The Munchkin Cat is easily recognizable by its unusually short legs. The dwarfed appearance is the result of a spontaneous genetic mutation that doesn’t impact the health of these cats.
This is a small to medium sized cat with a long body and short stubby legs. Their coat can be short and long and comes in a variety of different colors.
The short Munchkin is a social and playful cat that likes being around its people. Despite having short legs, these cats love to play and run like any other feline.
However, they aren’t excellent jumpers. They 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.
Short-legged cats have been documented a number of times around the world. In 1944 short legged cats were noticed in Britain, in 1956 in Russia and in the 1970s in the United States.
In 1983, Sandra Hochenedel a teacher from Louisiana, found two pregnant cats hiding under a truck. She kept one of the cats 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 a number of 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. The breed was fully recognized in 2003.
However, other major cat organizations still don’t recognize this breed.
This is a medium size breed with an average body type and short legs. The hind legs are slightly longer than the front legs causing a cat’s rump to have a slight rise. The wedge-shaped head is topped with triangular, and walnut-shaped eyes complete the look.
Due to frequent outcrossing, the Munchkin looks a lot like domestic cats with the exception of short legs. They can have both short and long coat and both lengths are accepted for showing.
The male Munchkin Cats are slightly larger and weigh from 6-9 pounds. Females are smaller and usually weigh from 4-8 pounds.
To keep your cat on a healthy weight feed her with high protein grain-free wet cat food. These cats have healthy appetites. Thus, feed your cat according to her age and activity level to prevent obesity. This is an energetic and active breed that will stay active if provided with a variety of toys.
This is a fun, sweet and people-oriented breed that likes meeting new people. However, they love their owners and like spending time with them.
The Munchkin will follow you around and observe your actions without being needy. These cats love lounging in their owners laps and will jump into one, as soon as they can.
They are affectionate cats that like being handled and will enjoy being picked up and petted.
Despite their short legs, these cats love to run and usually speed by chasing after their favorite toy. They possess excellent hunting skills. Thus, keep your cat entertained with a mice toy that will serve as excellent practice to catch real rodents.
Due to their short legs, the Munchkin Cats aren’t such great jumpers as other cat breeds. However, what they lack in height they compensate with their brains.
These cats 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.
The 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. These cats will chase after anything that moves, thus they enjoy playing with feather teasers.
The Munchkin Cat has 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 as long as they are provided with the same amount of love as before.
This is a moderately active breed that loves to play. Hence, keep your cat exercised by playing with her every day. Invest in electronic cat toys to keep your cat 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.
- 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 experience difficulty breathing, weight loss, coughing, reoccurring lung infection and other symptoms. The only available treatment is surgery. However, mild cases can improve without surgery.
The Munchkin Cat has an average lifespan of 12-15 years. These cats have a very good health and could easily reach old age without any serious health issues.
However, like all other cats, the Munchkin is also at risk of feline transmitted diseases. So keep your cat regularly vaccinated and take her to regular vet check-ups.
Furthermore, keep your cat indoors, dewormed and use flea and tick control. Make sure that you get your cat from a reputable breeder who will give you a health guarantee.
Munchkin Cats come with either short or long coat. Thus, grooming requirements for this breed differ depending on the coat length.
The 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.
The long-haired cats require a bit more care and have to be brushed three times a week. Use a fine-toothed comb to remove loose hair and prevent mats and tangles.
Generally, this breed doesn’t shed a lot, but both short-haired and long-haired variety lose hair during shedding season. Hence, you will have to brush your cat more often during spring and fall.
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.
So, you can find solid, white, black, gray, red, brown, cream. The different patterns seen in this breed include, bi-color, tabby, ticked, tortoiseshell, and calico.
The easy-going and friendly Munchkin Cat 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.
These cats get along well with other cats and dogs and enjoy having company. However, this is an attention seeking breed and these cats want to be the sole focus of their owners attention while playing.
This is an energetic and playful cat that likes chasing things around the home. 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.