“Kangaroo-cat” or “dachshund-cat” – that’s the way Munchkin cats can be called for their unusual look. These funny and touching beings conquer the hearts at first sight, causing lots of smiles even in the rainy day. Munchkin cats breed may cause both liking and kind of confusion, but – these fantastic short-legged creatures won’t leave anyone indifferent.
Kittens with shortened legs born from random cat mating were first noticed several centuries ago. That was a rare, but not exceptional gene mutation, like bare skin of Sphinx cats, curly coat in Rex cats, or bunny tail in Bobtails. All these peculiarities were first ignored, because such cats were considered sick or injured. The same happened with this short-legged feline breed – their highlight was considered to be a defect.
In 1983, a black-and-white short-legged cat got to Sandra Hochnedel. She called the cat Blackberry and from her mating with a mixed breed cat a litter of short-legged kittens was born. Sandra gave a kitten to her friend who was interested in these awesome creatures. In 1991, thanks to K. Lafrance and S. Hochnedel, Munchkin cats got their official status. The breed was named in honor of the magic Munchkin nation inhabiting the land of Oz (F. Baum).
The highlight of these cats is their short legs, due to them Munchkin cats are called “cat-dachshunds”. People not familiar with the breed may think that such legs impede normal movements of the cat making it defective. However, it is not so: Munchkins move freely, easily overcoming obstacles; they are able to run fast and don’t suffer from the fact that their legs are shorter than in other cats.
The litter of two short-legged cats may consist of Munchkin kittens both with shortened and usual-sized limbs. Unusual breed representatives (with legs of usual length) are used in breeding to improve the breed genotype. Mating two Munchkin cats with usual-sized legs, one will never get short-legged kittens.
Another distinctive feature of Munchkin cats is their long flexible body. Cats should be muscular, strong and at the same time lissome. Munchkin cats are famous for their incredibly beautiful eyes, which are slightly slanting, large and oval (almost of any color). The ears are medium or large, set high, which makes Munchkins always look attentive and interested. The tail is long, with a rounded tip. It is very important that the tail (as well as the entire spine) was absolutely straight. Kinks, gibbosity or hollow back are unacceptable.
Munchkins can be both shorthaired and longhaired. The first type is represented by plush animals with thick fur and undercoat and to the second type belong graceful cats with semi-long silky all-weather coat and thick undercoat. Modern representatives of Munchkin cat breed are so different that they can fit any taste. Besides different types of coat, there is a huge range of colors: the coat can be of any color, with or without markings, striped or spotted.
Funny and inquisitive Munchkins won’t let get bored even the most phlegmatic man. They are often compared with kangaroos for their famous habit to keep the balance sitting on their tail and freely dangling their front legs, that is worth seeing!
These cats remain active in adult age also. They are fond of playing with people, get along with children and are not afraid of strangers. They are affectionate and caressing, very attentive to the mood of their owner. Munchkin cats are funny creatures with remarkable character; that is why they can be recommended as pets to almost everyone.
Friendliness towards other pets is one more argument in favor of this breed. Munchkin cats will be happy to play with a dog, a cat and even with a guinea pig, in case their friends are not aggressive and won’t offend them.
Housing and care
Sociable munchkin happy to be in the highlight. When a Munchkin is properly trained it won’t make any trouble: they are quickly trained and easily agree to the rules set by their owner.
You can walk these fabulous cats only with a harness or in the closed area. Neighbor cats and dogs may find squat Munchkin aggressive: moving on their short legs, Munchkin cat looks like stalking towards its prey. Misunderstandings can lead to aggression from other animals, and short legs, alas, can’t help in a fight.
To take care of the beautiful coat of these longhaired cats, you need to comb out the cat once a week. Shorthair Munchkin should be combed rarer, every two to three weeks. You need bathing your pet, regardless of the coat type, only if it is really necessary, or a week before the exhibition day.
Breeders say that Munchkin cats have excellent health. The gene responsible for the length of legs, doesn’t affect the spine. However, it is believed that this breed suffer from lordosis more often than other breeds (lordosis is a curvature of the spine, which severe impairs the cardiovascular and respiratory systems). Fortunately, the disease is rare even among Munchkins. In general these funny “kangoroo-cats” with short legs are healthy and unpampered pets.