The Cymric (/ˈkɪmrɨk/ KIM-rik or /ˈkʌmrɨk/ KUM-rik) is a breed of domestic cat. Some cat registries consider the Cymric simply a semi-long-haired variety of the Manx breed, rather than a separate breed. Except for the length of fur, in all other respects the two varieties are the same, and kittens of either sort may appear in the same litter. The name comes from Cymru, the indigenous Welsh name of Wales, though the breed is not associated with Wales, and the name was possibly given as an attempt to provide a "Celtic"-sounding name for the breed. The breed's Manx bloodline originated in the Isle of Man, though Canada claims to have developed the long-haired variant. The breed is called the Longhair Manx or a similar name by some registries.
According to Isle of Man records,the taillessness trait of the Manx (and ultimately the Cymric) began as a mutation among the island's domestic cat population. Given the island's closed environment and small gene pool, the dominant gene that decided the cats' taillessness was easily passed from one generation to the next, along with the gene for long hair. Long-haired kittens had been born to Manx cats on the Isle of Man, but had always been discarded by breeders as "mutants". Then, in the 1960s, similar kittens were born in Canada and were intentionally bred. This was the start of the increase of Cymric popularity. It took many years for the Cymric to be recognized as a breed of its own by cat associations. The Manx was recognized in the 1920s, but the Cymric was not shown until the 1960s and did not begin to gain popularity until the mid-1970s.
The Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFE),World Cat Federation (WCF),American Association of Cat Enthusiasts (AACE),Canadian Cat Association (CCA),New Zealand Cat Fancy (NZCF),Southern Africa Cat Council (SACC),American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA, of the US East Coast),and Cat Fanciers' Federation (CFF, in the US Northeast)consider the Cymric a separate breed. The Cat Aficionado Association (CAA) of China does also, by virtue of the CAA having adopted all the breed standards of its Western partner, ACFA; it is unknown if any specimens are actually in China.
The International Cat Association (TICA)and Australian Cat Federation (ACF)recognize the Cymric by that name but as a variety of Manx, not a separate breed with its own standard. Also simply covering it in their Manx breed standards, the US-based Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA), the Co-ordinating Cat Council of Australia (CCCA),and the UK's Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF)recognize the variety as the long-haired Manx rather than Cymric (the CFAand CCCAcall it the Manx Longhair, while GCCF uses the term Semi-longhair Manx Variant). Feline Federation Europe (FFE) does not recognize the breed or sub-breed at all, under any name, as of March 2013.
The gene that gives the Cymric and Manx their unusual tails can also be lethal. Kittens who inherit two copies of the tailless gene die before birth and are reabsorbed in the womb. Since these kittens make up about 25 percent of all kittens, litters are usually small. Even cats who inherit only one copy of the gene can have what is called Manx syndrome. This can cause spina bifida, gaps in the vertebrae, fused vertebrae, and bowel or bladder dysfunctions. Also, a rabbit-like hop can sometimes be seen in Cymric cats due to the spinal deformity.
Not every Cymric with a short spine has problems or Manx syndrome. It is simply an attribute of the Manx gene, and its expression cannot be entirely prevented. As the problems usually become apparent within the first six months of age, Cymric and Manx kittens are usually kept by breeders until older before being made available.