We recently compiled a list of cats with unique tails. Quite on purpose, however, that list didn’t include very many bobtail cats or cats without tails. Have you ever seen a cat with a bobtail, or even a cat with no tail? Learn more about cats with these mutations, as well as which breeds you’ll commonly find them on.
8 bobtail cats
Where do bobtail cats come from? Bobtails are a naturally occurring genetic mutation found among certain cat breeds. Bobtails generally don’t impact a cat’s way of life, although these breeds sometimes suffer arthritis of the tailbone. While we’ve learned that tails play an important role in certain aspects of your cat’s life—including ability to balance, righting reflex, and sensory touch—these bobtail cats seem to get along just fine with extra short tails!
With a distinct kinked tail, the small, affectionate Mekong Bobtail is naturally found throughout many parts of Southeast Asia. In the latter part of the 19th century, roughly 200 cats, considered “royal,” were gifted to Nicholas II, the Tsar of Russia, by the King of Siam.
The Japanese Bobtail has a short “bunny tail” that can be rigid or flexible. This breed has been documented in written records and paintings in Japan for at least 1,000 years. The first Japanese Bobtail was imported to the U.S. in 1968.
The lynx-like Kurilian Bobtail is a natural breed found on Russia’s Sakhalin island and Kuril archipelago. Cats with short tails have been documented on the islands for at least 200 years, and were brought to central Russia in the mid-20th century.
The playful, gentle Highlander originated as a crossbreed of the experimental Desert Lynx bobtail cats—where he received his short tail and exotic spots—and the Jungle Curl, from which he got his distinct curled ears.
The American Bobtail, sometimes referred to as the Golden Retriever of the cat world, was first discovered in Arizona in the 1960s. This cat was bred with a non-pedigreed domestic cat, whose kittens inherited their father’s bobtail.
Perpetually kittens in size, the Toybob breed appeared after a Mekong Bobtail breeder bred a stray seal-point male with a kinked bobbed tail with a short-tailed seal-point female, who produced unusually tiny bobtail cats!
The muscular, brawny Pixiebob was bred to resemble wild red bobcats found in the coastal mountains of Washington state. These dog-like cats can grow to be large (up to 17 pounds), and are often polydactyl.
The Owyhee Bob came from an accidental and then intentional mating of Siamese and Manx (a cat with no tail) breeds. The Owyhee Bob is slow to mature, like the Manx, and a colorpoint breed, like the Siamese.
Cats without tails
A cat with no tail is unusual, to say the least. There are two such breeds known for producing cats without tails: the short-haired Manx, and its long-haired counterpart, the Cymric. Both breeds are from the Isle of Man, a small island in an isolated area where inbreeding in the feline population gave rise to a lack of tail becoming a common trait. The mutation occurs so that kittens are born without the vertebrae of a normal tail, resulting in a small hollow where the tail is supposed to be. Sadly, this gene can cause severe developmental abnormalities and even death in kittens and cats.
While known for being a superior mouser, the short-haired Manx cat is also highly affectionate and mellow when not “on guard.”
Legend has it that the long-haired Cymric cat lost his tail when the door of Noah’s ark slammed shut on it. Ouch!
Which of these bobtail cats is your favorite? (We can’t decide!)
Cover © TRUE KURILIANS / CC-BY-SA-4.0