Cat Breed Spotlight: The Cymric

June 25, 2018

Cat Breed Spotlight: The Cymric

KYC: “Know Your Cat”

 

I know what you are thinking, "This cat has no tail? ha!" or "That cat looks weird without a tail", but you are not mistaken, this cat has literally no tail.

The Cymric (pronounced as kim-rick, it's weird right?) is the longhaired variant of the tailless Manx cat. There are lots of cats with short tails or no tails (cats who lost their tail due to accident are not included), but the Cymric (and another breed of the similar strain, the Shorthaired Manx) is the only one intentionally bred to have no tail (I mean, what kind of monster of a human would breed a cat with no tail?).

Cymrics have a rounded appearance; having a round head, not-so-pointy ears, round eyes akin to that of an owl and even a rounded rear end which is pretty similar to a rabbit (Cabbit? or Rymric? anyway, whoever thinks that this cat is an offspring of a cat and a rabbit is totally nuts). These particular tailless cats are the result of a natural genetic mutation that was then intensified by their remote location on the Isle of Man, off the coast of Britain. (yeah, they haven't got the chance to meet other cats of a different breed and crossbreed with them back then, poor guys)

Of course, don't think that all Cymrics have no tails (that's, uhhmm, racist?). Some variants, called rumpys, have up to three vertebrae fused at the end of the spine, some have up to five vertebrae that they can whip around, and some (also known as longys) have a tail that is long enough not to be called as a stump but still short enough compared to other breeds of cat. Check out Cat Lover for more.

There is a reason why he is always compared to a rabbit, for they both have powerful hind legs used for jumping, even without a natural counterweight (the tail) to aid their balance. The Cymric is affable and fun-loving cat and it is not unusual to find that he enjoys playing fetch or carrying his cat toys around the house.

He’s also slick and very agile, capable of using his paws and powerful hind legs to get into high places like cabinets or his own cat condo or cat tree, and smart to open door latches (as long as he can reach it).

They have a taste for human company and usually he will carry on a conversation in a sweet trilling voice. Some Cymrics have that monogamous-like behavior (giving all their love and attention to a single person) while others are affectionate toward the entire family, including children. To know more about Cymric Cat please visit Cat Breed.

Where It All Began

 


According to the records from the Isle of Man (located in the Irish Sea, between England and Ireland), this tailless trait of the manx breed began as an anomaly among the island's domestic cat population (dunno, probably a witch cursed them or something).

Since the island is isolated from the mainland and there is pretty much no other breed of cat around (aside from Manx themselves), this abnormality become part of the dominant gene and was passed on from one generation to the next, thus perfecting that tailless and long-haired quality that Cymrics are known for today.

Back then, Long-haired kittens had been born to Manx cats on the Isle of Man, but breeders doesn't want that trait and usually discards them, branding them as "mutants". Around the 1960s, kittens with similar traits were born in Canada and were intentionally bred.

This boomed their population as a result, and also their popularity among the masses. Before receiving its own name among the distinguished cat breeds, the driving force behind a Canadian cat breeding effort, Althea Frahm, first exhibited these cats as “Manx Mutants.”


Other breeders choose the name Longhaired Manx (it's just weird for a cat to have a "mutant" word on its name). Its name was changed to Cymric in the mid-1970s by pioneer Cymric breeders Blair Wright and Leslie Falteisek, who named it after Wales, which is referred to as Cymru in Welsh.

The World Cat Federation (WCF), American Association of Cat Enthusiasts (AACE), Cat Fanciers' Federation (CFF, in the US Northeast), American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA, of the US East Coast), Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFE), Canadian Cat Association (CCA-AFC), New Zealand Cat Fancy (NZCF), Australian Cat Federation (ACF), Southern Africa Cat Council (SACC) and the Cat Aficionado Association (CAA) of China consider the Cymric a separate breed, while International Cat Association (TICA) acknowledges the Cymric as a variety under the Manx breed, and not a separate breed with its own standard.

The Coordinating Cat Council of Australia (CCCA), US-based Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA), and the UK's Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) recognizes the breed as a long-haired Manx instead of calling it Cymric. Since last 2015, the AFC started calling it the Longhaired Manx (same goes with CCFA and CCCA) using the GCCF Manx standard (aside from coat length).

Unfortunately, Feline Federation Europe (FFE) does not recognize the breed or sub-breed at all, under any name, as of March 2013.


Temperament and Personality

 

Back in the Isle of Man, Cymrics are used as efficient mousers due to their excellent hunting skills and their sharp, observant nature. He has that "watchdog" (or watchcat?) behavior, for he will react right away to any and will growl threateningly or maybe even go on the attack at the sight or sound of anything that is suspicious to him or a possible threat. If he sees that you are not bothered by any of it, he will just pipe down and let it be like nothing happened.

When he is not on his watch duty or taking a rest from his routine patrol protecting his family and the entire house from mice, stray or feral cats or dogs, or other possible threats, he will just simply rest down on his favorite napping spot and enjoy the tranquil and serene surrounding.

Just like other breeds, he has that habit of following his favorite person around the house and perhaps will try to get himself involved on pretty much anything his favorite person does. Cymrics are also smart enough to learn tricks (like fetch and come), and is also easily taught how to walk on a leash if you start teaching them at a young age.

He often likes to ride in the car, making him a great companion on long-distance trips. He is also good at learning how to open doors, so be sure anything you don’t want him to have is under lock and key. See also: Kitty - To Travel or Not article, as it shows you what you'll need in travelling with him.

Compared to other breeds, Cymrics have a good understanding of your basic requests and will generally follow your commands (like saying "No" every time he jumps up the cabinet or scratches the couch). Just make sure to give him a reward or an acceptable alternative as a form of appreciation for his good behavior.

Since Cymrics are very watchful cats and always want to make sure that he can see everything from where he perches, it is a good idea to have a cat condo high enough (see: Cat Scratching Tree Post Sisal Pole Condo House Furniture Multi level Blue 260cm or a cat tree (like: VuHom Cat Tree Kitten Scratcher Play House Condo Furniture 53“ (Beige)) which we can get easily at online stores like  activefelinesolutions.com.au that is placed in one spot inside the house where he can gaze and keep an eye over his territory.



Health

 

Though most of the health issues experienced by Cymrics are pretty much the same as other cat breeds, the most unique health issue that Cymrics (and also Manx cats) has something to do with the absence of their tails. There is a high chance that they will get Sacrocaudal dygenesis, which refers to the condition in which the cat’s spine, back, neck, and nerves may be deformed or missing key areas and this condition tends to be genetic in origin.


Given the importance of the sacral area of your cat’s spine, sacrocaudal dysgenesis can often lead to devastating side effects that interfere with your cat’s normal activities and quality of life. Sacrocaudal dysgenesis is a condition that requires extensive veterinary care and management and has a high rate of mortality in severely affected cats. Visit Cat Health for more information.

Since Cymrics are essentially a result of selective breeding (due to the location of Isle of Man, in which they are contained in only one area, thus inbreeding is inevitable), this disease easily spread among them and until now that they are already dispersed around the world, they still carry that anomaly in their genes. Diagnosis of spinal malformations may involve costly procedures such as MRIs and X-rays. Sadly, euthanasia is generally prescribed when these ailments occur.


Spina Bifida (usually occurs in newborn Cymrics) is a malformation caused by improper or incomplete fusion of the vertebrae. Kittens born with this malformation may present an open hole where the tail would normally be or the tail may be closed and the malformed segments of the vertebrae may be concealed. Either way, this condition rapidly leads to brain damage, inability to walk, incontinence and severe pain in kittens.

Other issues may include:

Arthritis of the tail bone for rumpys (cats with partial tail) and longys (ones with short tail).

Corneal dystrophy; Corneal dystrophy is an inherited progressive condition which affects both eyes, often in the same way. The cornea, the clear outer layer of the front of the eye, is most affected. The disease is not associated with other diseases, and only rarely occurs in cats.

Manx syndrome, a collection of birth defects that may include a spine that is too short (thus restricting movement), urinary tract defects, and problems with the bowels and digestion. The condition affects about 20 percent of Manx cats and some of the Cymric cats, most often rumpys, and usually shows up by the time a kitten is 4 months old. It is preferable to wait until that age before bringing a Manx kitten home.

You might want to also to have a copy of this book: Well Cat Book (amazon)  It can help you in describing cat illnesses and injuries, advises when veterinary care is necessary, and provides guidelines for the maintenance of healthy cats.

 

    Grooming

     

    The Cymric has a longer, double coat that is considered medium length and requires higher grooming needs than other breeds. Therefore, daily brushing routine is ideal to keep the coat smooth and healthy, as well as to remove falling hair build-up, tangles and of course the undercoat that can build up over time. Give extra brushing during shedding seasons too. Before brushing, check its skin for any signs of skin problems by running your hands over your cat's fur and feel for bumps, lumps, and swelling and also look for skin discoloration. Periodically change the litter on his litter box and always make sure that the litter box is clean all the time.


    Check their ears once a week for any gunk, debris, wax, or an infection. Check the outer part of the ear for bald spots, and ensure that the inner surface is light pink and dirt-free.

    Check its inner ear by gently folding back the ear to look into the ear canal. A healthy inner ear will have minimal ear wax and a healthy pink color with no debris or odor.

    Observe its teeth and gums. You can do this by gently pushing back its lips while it is facing you. Healthy teeth look intact (not broken or loose) and clean, Healthy gums look firm and pink (not white or red), and should have no signs of swelling. use a vet-approved toothpaste for regular brushing of its teeth.

    In the event that your Cymric cat really needs to take a bath (like if your kitty accidentally walked into a muddy path, splashing mud all over its coat or if the coat becomes dull due to dust and normal brushing won't do the trick), you need to use shampoo that is appropriate for your cat. Since Cymrics have long coat, it is also water-resistant and you may have a hard time lathering shampoo all over its coat. Patience is all you need and don't do it rashly, for you might unintentionally inflict pain to your cat.

    Cymric are like dogs when it comes to its demeanor sometimes, so if you are the type of person who wants to have somebody to look after your house while you are busy or away, then Cymrics are best suited for you. Just remember to let your cat feel that all his good actions are always appreciated.