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Manx Cat vs American Bobtail Cat: What’s the Difference?

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Manx vs American Bobtail

Choosing a new feline for your home is a difficult decision with so many purebred and mixed breeds available. Not every species is suitable for family living, but Manx cats and American Bobtails are two of the most affectionate, playful cats on the planet. Both cats are known for their short, cropped tails, but Manx cats often have no tail at all. American Bobtails and Manx cats share similar characteristics, but American Bobtails are generally larger cats that weigh up to 16 pounds. Either cat would make an exceptional pet for your family, so let’s go over the breeds’ traits and advantages to help you make a final decision.

Visual Differences

Manx vs American Bobtail side by side
Image Credit: (L) Amanda Coldicutt, Shutterstock | (R) Ievgeniia Miroshnichenko, Shutterstock

At a Glance

Manx Cat
  • Origin: Isle of Mann
  • Size: 8-12 pounds
  • Lifespan: 14-16 years
  • Domesticated?: Yes
American Bobtail Cat
  • Origin: United States
  • Size: 7-16 pounds
  • Lifespan: 13-15 years
  • Domesticated?: Yes

Manx Animal Breed Overview

Purebred Manx cats originated on the Isle of Mann. Although their exact origin is unknown, most researchers believe a cat that carried a dominant tailless gene mated with other feral cats, and eventually, the trait spread throughout the population. Most Manx are shorthairs, but long-haired varieties were later introduced to the feral island cats, and some have longer coats. They carry at least one gene for long tails, and two tailless parents are capable of producing kittens with or without tails. Long-haired Manx are sometimes referred to as Cymric cats.

manx cat on bench
Image Credit: rokopix, Shutterstock

Characteristics & Appearance

Manx cats are not as large as other breeds, and most are only 14 to 16 inches long. They have round heads and compact, rounded bodies. Their coats vary in colors and patterns, but the rarest type of Manx is pure white. One of the animal’s most notable characteristics is its powerful hind legs. They’re longer than its front legs and allow the feline to leap to impressive heights. Its longer hind legs cause its rump to stay elevated and higher than its head. Manx enjoy perching in high places like bookshelves, and some can grab door handles and open doors.

They have a wild, working cat heritage, but Manx cats are one of the most loving types of cats. They bond quickly to their human caretakers, and they’re fond of following their owners around the home like loyal dogs and laying in their laps. They’re active but only require a moderate amount of exercise. Daily play sessions are essential, but Manx are also happy to lounge around the home with their owners. They love to play games typically associated with canines like catch and tug of war, and some Manx will even take a dip in a pool or pond.

Both short-haired and long-haired varieties have a double coat and require daily brushing to keep their fur healthy and clean. Neither type is hypoallergenic, and long-haired Manx are not ideal for owners suffering from allergies or respiratory issues.

manx cat
Image Credit: Seattle Cat Photo, Shutterstock

Uses

In addition to making excellent house cats, Manx are helpful animals to have on a farm or rural homestead. They’re skilled hunters who enjoy hunting and feasting on rodents. If a mouse wanders onto your property, you can rely on the Manx for pest control.

American Bobtail Animal Breed Overview

As its name suggests, the American Bobtail has a shorter tail that’s usually between 1 and 4 inches long. The breed was developed in the 1960s when a short-tailed Tabby was mated with a seal-point Siamese female. In 2000, the Cat Fancier’s Association (CFA) recognized the American Bobtail as an official breed. Like the Manx, the American Bobtail is a loving feline with a personality similar to a canine’s personality.

American Bobtail
Image Credit: OrangeGroup, Shutterstock

Characteristics & Appearance

Bobtails come in various colors and patterns, but breeders strive to bring out the animal’s wild “Tabby” features. It has a long, stocky body with long hind legs and shorter front legs. Bobtail coats can be short or medium-long, and some cats have tufts of hair between their paws. Their coats are not as dense as Manx cats, but the felines still require daily brushing to keep their fur shiny and healthy. Unlike other breeds, their eye color corresponds to their coat. This characteristic often makes them appear exotic and like Bobcats.

American Bobtails are playful felines that enjoy being beside their owners at all times of the day. They’re excellent pets for older children and families with multiple animals. They love to play, but they’re also happy to be lapcats and only require moderate exercise. Bobtails are intelligent creatures that are more skilled than other breeds in escaping pet carriers and rooms with closed doors. If you take a Bobtail on a trip with a carrier, be sure to secure all the clasps on the doors to prevent the cat’s escape.

Two American Bobtail
Image Credit: Levgeniia Miroshichenko, Shutterstock

Uses

Most cats are unhappy on car rides, but American Bobtails love to travel. They’re one of the few cats that can stay calm on the road, and they’re a favorite breed of truckers who prefer to travel with their pets. Although Bobtails can take two to three years to reach maturity, they’re easy to train and require little repetition to learn new tricks. Walking a cat on a leash is not a common sight, but you can teach your Bobtail to use a leash much easier than other species.

What Are the Differences Between Manx Cats & American Bobtails?

The Manx and American Bobtail have many similarities, and both breeds would make excellent additions as household cats. However, we’ll look at the slight differences to help you decide which feline is suitable for your home.

manx cat
Image Credit: PradaBrown, Shutterstock

Temperament

Manx and Bobtails are playful cats that only require moderate exercise, but both animals require loads of love and attention. Manx are better suited to a rural environment because they enjoy hunting, but they can adapt to apartment living if they’re entertained with games and petting.

The American Bobtail is the ideal cat if you’re looking for a travel companion. They’re much happier riding in cars with their family than staying by themselves in an empty home.

Health

Bobtails and Manx are hardy cats with few medical problems, but their shortened tails make them more vulnerable to spinal conditions. Compared to Bobtails, Manx are susceptible to a few more spinal issues, including Manx Syndrome. Symptoms of Manx Syndrome may include bowel conditions, a shortened spinal column, and reduced mobility in the hind legs. Breeders typically euthanize kittens with Manx Syndrome, and they usually do not allow adoptions until the kittens are 4 months old. Most symptoms occur before Manx are 4 months old, but you should visit a veterinarian after adopting a Manx to ensure the cat does not suffer from any medical issues.

American Bobtail Kitten side view
Image Credit: Larecottonstudio, Shutterstock

Care

Both Manx and Bobtail require daily grooming and a nutritious diet high in animal proteins. The only difference in the care of the two breeds is how you pick up the cats. You have to be more careful with the rump of the Manx when you hold it because its hindquarters are more sensitive and vulnerable to injuries.

Which Breed Is Right for You?

Whether you choose an American Bobtail or a Manx, you’ll have a friendly, loving companion for many years. Each cat is perfect for families, but American Bobtails are slightly calmer around children than Manx. If you travel frequently, an American Bobtail is preferable, but if you need a skilled hunter on your property for rodent control, the Manx is the top cat.


Featured Image Credit: (L) Seattle Cat Photo, Shutterstock | (R) OrangeGroup, Shutterstock

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