Guide to Cat Breeds (See Full List)

Cymric

Cymric

Ancestry: Random-bred longhaired and shorthaired domestic cats
Place of Origin: Isle of Man, Great Britain
Date of Origin: Unknown
Accepted by: All North American cat associations (championship) except CFF.

 
Description

Taillessness appears absolute in the perfect specimen. Because of the idiosyncrasies of the tailless gene, Cymrics do not breed true. Four distinctly different tail types are produced. The rumpy is highly prized; this tail type—or rather, lack thereof—is favored in the show ring. Entirely tailless, rumpies often have a dimple at the base of the spine where the tail would ordinarily begin. Rumpy-risers have a short knob of tail that consists of one to three vertebrae connected to the last bone of the spine. Risers can be shown if the vertical rise of the tail doesn’t stop the judge’s hand when the cat is stroked. Stumpies are usually pet quality; these cats have a short tail stump that is often curved, knotted, or kinked. Longies have tails almost as long as an ordinary cat’s. Most breeders dock the tails of longie kittens four to six days after birth. This makes it easier to find homes for these pet-quality kittens, since few people are willing to adopt a Cymric with a tail. Also, breeders say the Manx gene can cause problems for longie adult cats five years of age and older. The tail may become ossified and arthritic, causing great pain.

It’s impossible to predict what tail types will appear in any given litter, even when breeding rumpy to rumpy. Since other genetic defects are more likely to occur when rumpies are bred together for three or more generations, experienced breeders include all four tail types in their breeding programs.

The Cymric is a solidly muscled, compact, medium to large cat with a sturdy bone structure. Adult males weigh 9 to 13 pounds; adult females weigh 7 to 11 pounds. The overall impression is of roundness; the round head with prominent cheeks and jowls enhances the round appearance. The eyes are large, round and full, and set at a slight angle toward the nose with the outer corners slightly higher than the inner corners. The ears are medium-sized, widely spaced, and wide at the base, tapering gradually to a rounded tip.

The hair is medium-long, dense and well -padded over the main body, adding to the rounded appearance. The hair gradually lengthens from the shoulders to the rump, and the full breeches are thick to the hocks. The hair on the abdomen and neck ruff is usually longer than that on the main body. The cheeks have thick, full hair, and the ruff extends from the shoulders to the chest like a bib. Toes and ears have impressive tufts. Even though the coat is full and plush because of the dense undercoat, the hair is soft and silky and falls smoothly over the body. As with most longhairs, coat length changes with the seasons; the summer coat is shorter than the longer, heavier winter coat.

In CFA and most other associations, all colors and patterns are accepted except those showing hybridization resulting in the colors chocolate, lavender, the Himalayan pattern, or these combinations with white. However, in TICA all colors and patterns are accepted, including the pointed pattern. Eye color can be gold to copper, green, hazel, blue, or odd-eyed, depending upon the color and pattern of the coat.

History

Although the Cymric was officially accepted relatively recently, the breed has been around for hundreds of years, for as long as the Manx. The Cymric developed on the Isle of Man, a small island in the Irish Sea midway between England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. The island has been inhabited since Neolithic times. Since the Isle has no indigenous wildcats from which the Cymric could develop, domestic cats must have been introduced by human settlers, traders, and explorers; who and when (and from where) is not known. Some believe the Isle of Man cats descended from British cats, which is possible given the Isle’s proximity to Britain. However, during the 17th and 18th centuries trading vessels from all over the world stopped at the Isle of Man’s ports. Since such ships commonly kept cats for their rodent-catching abilities, the Cymric and Manx ancestors could have easily come from somewhere else. Both long and shorthaired cats were transported to the island, and both hair lengths developed there.

According to island records, taillessness began as a mutation among the island’s domestic cat population, although some believe the mutation occurred elsewhere and was later transported onto the island. We’ll never know for sure, though, since it happened hundreds of years ago. Given the Isle’s closed environment and small gene pool, the dominant gene that governs the Cymric’s taillessness easily passed from one generation to the next, as did the gene for long hair. Soon a thriving population of tailless cats of various types and hair lengths roamed the green hills and wooded glens of the Isle of Man, playing hide and squeak with the resident mice.

Unlike the taillessness gene, long hair is governed by a recessive gene, which means a cat must inherit the longhair gene from both parents to exhibit the trait. Because of this, longhaired kittens can and do appear in Manx litters. A recessive gene can be carried for generations without manifesting in the physical appearance.

Even though longhaired cats were on the Isle all along, it took many years before the Cymric was recognized as a breed in its own right by the cat associations. In North America, the Manx was recognized in the 1920s, but the Cymric wasn’t shown until the early 1960s and didn’t begin to gain popularity until the mid-1970s. In 1976, CCA was the first to accept the Cymric for championship status. In 1979, TICA accepted the Manx and the Cymric for championship; both breeds are part of the Manx Breed Group and share a standard, except for the sections describing the two hair lengths. Other associations soon followed, and today the Cymric enjoys championship status in all but CFF .

In 1994, the CFA dropped the name Cymric and accepted the Manx Longhair as a division of the Manx breed. A single breed standard covers both breeds. This is a benefit to breeders, since longhaired kittens born to Manx parents can be registered and shown in the longhair division.

Notes

The gene that gives the Cymric its unique tail also can be lethal. Kittens who inherit two copies of the tailless gene—one copy from each parent—die before birth and are reabsorbed in the womb. Since these kittens make up about 25 percent of all kittens conceived from Cymric-to-Cymric matings, litters are usually small, averaging two or three kittens. Even Cymrics who inherit only one copy of the tailless gene can have what’s commonly called Manx Syndrome. An abnormally short spine can result in gaps in the vertebrae, fused vertebrae, bowel or bladder dysfunction, and Spina bifida (an incompletely formed spinal column that doesn't close completely, allowing the spinal cord to protrude through the opening). These defects are usually so serious that affected kittens must be put down.

Not every Cymric with a short spine has these problems and Manx Syndrome is not necessarily an indication of poor breeding practices; it can occur even in the most carefully planned litters. It’s just an unfortunate effect of the unpredictable expression of the Manx gene. These problems usually become apparent within the first month, but they can occur within the first six months of age, which is why it’s wise to wait until the Manx or Cymric kitten is older before you purchase one. Buy from a breeder who is willing to guarantee the health of her cats and kittens. A veterinary health certificate at the time of sale is not enough, particularly if the kitten is less than four months old. Avoid Cymrics who show any signs of weakness in the hindquarters or who walk stiffly, hop, or have trouble moving freely.

Dr. Leslie Lyons of UC Davis, as part of the Feline Genome Project, an international research effort to develop the DNA sequence of the cat genome, is studying the Scottish Fold, Manx, and Munchkin to determine why some bloodlines have health problems associated with their unique autosomal dominant traits and others do not. Dr. Lyons wishes to identify the genes responsible for the traits in the hope that this will help distinguish the bloodlines that cause problems so they can be eliminated from the gene pools. This research may help breeders keep their lines healthy and free of dangerous defects in coming years.

The Cymric requires regular grooming, but not nearly as much as longhaired breeds like the Persian. Despite the double coat, the hair resists matting and therefore doesn’t require daily grooming. Still, the Cymric's dense coat needs to be combed with a good steel comb twice a week to remove loose hairs and prevent matting. During the fall and spring shedding, every other day combing is needed to keep your Cymric from becoming matted.

Did you know?

The name Cymric ( KIM-rick) is derived from Cymru, the Welsh word for Wales. The name is fitting, since one of the pioneer Cymric breeders heard her grandmother tell tales of the longhaired tailless cats she’d seen during her childhood in Wales (located in southwest Great Britain).

Personality

Cymrics share the Manx’s pleasing temperament. Intelligent, even-tempered, playful and adaptable, Cymrics form strong bonds of love and trust with their chosen human companions. They are very affectionate and are often lap cats. That plush coat makes Cymrics as cuddly and huggable as teddy bears. However, they are usually not overly demanding of attention.

While they commonly bond with one special person of their choosing, Cymrics enjoy the company of all family members and generally make good family pets. They get along with other companion animals as well, even cat-friendly dogs, if proper introductions are made. If you spend a great deal of time away from home, consider getting another cat to keep your Cymric from becoming lonely.

Even though they are only moderately active, Cymrics are playful. Because of their powerful back legs, Cymrics are exceptional jumpers. Combine that with a healthy curiosity and you’ll usually find them on the tallest perch in the house. Unless you want to see your Cymric grinning down at you like the Cheshire cat from the highest drapery rod, provide her with a tall, sturdy cat tree.

Like Manx, Cymrics are fascinated by water, perhaps from all those years on the Isle of Man. They particularly enjoy running water. Waterers that provide fresh water are a big hit with Cymrics and prevent them from begging you to turn on the faucet every time you enter the kitchen. Don’t let this mislead you into thinking they will love baths, however.

Breed Characteristics

Size:Medium to large.
Coat Length(s):Long hair.
Body Type:Semi-cobby.
Grooming Requirement: wice a week.
Talkativeness:Average.
Activity Level:Average.
Affection:Very affectionate.
Usually Good With:Everyone.
Time Alone:More than 8 hours a day.
Attention:Needs average attention.
Handling:Easy to handle.