There are so many dog breeds originating from Ireland but how about cats? We examined the Irish cat breeds for you and the list actually may surprise you.
Everybody knows an Irish setter or an Irish terrier, right? Even if you didn’t see one, at least you may have heard of them. But in my opinion, Irish cat breeds are not famous enough and they don’t get the attention they deserve even in the cat world.
Some people may say that there are only two Irish cat breeds Manx and Irish domestic cat but actually there are 4 more cat breeds that deserve to be mentioned. Although these other 4 Irish cat breeds are the same as Manx when it comes to their characters, but their looks are different, so it is only fair to mention them separately.
1 – Irish Domestic Cat
Irish domestic cats are thought to arrive in Ireland about 2,000 years ago with invading armies so they may be called ancient. By the Middle Ages cats were so popular with the Irish that there were special laws known as Catslechtae that described the punishments associated with mistreating cats.
These kitties are not pedigreed cats, they are the result of thousands of years of natural breeding across all kinds of cats available in Ireland. Their genetic pool is so rich that they can come in any pattern, colour, coat length or character. Irish domestic cat is the perfect example of how a cat adapts its environment.
2 – Manx Cat
Manx cat is a tailless cat breed that originates from the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. This kitty has a long history. It was one of the original breeds that appeared at the very first cat show in Great Britain and it is also one of the founding breeds of the Cat Fanciers’ Association.
Not all Manx cats are tailless and there might be tailless and long tailed Manx cats in the same litter of kittens. These tailed Manx cats are called Isle of Man Shorthair Cat, and we will explain them in a minute. Since all Manx cats have at least one long tail gene, even two tailless Manx cats can and does produce Isle of Man Shorthair Cats.
Manx cats are social but a little shy of strangers. They are very loyal and attached to their humans. They are considered excellent hunters and that’s why they are historically preferred by farmers and sailors against rodent problems. Intelligent, playful, docile and dog-like… What more can you want from a kitty?
3 – Isle of Man Shorthair Cat
These are simply Manx cats with long tails. They can be in the same litter of kittens with their tailless siblings with a mother and father both of whom are tailless or tailed. I don’t want to bore you with the details of genetic information but just know that there are two genes (tailed and tailless), and these kitties have one of each.
Although they are exactly the same cat with the Manx except for the long tail, New Zealand Cat Fancy recognizes them as a separate breed. Just like Manx cats, Isle of Man Shorthair cats are kid-friendly, pet-friendly, affectionate little balls of fur.
4 – Cymric (Longhair Manx)
Cymric can be tailless or partially tailed with long hair due to crossbreeding with Himalayan, Persian and other longer-haired breeds. Therefore, it is safe to say that although sometimes it is called Longhair Manx, only one of its ancestors is Manx and the other is another breed of longhaired cat.
To be honest, there is a debate going on for some time inside the cat organizations whether to accept Cymric as a separate breed or to keep calling it Manx Longhair and keep it under Manx category however there are many organizations that accept it as a separate breed.
By the way, Cymric was developed in Canada but hey it is still half Irish 😸
5 – Isle of Man Longhair
Isle of Man Longhair cat is a fully tailed version of Cymric. It resembles Cymric in every way except for its tail. This kitty also is not accepted by most major cat organizations as a separate breed, but New Zealand Cat Fancy accepted Isle of Man Longhair as a separate breed with standards of its own.
6 – Tasman Manx
Tasman Manx takes its name from the Tasman Sea between New Zealand and Australia. What separates Tasman Manx from the other Manx related cats is its curly coat just like a Selkirk Rex. Although this natural mutation happened in both Australia and New Zealand, Tasman Manx is still one of the Irish cat breeds.
Tasman Manx can be tailless or partially tailed with short or semi-long coat. It is one of the few curly haired cat breeds that doesn’t have the term “Rex” in its name. It is recognized by both New Zealand Cat Fancy and Catz Inc. registry.