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Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography
Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography
The friendly, affectionate Cymric (pronounced kim-rick) is the longhaired variety of the tailless Manx cat. Other than coat length, the two breeds are identical, with a solid body, round head, widely spaced ears and large, round eyes. The thick coat comes in many colors and patterns, including tabby, tortoiseshell and calico.
Legend has it that the Cymric lost his tail when the door of Noah's ark slammed shut on it. It's more likely, although less romantic, that the Cymric's taillessness is the result of a genetic mutation.
The Cymric (pronounced kim-rick) is the longhaired variety of the tailless Manx cat. Other than coat length, the two breeds are identical. The Cymric’s taillessness is the result of a spontaneous genetic mutation, a common occurrence in felines. Besides his lack of a tail, the Cymric, who takes his name from the Gaelic word for Wales, is noted for his rounded appearance: He has a round head, round eyes, even a rounded rear end. Don’t think that the Cymric is completely tailless, either; some are—they are called rumpys—but others have up to three vertebrae fused at the end of the spine (rumpy risers); some have a stump of up to five vertebrae that they can whisk around; and some, known as longys, have a tail that’s longer than the stump but shorter than the typical cat tail. The Cymric weighs seven to 13 pounds and has a silky, medium-length double coat in many colors and patterns.
The Cymric is gentle and playful. It’s not unusual to find that he enjoys playing fetch or carrying his toys around. He’s also smart and dexterous, capable of using his paws to get into cabinets or to open doors. Fond of human company, he will carry on a conversation in a sweet trilling voice. Some Cymrics give all their love to a single person while others are affectionate toward the entire family, including children.
He might lack a tail, but the Cymric has a powerful rear end and is an excellent jumper, even without a natural counterweight to aid his balance. When you see him accelerate through the house and make sharp turns and quick stops, you’ll think he’s a mini sports car in the shape of a cat.
The Cymric is well suited to any home with people who will love him, play with him and care for him. Keep him indoors to protect him from cars, diseases spread by other cats and attacks from other animals.
There are lots of myths about how these cats lost their tails. One is that they were late boarding the ark and had the door slammed on the tail. Another is that Irish or Viking raiders would steal kittens because their tails were considered to be good luck charms, so the mama cats simply bit the tails off. More likely, taillessness is the result of a genetic mutation, enhanced by centuries of inbreeding on the Isle of Man, where the cats are from. Along with the taillessness may have come a recessive gene for long hair. Voila! The Cymric.
The Cymric is highly intelligent. Challenge his brain and keep him interested in life by teaching him tricks and providing him with puzzle toys that will reward him with kibble or treats when he learns how to manipulate them.
Always choose a kitten from a breeder who raises litters in the home and handles them from an early age. Meet at least one and ideally both of the parents to ensure that they have nice temperaments.
All cats have the potential to develop health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit diseases. Any breeder who claims that her breed has no health or genetic problems is either lying or is not knowledgeable about the breed. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on kittens, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her kittens are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons.
The Cymric’s lack of a tail isn’t always benign. Some have spinal defects that result in neurological signs, such as problems defecating or urinating. Most Cymric kittens with these problems are identified by six months of age and must be euthanized. It doesn’t hurt to wait to take your kitten home until you’re sure he doesn’t suffer from any of these problems. Avoid kittens who have trouble walking or walk with a stiff or hopping gait, and do not buy from a breeder who does not provide a written health guarantee.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new kitten into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Keeping a Cymric at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to protect his overall health. Make the most of your preventive abilities to help ensure a healthier cat for life.
The Cymric coat is easy to groom. Comb or brush it two or three times a week to remove dead hair and prevent or remove any mats or tangles. You’ll need to brush him more often during the spring and fall shedding seasons. Trim the nails weekly and clean the ears occasionally if they look dirty. Brush the teeth with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for overall good health and fresh breath.
You want your Cymric to be happy and healthy so you can enjoy your time with him, so do your homework before you bring him home. For more information on the history, personality and looks of the Cymric, or to find breeders, visit the websites of the Cat Fanciers Association, Cats Center Stage, the Fanciers Breeder Referral List, and The International Cat Association. Keep in mind that because a Cymric is essentially a longhaired Manx, the breed information for the Manx will apply to the Cymric.
A reputable breeder will abide by a code of ethics that prohibits sales to pet stores and wholesalers and outlines the breeder’s responsibilities to their cats and to buyers. Choose a breeder who has performed the health certifications necessary to screen out genetic health problems to the extent that is possible, as well as one who raises kittens in her home. Kittens who are isolated can become fearful and skittish and may be difficult to socialize later in life.
Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include kittens always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any kitten, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Those things are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.
Whether you’re planning to get your feline friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and unhealthy catteries can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick kitten, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy kittens.
Put at least as much effort into researching your kitten as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
Be patient. Depending on what you are looking for, you may have to wait six months or more for the right kitten to be available. Many breeders won't release kittens to new homes until they are between 12 and 16 weeks of age.
Before you buy a kitten, consider whether an adult Cymric might be a better choice for your lifestyle. Kittens are loads of fun, but they’re also a lot of work and can be destructive until they reach a somewhat more sedate adulthood. With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health. If you are interested in acquiring an adult cat instead of a kitten, ask breeders about purchasing a retired show or breeding cat or if they know of an adult cat who needs a new home.
The Cymric is an unusual and uncommon breed. It is unlikely that you will find one in a shelter or through a rescue group, but it doesn’t hurt to look. Sometimes pedigreed cats end up at the shelter after losing their home to an owner’s death, divorce or change in economic situation. Check the listings on Petfinder, Adopt-a-Pet.com to find available Cymrics, search for Manx instead; a Cymric is a longhaired Manx.
Wherever you acquire your Cymric, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with “pet lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the cat from both understand your rights and recourses.
Kitten or adult, take your Cymric to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.
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