Most cats glide elegantly and long-legged through their territory and powerfully climb every scratching post. The American Munchkin cat is different in this regard: its conspicuously shortened limbs give it a special look. Even as an adult, the Munchkin comes across as clumsy as a kitten and conquers hearts with touching affection and amazing agility. However: Short legs are a critical breeding criterion.
Munchkin Cat: Character
Munchkins are real cuddly cats, they are considered very affectionate and people-friendly. Despite their short legs, they are extremely playful and like to romp around, but do not tend to chase over tables and benches. They tend to climb less than other cat breeds. To do this, they keep an eye on everything and pay particular attention to their surroundings – the curious velvet paws even stand on their hind legs to get a better overview.
Most Munchkins are social cats that demand a lot of attention from their humans and want to be a part of family life. If you’re away from home for long periods of time every day, consider keeping a double pack of munchkins. They also get along well with other cat breeds, pets, and children.
Keeping and caring for the Munchkin cat
Munchkins are easy-care and robust housemates who do not place any special demands on their owners. With one exception: Due to their physique, some animals have difficulty grooming themselves. Regardless of the rather short hair coat, you should therefore treat the Munchkin like a long-haired cat and schedule daily grooming.
Munchkin cats are known to be territorial and not prone to straying. That’s a good thing: A “limitless” outdoor life entails risks for the short-legged cats that are difficult to manage. Munchkins are best kept as indoor cats, ideally with access to a secured exit in the yard. Those who do not have this option can offer them fresh air and variety with a networked balcony or window.
Colors of the Munchkin cat
The pedigree animals come in almost every imaginable color and pattern, which can also be seen in the European Shorthair: from black to chocolate brown, brown and cream to grey, blue and white. They come in mackerel, spotted, two- or three-colored, and as a color point and tortoiseshell variant.
The Tale of the Munchkin Cat
In the early 1980s, American cat lover Sandra Hochenedel adopted a pregnant cat that gave birth to several short-legged kittens. One of the cats named “Toulouse” (after the painter Toulouse-Lautrec, who was also short in stature) became the “progenitor” of today’s Munchkin breed. Short-leggedness is the result of a natural, dominantly inherited mutation that has been documented since the 1940s; targeted breeding for this characteristic was new.
The International Cat Association (TICA) recognized it as a pedigree cat in 1995, but European associations do not accept the Munchkin cat. In its country of origin, the velvet paw is also known under the trivial name “Sausage Cat”. The breed was named after the dwarfish Munchkin people from the children’s book The Wizard of Oz. In Germany, the Munchkin is currently still very rare.
Peculiarities of the Munchkin cat
The Munchkin’s short legs noticeably limit feline movement patterns. She can neither “walk-around” gracefully nor set jump records. On the other hand, she is surprisingly agile, likes to run, and proves her resourcefulness when it comes to scaling furniture. Due to the atypical proportions, some munchkins suffer from shortened back muscles and changes in the spine. As a result, this breed is also prone to herniated discs. Dispositions for skeletal deformities caused by the mutation have not been proven. However, there is an increased risk of osteoarthritis and knock-knees or bow-legs.