The 'Manx' or 'Rumpy Cat', named after the tail-less cats found in a colony on the 'Isle of Man' have, over the years, been a controversial breed. In the early days of the cat fancy, they were adored by those that saw them as singularly unique, for as well as being tail-less they had an equally unique gait, akin to that of 'a hare' or rabbit, when moving at any significant speed. Or, they were summarily ignored by those who considered that the tail of a cat was an essential feature that appealed to their sense of beauty, and that the Manx cat also lacked even the grace of its cousin, the English Shorthair.
Invariably they were described by earlier writers, in carefully applied adjectives such as 'quaint', or as 'a natural curiosity'. Mr. Charles Lane, who himself bred Manx before the turn of the century, tells us that at comparatively few shows were classes provided for this variety, and as a consequence they often had to be entered into the 'any other variety' shorthair category, where he states "they did not stand much chance of getting into the first three, unless exceptionally good in size and markings."
Mr. Harrison Weir has given us the earliest illustration known of a prize-winning Manx cat in the unnamed cat that leads in this 'Gallery of Manx'. This cat was a prize-winner at the Crystal Palace in 1880, 1881 and 1882. Mr. Weir tells us that it was eight years old at the time of this drawing (and the accompanying text). It was owned by a Mr. J.M. Thomas, of Parliament St. and described by Weir as 'a brindled tortoiseshell'.
Although the road for the Manx has not been an easy one, and only the most stalwart of fanciers have continued to support the breed over many decades, among the earliest being Miss Hester Cochran and Mrs. H.C. Brooke. Despite this, the breed has none-the-less stood the test of time and some very admirable examples of this still relatively rare variety have always graced the bench and continue to do so to this very day.
Registers associated with this article include The Incorporated Cat Fanciers Association of Great Britain (TICFAGB), National Cat Club (NCC), The Cat Club (CCR), Beresford Cat Club (BCC), Feline Federation Francaise (FFF), Siamese Cat Registry (SCR), US Register & Studbook for Cats (USR)including Supplement(USRS), The Studbook of the American Cat Association (ACA), and the Studbook & Register of the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA).
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