Cats who wave short tails are known as bobtail cats. Their tails are the result of a natural genetic mutation, and the length can range from nonexistent, as in the Manx, to a length in which the tip of the tail aligns with the top of the hock. These breeds all share delightful temperaments in addition to their short tails, but they each have unique physical traits that set them apart from one another.
Manx and Cymric
One of the most easily recognized feline breeds is the Manx, characterized by her rounded hindquarters and lack of a tail. This ancient breed originally hails from the Isle of Man, where these cats carried and spread their dominant genetic mutation for being tailless. Unlike the bobtail breeds mentioned below, the Manx cat does carry at least one gene for producing a full-length tail.
Manx cats who have a complete absence of tail with a smooth and rounded rump are called rumpies. Those who exhibit a slight protrusion where a tail would begin are called rump risers. Manx cats can sport short tails that resemble those of the bobtail breeds and tails whose lengths match those of other feline breeds, but only rumpies and rump risers are permitted to compete for championships in Cat Fanciers Association and The International Cat Association cat shows.
Other traits of the Manx include:
- An overall round appearance, another trait that distinguishes the Manx from the bobtail breeds mentioned below. She is round in body, face and eyes, and the tips of her ears are rounded as well.
- Hindquarters that are higher than her forequarters, giving her a bunny hop-like gait when she is on the move.
- A medium-sized body.
- A double coat that may be short-haired or long-haired and comes in a variety of colors and patterns. The long-haired variation of the Manx cat is called the Cymric. The coat length is the sole difference between the Manx and the Cymric.
- A temperament that is affectionate and playful.
The medium-large American bobtail was developed in the United States during the 1960s when a short-tailed male tabby was crossed with a Siamese. The resulting litter of kittens exhibited the short tail, which occurs as a natural genetic mutation. Their short tails can range from 1 inch to long enough to meet the top of the cat's hock. Additional traits of the American bobtail include:
- A rectangular-shaped body.
- A medium-length coat that can be any color or pattern.
- Almond-shaped eyes.
- A temperament that is intelligent, affectionate, friendly, active and playful.
- American bobtails take two to three years to full mature into adulthood.
One of the new bobtail cats on the block is the Highlander, whose development began in 2004. The medium to large-sized Highlander sports a short tail length that is the same in length as that of the American bobtail. Other traits of the Highlander include:
- Ears of which the upper third portion curls outward.
- A coat that may be short-haired or long-haired, and it may display any of the tabby patterns, a tortoiseshell patter or any solid or pointed colors.
- A temperament that is highly energetic, active, athletic and outgoing.
This ancient breed has symbolized good luck in her native homeland of Japan for centuries, but did not appear in the United States until 1968. The medium-sized Japanese bobtail has a pom-pomlike bobtail that has kinks and curves that are unique to each cat. Other Japanese bobtail traits include:
- A coat that may be short-haired or long-haired and comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
- The most coveted coat color is called me-ke, which is a tricolored coat of red, black and white.
- A long, lean and muscular body.
- A triangular face that is defined by high cheekbones.
- Japanese bobtails are outing, playful, graceful and agile.
This bobtail cat is a newcomer to the United States, but he has been a popular breed in Russia for more than 200 years. The Kurilian bobtail cat's tail length ranges from 2 to 10 vertebrae, and it may kink, curve and spiral in various directions. Other characteristics of the Kurilian bobtail include:
- A body that is medium to large in size and muscular in build.
- A silky coat that may be short or semi-long and comes in any traditional solid color or tabby pattern with white markings.
- Kurilian bobtail cats are intelligent, sociable and playful.
The Pixiebob was developed in the northwestern United States during the 1980s. In addition to the short tail and an overall wildcat appearance, the medium to large-sized Pixiebob is distinguished by these characteristics:
- A coat that may be short or long and displays a spotted tabby pattern in brown hues that range from tawny to reddish brown.
- It is not uncommon for a Pixiebob to be polydactyl, having as many as seven toes on each paw.
- Pixiebobs are loyal and interactive companions who are intelligent, communicative and outgoing.
What all of the aforementioned feline breeds lack in tail length, they more than make up for in their winning personalities that make all of them outstanding family companions.