Munchkins are a short-legged breed of cat. However the natural spontaneous mutation of the breed causing the short legs, like those of a Daschund, is the only real difference between them and any other domesticated house cat. The Munchkin’s other physical features, such as spine, head and body are the same size as most long-legged breeds of house cat.
The first reports of short-legged cats appeared during the 1930’s but these cats were not seen again until the early 1980’s when a woman in Louisiana discovered two dwarfed cats, one of whom was pregnant with a litter containing some dwarfed cats. Munchkin cats cannot be bred with each other as the dwarfism gene they are predisposed to can be lethal. A Munchkin-to-long-legged cross will yield a litter where around fifty-percent of the kittens will be short-legged.
The Munchkin is described as an easily trained, active and intelligent breed. They are well-suited to be indoor house cats and make great family pets.
Munchkins are intelligent creatures and are much appreciative of puzzle toys and brain games. Despite their short legs they are determined, agile creatures – still reaching tall surfaces and getting up to mischief like other cats! Munchkins have a magpie-like tendency to stash shiny objects and keep them hidden like treasures. They love to play with people and other cats and animals alike, respond well to handling, and are described as having a rather sweet and loving temperament.
Munchkins are a small to mid-sized cat, their weight ranging from 2-4 kgs.
12 to 14 years.
Grooming and care
A Munchkin requires no extra medical attention or care, unless it is a long-haired variety for which the grooming requirements are just like those of any other long-haired cat – they will require daily grooming in order to keep their coat clean and free of irritants.
In order to keep the gene pool healthy Munchkins are bred out with other long-legged cats. While Munchkins are so far not predisposed to any genetic disorders it is well advised to keep them active and consuming a healthy diet. The mutation that causes their namesake short legs has so far not been proven to contribute to any health issues, however the breed is young having only been introduced to the public as an official breed in 1991.
For the latest research in breed-related problems in the Munchkins, visit the University of Sydney's LIDA (Listing of Inherited Disorders in Animals) website.