When we think of cats, we think of whiskers, purrs, and long tails. As a result, a bobbed-tail kitten may cause some perplexity and even anxiety. This feature, on the other hand, is very widespread and is also a trademark of many championship cat breeds.
The Cost of Dominance
The Manx is the most well-known bobbed-tail cat breed. Although it is not the oldest, it has been recognised by show cat groups for the longest.
The Manx (longhaired variants are known as Cymrics) are a British Isle of Man ethnic group. Its bobbing tail is due to a dominant gene mutation caused by inbreeding among the island cats’ tiny population.
Kittens may be born without a tail, with a short tail, or with a typical length tail; nevertheless, only fully tail-less Manx are considered show quality.
Unfortunately, they are prone to health issues. Their absence of a tail may expose the end of the spinal cord, causing discomfort and damage if it comes into touch with a surface or if the cat’s rear end is held unsupported. Disrupted muscle and nerve connections may also cause bowel control problems.
A Common Recessive
Bobbed tails, which are caused by a recessive gene, are much more frequent than Manx-type taillessness and have no health consequences. Recessive bobtails, on the other hand, are known for being extremely healthy and robust. In many parts of the globe, these bobtails have evolved into distinct breeds. Many of them are so-called “natural breeds,” which developed when cats adapted to their natural surroundings without the aid of human breeding.
Natural bobtail breeds are most often seen on islands. They may have short, corkscrew-shaped or pom-pom-shaped (rabbit-like) tails, but they always have fewer vertebrae and shorter tails than long-tail breeds. Natural bobbed-tail cats have tails that are so distinct that they’ve been likened to human fingerprints, and they can wag and wiggle their tails to convey their feelings.
A Wild Side
The gentlemen in issue are bobcats or lynx, both of which belong to the same genus as the domestic cat, meaning they may interbreed despite being distinct species. These kittens are bigger than domestic kittens and may have problems with behaviour and socialisation. Typically, only two infants are born in a litter.
The Japanese bobtail is the most well-known natural bobbed-tail breed, with origins dating back over 1,000 years. There’s also the Kurilian bobtail, which lives on an island between Russia and Japan, and the Mekong bobtail, as well as small groups of true-breeding bobbed-tail cats in Asia.
The American bobtail is often classified as a natural breed, although it was created by breeders from bobtail kittens they found. The same may be said about the pixie bob breed, which has a wildcat-like appearance. Initially, both breeders claimed that their cats were derived from bobcat hybrids, but when cat organisations refused to accept wildcat hybrids, they changed their minds. A few breeds (the American lynx breed group) openly admit hybrid ancestry, but cat organisations do not accept them.