Cat Sanctuary

Messy Manxes

One of the most consistent reasons for people surrendering a cat is that it doesn’t use the litter-box. Some folks give up very easily – even when it may be human-caused stress behind the peeing. Others, like Ollie’s family, go years dealing with peed-on furniture, because they love the cat so much

Sativa – MW

This, of course, is particularly heartbreaking when the cat really can’t help it at all! Long-time Sanctuary folks will know that we have occasionally given house-room to cats with Manx Syndrome.  Manx cats are a very standard mutation of the cat family, and their lack of tail may go all the way from no tail at all – perhaps a little tuft of fur – to a tail that is perhaps up to 2/3 the length of a regular tail. The mutation appears naturally; unfortunately the genetic quirk for taillessness can lead to an extreme condition in which the spine is so short that the urinary and fecal sphincters are affected, and the cat has no control over bladder and bowels. It’s a form of spina bifida, which requires a good deal of extra care that need to be poured into housing cats of this kind.  This includes daily monitoring and tracking by our med staff, baths as needed, and continuous cleaning of their bedding and favourite resting spots.

SweetPea (RIP) – PH

Longtime former residents SweetPea and Peewee were well-loved, received daily baths, and everything possible to make their lives more comfortable. Both struggled with urinary infections and constipation, which at its extreme, manifests as megacolon.

Sativa – MW

Sativa came to us about a year ago from a family who loved her and struggled with her handicap. The decision to surrender her was a hard one, and they really miss her – they have proved to be among our most faithful Sunday visitors, coming to see her almost every week.

Sativa – MW

She’s shy – less about humans in general, and perhaps more because she objects to being popped into a bath every evening. Unfortunately, her incontinence leads her to leave a little trail of poop wherever she goes, and since she enjoys visiting around the Double-Wide in a variety of cages, there’s always cleaning-up to be done.

Plum – MW

Pretty dilute Plum is a more recent arrival, coming in with Boop in the New Year. Grey/white Boop is pretty feral and does not usually want to be handled or photographed; his cage bore a warning about his tendency to bite. Once released, he hid, and we go to great lengths to monitor his movement within the sanctuary to  make sure he stays as clean as possible.  Luckily his degree of disability is not as great as Sativa’s, and he can get away with fewer baths.

Boop hiding out – MW

Plum was also very shy, but allowed herself to be visited by Kitty Comforters and other volunteers; now that’s she’s out and about, she’s more willing to interact with humans.

Plum – MW

Watching Plum run reminds me that there were various legends about the origin of the tailless Manx cat. One was that they arrived late at the Ark and Noah shut the door on the cat’s tail.  The other is that they derive from a fictional cross between a cat and a rabbit, known as a “cabbit”. There is no such thing, of course, but Plum does tend to have a bunny hop when she runs.

Plum – MW

It is a sad fact that most Manx-syndrome cats do not reach adult status; they are either put to sleep when the extent of their handicap is realized, or they succumb to an infection as a result of it. Once again, the Sanctuary lives up to its name as it gives these three sweet cats a new chance at life.

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Phaedra Hardman, Michele Wright