Munchkin cat is a new breed of cat characterized by its very short legs, which are caused by genetic mutation. Munchkin also called as sausage cat as it is considered as the original breed of dwarf cat.
Short-legged cats have been documented a number of times around the world since the 1940s. A British veterinary report in 1944 described 4 generations of short-legged cats which were similar to normal cats except for the length of the legs. This line disappeared during the World War II but other short-legged cats were spotted in Stalingrad, Russia during 1953.
In 1983, Sandra Hochenedel found two pregnant cats who had been chased under a truck by a dog in Louisiana. She kept one of the cats and named her Blackberry and half of her kittens were born short-legged. Hochenedel gave a short-legged male kitten from one of Blackberry’s litters to a friend, Kay LaFrance, and she named the kitten Toulouse. It is from Blackberry and Toulouse’s litter that today’s Munchkin breed is descended.
The breed achieved The International Cat Association (TICA) championship status in 2003.
The gene that produces the short legs of munchkin cats is autosomal dominant, meaning it is expressed whether inherited from one parent or both parents. However, it is dangerous when copies are inherited from both parents with those embryos dying in the womb. As a result, munchkins can only bred with regular domestic cats. The offspring of munchkin/domestic cat have an equal chance of being munchkins or not. Not only that, only the offspring that are munchkins carry the gene.
Proponents point to evidence that munchkins do not seem to have any health concerns specific to the breed, and the cats seem to lead a full life on their shorter legs. It may also be argued that other breeds similarly are based on genetic mutations and inbreeding and some of those a prone to breed-specific health conditions.
- Weight: 2 to 4 kg
- Coat length: shorthaired and longhaired
- Amount of shedding: Medium
- Color: Any
- Pattern: Any
Munchkins are very playful cat and sometimes described as “ferret-like” as the way they run, chase, and play with toys. They also have an endearing way of sitting up on their hind legs the same as rabbit would stand. This trait which gave the Stalingrad cat the name of “Stalingrad Kangaroo Cat.” Munchkins may be bred to a wide variety of domestic cats, thus each cat’s personality will depend on its inheritance from the parent. Some owners have been described as loving, sociable, and playful even though been breed from different regular domestic cat.
Munchkins can run around your house with their short legs, but they can’t jump as high as the normal breed. They still want to jump and climb, so be sure to provide a cat tree to help them reach new heights safely. Provide interactive cat toys and spend time playing with your cat each day as they are curious and active cats. They can get along well with older children, other cats, and dogs.
Their coat requires only little grooming assistance since its shorter legs make it harder to reach certain areas during self-grooming. Munchkin has 2 variety coat length, shorthaired and longhaired. Shorthaired cats only need brushed weekly while longhaired cats need brushed a couple of times per week. Not only that you should keep your cat’s nails trimmed and help your cat maintain oral hygiene by brushing its teeth a couple of times per week.
- Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
- Active: High
- Intelligence: High
- Vocalize: Medium
Munchkins have not found any conditions that stem from their short-legged stature or possible structural problems. You can expect a normal lifespan if you get the recommended immunizations and preventative care from your veterinarian. As is typical for domestic cats, a munchkin may have these disorders:
- Hyperthyroidism: a hormonal imbalance
- Pancreatitis: an inflammation of the pancreas
- Uremia: a kidney disorder
- Feline lower urinary tract disease
- Lymphosarcoma: common cancer that affects cats and dogs
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