The Munchkin is a speedy little bundle of joy. This relatively young feline breed is infamous for its short legs, intelligent mind, and friendly, people-oriented demeanor. The characteristic short legs of the Munchkin cats are determined by the Munchkin "M" gene. Sporting either short, plush coats or medium to long silky ones, these energetic kitties come in all coat colors and patterns.
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Main Characteristics of the Munchkin Cat
The Munchkin is a small to medium-sized cat, typically weighing anywhere between 5-10 pounds (males are slightly larger than females). Their coat can be short and plush or medium-long and silky, and they come in all coat colors and patterns. The most prominent character of Munchkin kitties are their very short, stumpy legs. This signature feature makes their bodies appear disproportionately elongated, hence their loving nickname as the “Sausage Cat”. Their hind legs are often slightly longer than their front legs, giving them a discrete rise from the shoulder to the rump. Their legs can be slightly bowed, but excessive bowing and cow-hocking are not typically seen in Munchkins.
Munchkin Cat Origin
The first known record of a short-legged cat dates back to 1944, when a British veterinary report noted four generations of healthy short-legged cats. Although this line disappeared during World War II, short-legged cats were also spotted in Russia during 1956, and in the U.S. in the 1970s. In 1983 Sandra Hochenedel, a music teacher from Louisiana, rescued a pregnant cat whom she named Blackberry. Half of Blackberry's litter of kittens were short-legged. It is believed that these kittens were the official founders of the modern Munchkin breed we know today.
Munchkin Cat Personality Traits
Munchkins may come in small packages, but these cats are brave, confident, and very intelligent. Munchkins are also extremely sociable, friendly, and playful. Their curiosity never fades and they always seem to be engaging in new games and mischief. They do well in homes with children and other pets.
Munchkin Cat Common Health Issues
There has been some controversy pver whether or not the Munchkin "M" gene mutation causes health complications in this breed. Initially, it was believed that the Munchkin gene was associated with achondroplasia, a bone growth disorder. However, the physical symptoms of achondroplasia include an enlarged head as well as short legs, which is a combination of features not observed among Munchkin cats. A 2008 report cited two possible conditions that may occur more predominantly in the Munchkin breed: Lordosis (excessive curvature of the spine), and Pectus Excavatum (hollowed chest).
Munchkin Cat Fun Facts