Alex, The Cat Without A Tail

by MaxReily

An introduction to our pet cat, Alex, who just happens to have no tail.


The Day She Came Home

Our tail-less Cat

And how she joined the family....

As you can see from the picture above--our kitten is missing her tail.  She didn't lose it, or have it cut off. She was born without one--and so was her brother.

One Saturday in March a couple of years ago, my daughter and granddaughter decided that  our household was lacking something vitally necessary--a kitten. They made a visit to the local animal shelter that very day to choose one, and came back with a sweet little gray and white kitten, We decided to call her Alex. The first thing I noticed about Alex was that she was very small. The second thing I noticed was that she didn't have a tail.

It may not be fair to say that Alex has no tail at all--she does have a tiny puff of a tail; but It's more like a bunny's tail than a cat's. 

No Longer A Skinny Little Kitten!

All grown up!
Grown Up Alex

What Kind Of Cat Doesn't Have A Tail?

We Wondered That, Too.

I'd heard of Manx Cats, who famously have no tails--but I didn't know whether there were any of them in the U.S. After all, Manx Cats are from the Isle of Man, located off the coast of Great Britain.

I decided to go to the library and find out what I could about our newest little family member. I found that there are, indeed, Manx Cats in the United States; and that pedigreed ones can be quite valuable. I doubt very much that our Alex has a pedigree, since she was a shelter cat, but she's very valuable to us.

Manx Cats are categorized into several classes, based on the length of their tails. I discovered that, due to her bunny tail, our Alex would be classified as a "Riser".This is a Manx cat with only a tiny stub of cartilage where a tail should be--resulting in a furry little nub, like a rabbit tail. In fact, at one time people believed this type of cat was the offspring of a cat and a rabbit! Of course, we now know that's an impossibility, but having one of these cats, I can see how people might have thought that.

The only classification of Manx with a shorter tail than Alex's is the "Rumpy", with no tail whatsoever. There are several other classes of Manx , whose tail lengths can range from nonexistent to almost normal.

Alex In Her Favorite Spot

Lying in her cozy space by the window

The Mighty Hunter

Alex Catches Her First "Prey"

Manx Cats are reputed to be exceptionally good hunters. Alex, as an exclusively indoor cat, was deprived of the chance to prove herself in this respect.

Ever resourceful, our mighty hunter did manage to show her mettle by catching a very unusual prey. One evening we were relaxing in the living room when we heard the distinctive call that any cat owner knows is cat-speak for, "Look at me! I've caught something!" Down the hall trotted our proud Alex with something in her mouth. Our dread of seeing whatever poor unlucky little creature she'd caught soon turned to bewilderment as we tried to figure out just what is was--or had been-- then to laughter when she proudly dropped at our olive!  We'd had a salad for dinner-with our favorite jumbo black olives. Apparently one of them had made its way to the floor and fallen victim to our great predator.

Alex carried her prize around all evening, then dropped it in her dish before falling asleep. Because she was so proud, we tried to praise our brave olive hunter without laughing too much. We're very protective of Alex's self-esteem. She still doesn't know that other cats have tails! 


Updated: 09/06/2011, MaxReily
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MaxReily on 08/05/2011

From what I've read, they're quite plentiful on the Isle of Man. Not so much where I live--our Alex is really unusual here!

mivvy on 07/25/2011

She looks so cute. I have never seen a'real' Manx cat. If I went to the Isle of Man, would I see many?

MaxReily on 07/19/2011

Thanks everyone, she really is a cute cat! I wondered if the lack of a tail would affect her balance, but it's never seemed to bother her!

Guest on 07/18/2011

we had a Max cat when I was younger. They are funny to see at first but just as longing as the rest.

WordCustard on 07/18/2011

I think her 'bunny puff' of a tail is cute. Does it ever seem to affect her balance? I did smile at her great hunting feat. It's not every cat that can catch an olive... slippery customers, those olives. :)

nightbear on 07/17/2011

Absolutely beautiful Alex! I think it is very motherly of you to protect your young. I love the great huntress of Olives story. Great job. I enjoyed this read.

MaxReily on 07/17/2011

Cats are so adaptable--I adopted a kitten with a badly broken leg once, and was told he'd never be able to jump or even walk without a limp. But he did both as well as any other cat. Out Alex is sweet too, and puts up with a lot from kids!

TheWhistler on 07/17/2011

Great cat. We had one missing a front leg and she got around just fine. She had the sweetest nature

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