Abyssinian alleles and dominant to the classic tabby allele and produces a striped cat with vertical non-agouti stripes on an agouti background. This is the most common of all patterns and is typical grassland camouflage of our domestic cats' wild ancestors.

The spotted tabby is genetically a striped tabby with the stripes broken up by polygene influence. There is no specific "spotted tabby" gene. Do not confuse the spots of our domestic cats with the rosettes of the true spotted cats: entirely different genes are involved.

The Abyssinian allele "Ta" is mutant co-dominant to the mackerel tabby allele and dominant to the classic tabby allele and will produce an all agouti coat without stripes or spots.

The blotched or classic tabby allele "tb" is recessive to both the mackerel tabby and the Abyssinian alleles and will produce irregular non-agouti blotches or "cinnamon-roll" swirls on an agouti background.

References & Recommended Reading Table of Contents


A Genetic Primer for Breeders - John B. Armstrong The Nature of Genetic Disease - John Armstrong
Genetic Testing: A Guide for Breeders - Mary Whiteley, Ph.D. The Argument for Assortative Mating - John Armstrong
Genetic Load - John Armstrong The Value of Population Genetics to the Breeder - John Armstrong
Feline Genetics - R. Roger Breton and Nancy J Creek Demystifying Inbreeding Coefficients - John Armstrong

Recommended Reading:

Heather E. Lorimer Ph.D. The Pigment Parade
Feline Genetics Feline Genome Project
Genetic Diversity of Cat Breeds Genetics of Feline Coat Color