Characteristics (Quick Facts)
Ability to Adapt:
Need for Grooming:
The Munchkin Cat is easily recognizable for its unusually short legs and dwarfish appearance. This peculiar look is the result of a spontaneous genetic mutation that doesn’t impact the health of these cats.
This is a small to medium-sized breed with a long body and short stubby legs. Their coat can be short and long and comes in a variety of different colors.
Munchkins are social and playful cats that like being around their people. Despite having short legs, they love to play and run like any other feline.
However, they aren’t excellent jumpers and need more than one jump to reach their destination. But they are more than capable of climbing top shelves!
The easy-going Munchkin likes children and other pets and becomes fast friends with everyone it meets.
Where Did Munchkin Cat Breed Originate?
Short-legged cats have been documented several times around the world. In 1944 short-legged cats were noticed in Britain, in 1956 in Russia, and in 1970s in the United States.
In 1983, Sandra Hochenedel a teacher from Louisiana, found two pregnant cats hiding under a truck. She kept one and named her Blackberry. When she gave birth, half of the litter contained short-legged kittens.
Sandra gave one of the male kittens to her friend Kay LaFrance, who named him Toulouse. Toulouse was allowed to roam freely and soon enough he produced several short-legged kittens.
Thinking that they have a new breed, Hochenedel and LaFrance contacted Dr. Solveig Pflueger, who determined that the trait is caused by a dominant gene. Furthermore, he concluded that this breed doesn’t have any spinal problems associated with short legs.
The breed got its name after the little people in the children’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
In 1995 The International Cat Association granted the Munchkin a New Breed status and officially recognized it in 2003. However, other major cat organizations still don’t recognize this breed.
What Does the Munchkin Cat Look Like?
This is a medium-size breed with an average body type and short legs. The hind legs are a bit longer than the front legs causing a cat’s rump to have a slight rise.
The wedge-shaped head is topped with triangular ears, and walnut-shaped eyes complete the look.
Due to frequent outcrossing, the Munchkin looks a lot like domestic cats except for shorter legs. They can have short and long coat, and both lengths are accepted for showing.
Considering size standards, Munchkin is a small or medium-sized cat, that is shorter than other cat breeds. This breed has a thick semi-foreign body type and firmly developed musculature.
Munchkin Cat Colors
The Munchkin comes in a wide range of different colors and patterns. This is many because they are bred with a wide number of other breeds.
Commonly seen solid colors include white, black, gray, red, brown, and cream. The different patterns seen in this breed include, bi-color, tabby, ticked, tortoiseshell, and calico.
Munchkin Cat Personality Traits
This is a fun, sweet and people-oriented cat that likes meeting new people. However, they love their owners above everyone else and like to spend time with them.
They also like to follow their people around the house, but they will quietly observe your actions without being needy. These cats love to lounge in their owners’ laps and will jump into one, as soon as they can.
This is an affectionate cat that likes being handled and will enjoy being picked up and petted. Despite their short legs, they love to run and usually speed by chasing after their favorite toys.
Munchkins have excellent hunting skills! Thus, keep your cat entertained with mice toys that will keep her sharp for catching real rodents.
Munchkins aren’t such great jumpers as other cat breeds. However, what they lack in height they compensate with their brains! Your cat will easily figure out how to use furniture and other objects to climb to higher places.
This is an intelligent and smart cat that enjoys solving puzzle toys and can play with them for hours on end. They also like to chase after anything that moves and are especially eager to play with feather teasers.
Munchkins are fascinated by shiny and tiny objects and like chasing and collecting them. This earned them the nickname Magpies of a cat world. Therefore, it is best to hide jewelry or other valuable objects, so they won’t end up in your cat’s hidden pile of goodies.
The Munchkin is best described as being a good-natured, outgoing, and playful cat that likes to spend time with people. And if there are no people around, your Munchkin would like to spend time with other pets.
When not playing, which happens rarely, you will find your cat dozing in your lap. They even like to be carried around and cuddled to sleep! This affectionate cat relishes every opportunity to be close to its owner and is very easy to handle.
Munchkin Cat Behavior
Being a good-natured and well-behaved cat, the Munchkin rarely develops any behavioral problems. However, they are obsessed with sparkly objects and will steal anything that isn’t under lock and key.
Therefore, you should keep all your valuables tucked away from your cat’s greedy paws. Other than that, the Munchkin is a real pleasure to live with and won’t cause you any troubles at all.
Are Munchkin Cats Adaptable to New Surroundings?
Munchkins have a highly adaptable nature. Thanks to their social and sweet temperaments these cats adjust well to new people.
Furthermore, they adapt quickly to the change in scenery if they are provided with the same amount of love as before.
This is a moderately active breed that loves to play. Hence, play with your cat every day to keep her exercised and fit.
Invest in electronic cat toys to keep your Munchkin entertained and active while you aren’t at home. To keep your cat in perfect shape, spend at least 20 minutes every day in interactive play.
Does It Get Along with Children and Other Pets?
Easy-going and friendly, the Munchkin is a great choice for families with children. These cats love to play with kids and enjoy being petted and held in hands.
Show your kids how to throw a soft ball and they will become inseparable friends with your cat. They get along well with other cats and dogs and enjoy having company.
However, this is an attention-seeking breed, and your cat will want to be the sole focus of your attention while playing. The energetic and playful Munchkin likes to chase things around the home and is always up to something.
They can play by themselves with a roller circuit and be completely content. However, they mostly enjoy interacting with their owners. For this reason, try spending at least 20 minutes a day playing with your cat to keep her exercised and happy.
General Health and Potential Risks
Munchkin is a healthy breed without any known genetic health problems. However, it is still too soon to tell for sure, since this is a young breed.
The following conditions have been observed in this breed so far.
- Lordosis: This is a condition that causes a cat’s spine to not grow properly. Hence, causing a spinal muscle to not reach its normal size. This causes a spine to sink into a cat’s body. This is a fatal condition, and although this disease affects all cats it is more commonly seen in this breed.
- Pectus Excavatum: This is a chest bone deformity that results in horizontal narrowing of the chest. This condition causes the chest to appear flat or concave, rather than slightly convex. Cats with this condition can have trouble breathing, weight loss, coughing, reoccurring lung infection and other symptoms. The only available treatment is surgery. However, mild cases can improve without it.
Munchkin Cat Lifespan
Munchkin has an average lifespan of 12-15 years. They have very good health and could easily reach old age without any serious health issues.
However, like all other cats, the Munchkin is at risk of feline transmitted diseases. So, keep your cat vaccinated and take her to regular vet check-ups.
Furthermore, keep your Munchkin indoors, use dewormers and flea and tick control. Make sure that you get your cat from a reputable breeder who will give you a health guarantee.
Munchkins come with either short or long coat. Thus, grooming requirements for this breed differ depending on the coat length.
Short-haired cats are easier to maintain and need to be brushed twice a week. Use a cat grooming glove to remove loose hair and distribute skin oils through the length of coat.
Long-haired cats require a bit more care and must be brushed three times a week. Use a fine-toothed comb to remove loose hair and prevent mats and tangles.
Munchkin Cat Shedding
Generally, this breed doesn’t shed a lot, but both short-haired and long-haired variety lose hair during the shedding season. Hence, you will have to groom your cat more often during spring and fall.
Breed Related FAQ
In this section, we answer frequently asked questions about the Munchkin Cat. Read on to learn more about this unusual looking and outgoing breed!
How Much is Munchkin Cat Price?
The exact price of a Munchkin kitten will depend on a breeder and several other factors. Generally, you can expect to pay from $1000 to $2000 for a purebred kitten. Keep in mind that most catteries require a reservation and deposit, and that you may need to spend extra money to have the cat shipped.
How Big Do Munchkin Cats Get?
Male Munchkins are slightly larger and weigh from 6-9 pounds. Females are smaller and usually weigh from 4-8 pounds.
Feed your cat with a high protein grain-free wet cat food to ensure that she stays fit and at an ideal weight.
You should know that these cats have healthy appetites! Thus, feed your cat according to her age and activity level to prevent obesity. Luckily, this is an energetic breed that will stay active if provided with a variety of toys.
Do Munchkin Cats Need Special Care?
Despite their short legs and unusual appearance, Munchkins don’t have any special needs. So, make sure that your cat has regular meals, fresh water, a clean litter box, and keep her regularly vaccinated.
Don’t forget that this is a very friendly and outgoing cat, so interact with your Munchkin daily and give her a lot of attention.
Are Munchkin Cats Unethical?
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the Munchkin. Many people still argue that breeding them is unethical because of their physical deformities.
Although some experts say that the short legs don’t result in spine problems, others beg to differ. While these cats can suffer from lordosis, this condition is seen in other breeds, and it isn’t considered a breed-related health problem.
Are Munchkin Cats Natural?
Munchkins are regular domestic cats which are born with short legs due to naturally occurring genetic mutation. Hence, this is a completely natural cat breed, and people didn’t have anything to do with its shorter legs and unusual appearance.