With its short legs and whimsical nature, the Munchkin cat is like a living cartoon. You’ve likely seen pictures of them on social media. These cats tend to generate a universal “awwwww!” response. Here are some fun facts about this breed:
Their short legs are their most distinguishing feature. Although the Munchkin’s legs are approximately half the length of a normal feline, it doesn’t seem to slow them down. In fact, their low-slung physique seems to serve them more like a race car. They have an affinity for zipping around the house at extraordinary speeds. Their lack of height also isn’t a handicap from a visual perspective. They have adopted the habit of sitting up on their hindquarters like bunnies, to get a glimpse of their surroundings.
They’re not officially recognized as a breed by all registries. The short-legged Munchkin, borne of a natural genetic mutation, appear in history as far back as the 1930s. There were reports of Munchkins appearing in Britain and Russia in the 1940s and 50s. In 1994, The International Cat Association (TICA) began to monitor the development of the Munchkin, and it was recognized as a breed in 2003. Other popular registries, The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) and American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA), still do not recognize the Munchkin as a breed. This is because breeding the cat encourages the reproduction of physical deformities. The practice has stirred up some controversy in the world of feline fanciers.
They got their name in the late ’80s. In Louisiana in 1983, a music teacher, Sandra Hochenedel, rescued a couple of cats from a bulldog. She realized that both short-legged strays were pregnant. She kept one, naming her Blackberry. When the kittens came along, she gave one to a friend who had connections to The International Cat Association’s (TICA) Genetics Committee. It was her friend, Kay LaFrance, who named the cat Munchkin. The short legs turned out to be a dominant gene, like that of Dachshunds and Corgis. When breeding a Munchkin with a normal-legged feline, some of the offspring would have short legs.
They have fun personalities. Munchkins are known for their inherent playfulness and curiosity. They can jump, although not as high as their long-legged counterparts. They love to run and explore. They like collecting shiny objects and squirreling them away into secret nooks. This hoarding tendency has led to the Munchkin obtaining the nickname, “The Magpie of Cats.” They are an extremely snuggly quintessential lap cat. They have a effusive and friendly nature with no fear of strangers, kids, dogs, and other house pets. They like company and will follow you from room to room, busying them self with toys and trinkets, but quick to settle on your lap if you happen to sit down.
They have good health, but watch their weight. Even though Munchkins have shorter legs than other cats, they are physically vigorous and should enjoy good health throughout a long life. Naturally, the best way to ensure their safety is to keep them indoors, to safeguard them from predators and other dangers. Owners of Munchkins should be sure to not allow them to become obese, as that can lead to a plethora of physical problems. If kept on a healthy balanced diet and given the right type of attention, you should enjoy your lively Munchkin’s company for many years to come.
If you decide to adopt a Munchkin, look for an ethical breeder who will allow you into their home. Look for signs of illness such as watery eyes and sneezing. Ask the breeder to give you a written health guarantee. And find a local veterinarian.
Since the Munchkin is a newer breed, there are few physical problems associated with overbreeding. With the right precautions, you should be able to add a friendly, healthy kitten to your family and look forward to a long life with him.