Munchkin cats are a cat breed which has extremely short legs. This is caused by a naturally occurring genetic mutation. The mutation is similar to the one found in Dachshunds, Basset Hounds and Welsh Corgis, but the Munchkin cats don’t seem to suffer from the same spinal issues as the dogs of these breeds usually do. The shortness in the legs does not seem to effect their running or jumping, and they act just like any other cat.
Short-legged cats have been found throughout history across Europe. They have been found in the United States in the late 20th century, first being documented in the US in the 1960′s. They were first bred in 1983, when two pregnant cats were found with extremely short legs, when she had her kittens, half of them had very short legs as well.
Munchkin Cats became an accepted breed in the International Cat Association in the 1990′s. This made them eligible for competing in competitions, as well as pure-breeding purposes. At the time, critics thought that the cats would suffer from the same hip and spinal problems that short-legged dogs do.
A male Munchkin generally weighs between six and nine pounds. Females are smaller, weighing between four and eight pounds. They are very playful kittens, and are also very smart.
According to the TICA shows, they get divided into two groups- long hair and short hair. They come in all colors and patterns. This is because only one of the parents needs to be a Munchkin in order for some of the litter to become Munchkin kittens. So you can crossbreed with any color or pattern cat. However, this may effect pedigree.
There is some controversy as to whether these cats should be purposely bred. It is felt by some people that the short legs are a deformity and should not be spread. However, there are others who see no difference between these and short legged dog breeds which have been bred for years. There are even governments, including the Australian Capital Territory who officially deem breeding Munchkin kittens as unacceptable because of genetic problems associated with it. However, owners and breeders claim they are a sound breed, ideal for small homes, and are not susceptible to any additional health problems.
Some cat registries accept the breed, while other don’t. The ones that do include:
- The International Cat Association
- American Association of Cat Enthusiasts
- UK’s United Feline Organization
- The South Africa Cat Council
- Waratah National Cat Alliance in Australia
The Registries which do not accept the breed include:
- Federation Internationale Feline
- Cat Fancier’s Association
- The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy
If you would like to find out more about Munchkin cats, or to find a breeder near you, go to Munchkin Breeders.