St. Patrick's Day Pets

Mar 16, 2019

Manx cats often have no tail at all.
Credit ismael villafranco [Flickr]

Manx cats come in many coat colors and patterns, including tabby, calico and even tortoiseshell.  The lack of a tail is genetic, but a Manx female can have a litter that includes kittens with tails and kittens without tails.

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Whether they are Irish or not, most folks like to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Ireland is noted for things like shamrocks, the Blarney stone, even Guinness beer. It has also produced some very popular pets, like the beautiful Irish Setter with its gorgeous dark reddish-brown feathery coat and fringed tail, and the Irish Wolfhound (which is the tallest of all dogs). The Irish Water Spaniel, an intelligent dog with a dense curly coat that can appear purple, is rare enough that (unlike its popular cousins) you might see it only if you watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

For cat lovers, there’s the Manx which originated on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. Most folks recognize Manx cats because of their tail, which is usually very short or non-existent. According to one legend the Manx lost its tail when boarding the ark – it arrived late and got its tail caught as Noah was closing the door.

The Manx is an ancient breed. No one is sure just how long it’s been around, but it was included in the first cat shows in Great Britain and is one of the founding breeds when the Cat Fanciers Association formed in 1906. For a while, it was only the short-haired version that was called a Manx; the long-hairs were called Cymrics.

Today, long- and short-hairs are grouped under the Manx name. In addition to its tail – or lack therof – the Manx cat has a round head and hind legs that are longer than the front ones. Most Manx cats are intelligent, good-natured, quite playful, and loyal to their humans.

The Manx is one of the 41 different breeds recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association, but the only one with Irish heritage. Of course, on St. Patrick’s Day, we all claim to be a little bit Irish. I suppose that can go for our furry friends, as well.

Whatever breed – or combination of breeds - your pet happens to be, they all have one thing in common. They share a special relationship with us, so special that we call them our best friends. That’s cause for celebration on St. Patrick’s Day or any day, when you’re speaking of pets.

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