Aptly named, the Munchkin cat is a breed that is like no other. What distinguishes it from other cats are his short little stubby legs. Cute as can be, Munchkins are in no way handicapped by their short legs. Their canine comparison would be the dachshund, or wiener dog. Munchkin cats come in a rainbow of different colors, in either plush short hair or silky long-haired varieties. They are of medium size, weighing 5 to 9 pounds each. They have a long body and triangular ears. The munchkin cat comes in 3 different types, distinguished by their leg size. A munchkin can be classified as either standard, super short or “rug hugger.”
Munchkin Cat Popularity
Many people became charmed by the appearance of the Munchkin cat in 1995 when The Wall Street Journal featured a Munchkin cat on their front page. Since then, celebrities such as Paris Hilton and regular folk alike have decided to add a Munchkin to their lives.
The Munchkin Cat has an outgoing personality. She likes to play with children, and other cats and dogs. The munchkin is a highly intelligent breed who enjoys learning tricks. She is quite fast, considering those short legs she has. This active and outgoing cat moves similar to a ferret. The Munchkin is still able to jump around like other cats do. It just takes her a few more jumps up to make it there. You may also see her standing up on her little hind legs to get a better look at something she likes. The Munchkin is also quite a hunter as she will chase mice or insects that she sees. Often referred to as a magpie, the Munchkin cat is named so because it likes to hide small shiny objects and save them to play with them later.
Named after the little people in The Wizard of Oz, the Munchkin cat came about by a natural genetic mutation. Exactly when it came about is a matter of debate. Cats with short legs were seen in England as early as the 1930’s, but disappeared during World War II. However, these cats were not named as such until 1983 when a Louisiana music teacher found two pregnant cats hiding underneath her pickup truck. She gave one of the cats away, and gave one of the kittens to her friend. Soon thereafter, there were short-legged cats popping up around town. After being contacted by one of the cat’s owners, the International Cat Association’s genetics committee determined that the Munchkin was a result of a dominant genetic mutation. However, it wasn’t until 2003 that the Munchkin was given the association’s full breed recognition.
Word of Caution
If you are looking to add a munchkin cat to your family, be sure to seek out a reputable breeder. Here’s why. According to Animal Planet, if you breed 2 munchkin cats together, 25% of their offspring will die. Munchkin cats are also inclined to have a genetic condition where they have a dip in their spine in the front of their shoulder blades. In mild cases, this dip can cause breathing problems or cardiac distress. In serious cases, their heart, lungs and trachea can become constricted which can become fatal.
Once you are lucky enough to have yourself a munchkin cat, what can you do to make sure it stays at home with you where he or she belongs? Some people look for alternate ways to keep their cats in the yard if they don’t have a fence. Let’s be clear, electric dog fences are not a safe option to contain your cat. Either keep your little sweetie indoors all the time, or install a traditional fence to keep predators away from your munchkin cat.