The munchkin is a medium-sized cat breed with short legs. They have a thick body, a well-rounded chest, different colored eyes, and long or short hair in various colors and patterns. Experts have compared their movement to a ferret, meaning munchkins don’t have the regular ‘feline grace’ of normal-legged cats. Read on to learn more about this short, adorable, and fierce cat.
The Munchkin cat: a controversial breed
Short-legged cats were already roaming the world in the early 1940s, but the ‘Munchkin cat’ was formally introduced to the public over five decades later through a cat show sponsored by The International Cat Association (TICA) and was hosted at the Madison Square Garden. However, during its introduction, Munchkin cats weren’t an official breed.
It was only three years later that the Munchkin was established as an official cat breed and accepted into TICA’s New Breed development program.
The Munchkin wasn’t accepted with outstretched arms by numerous people as they were shocked over the cat’s appearance, with one TICA judge resigning and calling the breed a disgrace to breeders with ethics. Today, although the breed is widely more accepted many people still argue that breeding Munchkins are unethical as it ‘glorifies’ physical deformities. However, experts and veterinarians have established that Munchkins are fine, health-wise.
But because of the controversy, many cat organizations like the Cat Fanciers Associate won’t recognize the Munchkin cat.
The health of a Munchkin cat
Although many people assume that the munchkin cat has bad health because of their ‘unusual’ appearance, experts and veterinarians have established that munchkins are generally healthy and don’t have spinal issues linked to their unique body. However, since munchkins are a relatively new or young breed, this could change, but in the meantime, they’re just like any ordinary cat, healthy and active.
But all cats can develop genetic health problems, so when buying a kitten from a breeder, ensure they provide you an official written health guarantee.
Common health problems of Munchkin cats
Studies of older munchkin cats have not shown any medical conditions originating from their unique genes or short legs. However, like for most domesticated cats, a munchkin cat also suffers from common feline disorders including:
- Hyperthyroidism – It’s a medical condition that causes a hormonal imbalance. Symptoms include weight loss, increased appetite, thirst, and urination.
- Pancreatitis – This is when your cat’s pancreas becomes inflamed. Common symptoms include loss of appetite, lethargy, and low body temperature.
- Uremia – This type of kidney disorder is common with felines. Symptoms include vomiting, ulcers in the mouth, and lethargy.
- Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) – It’s a common condition that female cats encounter. Common symptoms include difficulty or pain when urinating.
You can easily prevent your munchkin cat from developing any of these diseases by practicing preventive care as instructed by your veterinarian.
Caring for a Munchkin cat: essentials
If you want to provide the best life for your munchkin, here are the basic and essential cares that you should provide to them:
A munchkin cat’s coat requires more grooming assistance since its short legs make self-grooming hard for them, especially hard-to-reach areas. If your munchkin is short-haired, it’s best if you brush them weekly. In contrast, if you have a long-haired munchkin, you need to brush their fur a couple of times per week. Regularly brushing their coat helps prevent matting and hairballs.
Routine brushing of teeth and cutting of nails
Regularly brushing a munchkin’s teeth can help them maintain proper oral hygiene and a healthy lifestyle. It’s best to brush their teeth several times per week by yourself or get regular cleaning from the vet.
Trimming a munchkin’s nails is also essential as when it gets too long, it can injure them. Since a munchkin’s legs are so short, it can be challenging to trim their nails, so leave the nail trimming to a professional groomer or vet.
A munchkin cat loves and has no problem running around despite having shorter legs, but they can’t jump to high places like the normal-legged cats can. However, munchkins are seemingly unaware that they have short legs, so they will still attempt to jump and climb high places. It’s best to buy them a cat tree to help them reach new heights efficiently and safely. Other great toys for munchkins include interactive cat toys as they are naturally curious and active cats.
Spay or neuter
If you don’t plan to breed your munchkin cat, spaying or neutering them is ideal. These medical procedures can help them live a longer and healthier life by reducing their risk of developing uterine infections and other diseases.
Never bring them outside
If your munchkin cat has been a homebody since they were a kitten, it’s best to keep them indoors as much as possible. That’s because they may get exposed to diseases from other cats when you bring them outdoors.
Common questions about a Munchkin cat
Do Munchkin cats like to cuddle?
The Munchkin cat is a tiny ball of energy that always craves the company of others, whether it be kids, dogs, other animals, and humans, they can’t get enough attention. They love to cuddle, from handheld cuddling to chilling your lap, but they also like to play with their favorite toys or roll around in catnip.
Are Munchkin cats man-made?
Yes, Munchkin cats can be man-made. Although there are normal cats that can be naturally born with a genetic mutation or type of dwarfism that usually results in them having short legs, nowadays, many individuals are purposely breeding these cats like this. Because of this, many Munchkin cats suffer from different health issues.
What is a non-standard Munchkin Cat?
Heterozygous short-legged or ‘standard’ munchkin cats are the only ones that can pass on the munchkin gene. All litters with at least one parent that’s a ‘standard’ munchkin can produce kittens with the phenotypes of short-legged or normal-legged munchkins with genotypes of Mm or mm. Munchkins with normal-sized legs are also known as the ‘non-standard munchkin.’
Short-legged Munchkin cats have been condemned by numerous people and some cat organizations for many years. This is because of these breed’s unusual appearance, that they considered as physical deformities. But historically and scientifically speaking, Munchkins are naturally born with short legs and that is because of their autosomal dominant gene that caused the genetic mutation.
Munchkin is a breed of cat and it was officially recognized by the TICA in the early 1940s.