Are Manx Cats Polydactyl? The Truth About Their Extra Toes

Have you ever heard of Manx cats? These adorable felines are known for their unique physical characteristics, including their lack of a tail. But did you also know that some Manx cats have something extra – extra toes, to be precise? In this blog post, we will dive deep into the fascinating world of Manx cats and explore the truth behind their extra toes. So, let’s embark on this journey together and uncover the secrets of these polydactyl felines.

What is a Manx Cat?

Before we delve into the intricacies of polydactylism in Manx cats, let’s first understand what exactly a Manx cat is. Originating from the Isle of Man, these felines are known for their distinct lack of a tail. In fact, the Manx breed is often referred to as “tailless” cats. Their round, compact bodies and sturdy build give them a unique appearance that is hard to miss.

Origin and History of Manx Cats

The history of Manx cats is shrouded in mystery and folklore. Legend has it that these cats, which were brought to the Isle of Man by shipwrecked sailors, were gifted with their tailless trait to help them navigate the rocky terrain of the island. Whether this tale is true or not, one thing is certain – Manx cats have a rich history that has captivated cat enthusiasts for centuries.

Physical Characteristics of Manx Cats

Apart from their distinct lack of a tail, Manx cats exhibit various physical characteristics that make them stand out from other breeds. Their hind legs are longer than their front legs, giving them a rabbit-like hopping gait. Their rounded heads, large eyes, and expressive faces add to their irresistible charm. But what truly sets them apart from other cats is the possibility of having extra toes.

Personality Traits of Manx Cats

Manx cats are not just unique in appearance; they also have distinctive personality traits. Known for their intelligence and playfulness, these felines are often described as active and adventurous. They are known to form strong bonds with their human companions and can be quite affectionate. Despite their energetic nature, they are also known for their gentle and sweet disposition.

Understanding Polydactylism

Now that we have a basic understanding of Manx cats, let’s explore the world of polydactylism – the condition that leads to extra toes in cats.

Definition and Explanation of Polydactylism

Polydactylism is a genetic mutation that results in cats being born with more than the usual number of toes on their paws. While most cats have five toes on their front paws and four on their hind paws, polydactyl cats can have six, seven, or even more toes on one or more of their paws. This condition can affect any breed of cat and is not limited to Manx cats alone.

Genetics of Polydactyl Cats

Polydactylism is an inherited trait, meaning it is passed down from one generation to the next through genes. The specific gene responsible for this mutation is still not fully understood, but it is believed to be an autosomal dominant gene. This means that even if only one parent carries the gene, there is a chance that their offspring will also have extra toes.

The Myth of Manx Cats and Polydactylism

Over the years, various myths and misconceptions have emerged surrounding Manx cats and their extra toes. It’s time to separate fact from fiction and debunk some of the common misconceptions about these fascinating felines.

Common Misconceptions and Exaggerations

One of the most common misconceptions is that all Manx cats are polydactyl, meaning they all have extra toes. This is simply not true. While some Manx cats are indeed polydactyl, not all of them exhibit this trait. It’s important not to generalize and assume that every Manx cat you come across will have extra toes.

The Extra Toes Phenomenon in Manx Cats

The association between Manx cats and polydactylism has led to the belief that all Manx cats have extra toes. However, the truth is that the occurrence of polydactylism in Manx cats is relatively rare. While some individuals within the breed may have extra toes, it is not a defining characteristic of the Manx breed as a whole.

The Truth About Manx Cats and Extra Toes

Now that we have debunked some of the myths surrounding Manx cats and polydactylism, let’s explore the truth behind this fascinating phenomenon.

Occurrence of Polydactylism in Manx Cats

While not all Manx cats have extra toes, it is true that there is a higher incidence of polydactylism within the Manx breed compared to other cat breeds. This increased occurrence is believed to be due to the genetic pool of Manx cats, which has a higher chance of carrying the polydactyl gene. However, it is important to note that even within the Manx breed, not all individuals will have extra toes.

Impact on Manx Cats’ Health and Well-being

Having extra toes does not impact a Manx cat’s health or well-being negatively. In fact, it doesn’t present any significant health problems associated with polydactylism. The extra toes may even provide them with an advantage when it comes to balance and agility. However, it’s always important to monitor the overall health of any cat, regardless of the number of toes they have.

Debunking Stereotypes and Myths

Now that we have a better understanding of polydactylism in Manx cats, let’s take a closer look at the genetics behind extra toes and explore the association between Manx cats and this fascinating trait.

Exploring the Association Between Manx Cats and Extra Toes

While there is a higher chance of polydactylism occurring in Manx cats compared to other breeds, it is not exclusive to them. Polydactyl cats can be found in various breeds and even in mixed-breed cats. The association between Manx cats and extra toes is simply a result of the increased likelihood of carrying the polydactyl gene within the Manx breed.

Understanding the Genetics Behind Extra Toes in Manx Cats

As mentioned earlier, polydactylism is an inherited trait. While the specific gene responsible for extra toes in Manx cats is still not fully understood, it is believed to be linked to the same gene that causes the taillessness in the breed. Further research is needed to shed more light on the intricate genetic makeup of these fascinating felines.


In conclusion, Manx cats are not inherently polydactyl, although there is a higher incidence of extra toes within the breed compared to others. Polydactylism is a fascinating genetic mutation that can occur in any cat breed, and its association with Manx cats is simply a result of the breed’s genetic makeup. So, the next time you come across a Manx cat, don’t be surprised if you see some extra toes – they are just adding to their already unique charm.

ThePetFaq Team