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Munchkin Cat

Munchkin cats are also known as short-legged cats. They are the newest breed of cats having short legs caused by genetic mutation. They are a playful and intelligent cat breed that can be an ideal pet. They love to remain independent, spend a lot of time outdoors and can  get along really well with the fellow cats from the same breed or from other long tailed breeds. It is very much similar to an ordinary cat except for taking long leaps which are restricted due to its short legs. The International Cat Association (TICA) accepted the Munchkin into its New Breed development program in September 1994.

munchkin cat standing up

Munchkin Breed Characteristics

Munchkin is a medium-sized cat with a walnut-shaped eyes, long body and triangular ears. Due to the genetic mutation, it has short and stubby legs; which is also its most recognizable feature. They have regularly-sized forelegs that are equal in length. These cats comes in long-haired and short-haired varieties, both sporting an all-weather coat. The short-haired cat has a medium-plush coat while the long-haired cat has a semi-long silky coat. With high cheekbones, their head is proportionate to body size. Their nose is neither broad nor pointed, and in proportion with the rest of the head. The eyes of this feline breed are large and widely set.

The body of this cat breed is small to medium in size and normal in form. Their hind legs sometimes longer than fronts, but all four legs are approximately 1/2 the length of an average cat with similar body size. Their tail is breed-cross specific and feet are round and well-formed. They are generally described as a playful, sweet-natured, people-oriented, outgoing and intelligent cat breed which responds well to being handled. The shortness of their legs does not seem to interfere with their leaping and running abilities.


The history of this short-legged cat breed is the center of a heated debate among cat breed experts. Short-legged cats are not new, and they have been seen in England in the 1930s, but many were wiped out during the World War II. Furthermore, reports of short-legged cats have appeared throughout the history, including in 1944 in Britain, in 1956 in Russia, in 1970 in New England, and in the 1980s in Louisiana.

It is said that a cat named Blackberry, who was found as a stray in 1983, was the mother of the Munchkin cat breed. She and Toulouse (one of her male kittens) were out-crossed to domestic cats. This type of out-crossing to domestic longhairs and shorthairs are still permitted to ensure a diverse gene pool.

In 1994, The International Cat Association’s new breed development program began to oversee the Munchkin’s development. Short legs of Munchkin turned out to have a dominant inheritance pattern, which is similar to Dachshunds and Corgis. This feline breed achieved full recognition by The International Cat Association in the year 2003. Still, the Cat Fanciers Association does not recognize this breed of cat.


Munchkin is an outgoing cat that enjoys being handled with care. With lots of energy, he is faster and more agile than he looks. This friendly feline likes playing with children and other dogs and cats. Munchkins are highly intelligent; therefore, you can easily teach him new tricks. You can challenge his brain by providing puzzle toys that will reward him with kibble or treats when he learns to manipulate them. He also loves to play and wrestle with his friends. They have a hunter’s instinct and will chase mice or anything that moves, but at the end of the day he looks for nothing more than to snuggle into his owners lap and nag until it is petted.

This breed of cats enjoys climbing, running, and jumping just like their taller relatives. They also love playing with toys and some cat lovers say that they are like ferrets in their playfulness. These friendly felines adapt well to most situations and they are quite curious as well, leaving no part of the home or its inhabitants unexplored. A clever cat breed, munchkins often hide their found objects in various hard-to-find places of which only they are aware.

Image Gallery

Cute Munchkin Kitten

Cute Munchkin Kitten


Brown Munchkin

Brown Munchkin


Bambino – Mix Between Sphnyx and Munchkin Cat



Genetics and Health:

The Munchkins are the result of a naturally occurring genetic change or mutation. Due to these amazing genetics, a litter of kittens can be all normal-legged, all short-legged or mixed. The gene responsible for the dwarfed legs o these cats can be lethal when embryo inherits one of these genes from each parent. Furthermore, you should keep in mind following points about this cat breed.

  • If you are breeding two short-legged specimens, then the embryos will most surely inherit the gene from the both parents, thus it fails to develop.
  • If you are breeding two long-legged Munchkins, then there is still a possibility that some of the embryos will inherit the gene from both parents that results in at least partial mortality of the litter.
  • Breeding a long-legged specimen to a short-legged specimen offers the best survival rate for the embryos, and the litter is likely to have both long-legged and short-legged kittens.

Unlike their counterpart the Dachshund, Munchkin cats have not exhibited any health problems with their back or legs. One possible health problem of Munchkin kittens under investigation is a condition called Lordosis, which is also known as tight chest and causes a shortening of the muscles that hold the spine in place. It results sinking down of spinal muscles into the chest cavity and this puts pressure on the lungs, trachea and heart.


Munchkins do not require high maintenance, although long-haired cats may need more grooming to remove dead hair from their coat to avoid matting. These cats enjoy being brushed or combed, and regular brushing also reduces shedding and makes the need for a bath a rare occurrence. The coat of Munchkin is easy to groom. Short coat Munchkins require only weekly brushing. Further, you should brush a longhaired Munchkin twice a week in order to prevent or remove mats or tangles.

The other grooming need of Munchkin is regular ear cleaning (if the ears look dirty) and nail trimming. You can use a gentle cleanser recommended by your veterinarian. In addition to this, brush the teeth of your feline friend frequently with vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath of your cat. Some cats of this breed also suffer from gingivitis which is a dental problem. Regular brushing your Munchkin’s teeth helps in avoiding this kind of diseases. You should start nail trimming, brushing, and teeth brushing when your cat is still a kitten, and he will accept these important activities later on. In addition to this, feed your cat twice a day, and when still kitten, feed him 3x a day with a healthy diet.

Choosing a Breeder:

If you want your Munchkin to be healthy and happy, then you have to do homework before you bring him home. Put at least as much effort into researching a reputed breeder for your kitten as you would into choosing a new car or other expensive appliance. It will also save you money in long run.

A reputable breeder of cats will abide by a code of ethics. You should choose only those breeders who have performed the health certifications that are necessary to screen out genetic health problems to the maximum extent, as well as one who raises the kittens at home. Isolated kittens can become skittish and fearful and may be difficult to socialize later in life.

A reputed breeder should love their cats, and they should have complete knowledge about the cat breed. In addition to this, their premises should be well organized and clean. Further, they should be willing to offer you expert advice and they should be available in the future to discuss any problems. Before purchasing kitten, you should look for sickness, diarrhea, sticky eyes, and stuffy nose. You should also buy all the equipment and food you are likely to need before you bring your new kitten home.


From Delhi, Rahul is an animal lover at heart. He is a writer and most of his writing revolves around making people aware of animal issues like health, training and grooming.

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