Breed review: Munchkin kittens and cats
A relatively new breed of cat, the Munchkin cat has grown in popularity thanks to its cute looks and internet publicity. Commonly depicted in numerous memes and vines, the Munchkin cat has become something of a feline celebrity – but what are the facts about this breed?
Fully recognised as a new breed of cat by the International Cat Association in 2003, the Munchkin cat breed is little over ten years old. It’s relatively new status means that some other bodies – including the Cat Fanciers Association – are yet to recognise it as a breed.
Prior to its official classification, breeds similar to the Munchkin are thought to have been in existence for many years. Short-legs, one of the Munchkin’s most dominant features, have been reported as existing in cat breeds in accounts dating back as far as the 1940s in Britain. Elsewhere in the world and a similar trend is witnessed with short-legged cats mentioned in 1950s Russia, 1970s New England and 1980s Louisiana.
Munchkin cat’s appearance
Munchkin cats are very distinctive in their appearance. They have very short legs and a low-down stature which gives them a dwarfed, low-riding appearance. This is the result of a natural and spontaneous mutation and is not a result of cross-breeding.
As well as its short stature, the Munchkin cat also has large round eyes and a smooth coat which appears in a range of colours and markings. They can be either short or long haired.
Munchkin cats are incredibly social animals and love being handled. They are also full of energy and extremely agile so don’t be fooled into thinking their short legs will prevent them from getting into mischief!
Munchkin cats are also extremely intelligent which makes puzzle toys particularly good for their development. They tend to get on well with other animals (cats and dogs) as well as children; making them the perfect addition to the family home.
Exercise and health
Concerns over the health of the Munchkin cat are natural given their low-riding frame but there is no suggestion that this breed suffers from specific spinal conditions or problems. Overall, the health status of this breed is good but as it is a young breed there is always the risk that hereditary conditions could become apparent over time.
As an active and energetic cat, your Munchkin will need to be regularly exercised. This is also an important way of keeping their weight under control so that unnecessary pressure is not placed on their shorter legs and smaller joints.
Owners will be pleased to know that the coat of the Munchkin cat is very easy to groom. Weekly brushing is more than sufficient for short-hair Munchkins while long-haired varieties should be brushed at least twice a week to prevent matting.
Nail trimming should also be completed regularly and owners should have their cat’s ears regularly inspected to check for dirt. Vets can recommend cleansers to keep their ears nice and clean and you can also get veterinary approved toothpaste to ensure good dental health and a nice fresh breath on your feline.