The Munchkin cat
Have you ever heard of a Munchkin Cat? Sure, we all know about regular tabby and other varieties but what about the munchkin cat? If you haven’t, you have been missing out. Munchkins are the Corgi Cats of world and have been around since the 1980’s. However, it was only recently that these short legged cats have been increasing in popularity. This can be attributed to their short stature and loving personalities that have taken the internet by storm. Type ‘munchkin cat’ into YouTube and you will see what I am talking about. Their cute and cuddly personalities are an instant hit. Let’s consider a brief history of this short legged furballs.
The Munchkin cat – a brief history
The Munchkin is a cat breed that sprang from a natural genetic mutation. That might sound a bit scary but read on. Reports of short-legged cats have appeared throughout history, including in throughought the 20th century in Britain, Russia and parts of the United States. For example, a cat named Blackberry, who was found as a stray in eighties was the mother of the Munchkin breed. She and one of her male kittens were then outcrossed to domestic cats. This is a good thing especially when you consider the defects that occur with inbreeding. Outcrosses to domestic shorthairs and longhairs are still permitted to ensure a diverse gene pool.
In the eighties, the International Cat Association’s new breed development program became involved with the Munchkin cat. This association has a genetics committee to monitor breeding data. They began to oversee the Munchkin’s development and track its development. As a result we have learned quite a bit about the munchkin cat. For instance, the Munchkin’s short legs turned out to have a dominant inheritance pattern, similar to Corgis and Dachshunds. The breed achieved full recognition by The International Cat Association in 2003. Not bad for such a stumpy, playful furball. A little research has also dug up some opposition to this. For instance, the Cat Fanciers Association does not recognize the Munchkin cat. How they can ignore that gorgeous face, I will never know.
The munchkin cat personality
Overall the munchkin cat is friendly and is little hassle. This is an outgoing cat who enjoys being handled. They have lots of energy and is faster and more agile than he looks. Think of a low-slung sports car and you get the picture. The friendly Munchkin likes playing with children and other cats and dogs. On the rare occasion when he’s not in motion, expect to see him sitting up on his hind legs to get a peek at something interesting. They’re not a “leap tall buildings in a single bound” kind of cat. But they are definitely capable of making his way to high places if he so chooses. It just takes him a little longer.
The Munchkin is highly intelligent. Challenge his brain by teaching him tricks and providing him with puzzle toys. Then you can build up a rapport and reward him with kibble or treats when he learns to manipulate them. These cats respond well to any interaction where they can play and be fawned upon by their owners. Then again, with a cat they say you never really own them. This is more of a vice versa situation.
Some points to consider
Always choose a kitten from a breeder who raises litters in her home and handles them from an early age. Meet at least one and ideally both of the parents to ensure that they have nice temperaments. This is really key, time and again people choose kittens with no clue about their personalities. You really cannot blame the cat if they turn out to be less affectionate than you like. Same goes for being picked up, some cats simply don’t like it. You won’t really be able to change this per se. Same goes for the munchkin cat.
You may be wondering if the breed and shape of the cat may cause problems. This isn’t a sily concern given the impact of some questionable breeding practices for dogs. The Munchkin breed are cats which exhibit the genetic mutation known as achondroplasia. This affects the long bones in the legs to give the cat a shortened body profile. These cats can be active and exhibit no signs of pain or deterioration in health or performance.
Since any cat can be crossed with an Munchkin and wind up with at least some kittens that are Munchkins, they come in a color choice of “all the other cat breeds,” so to speak. This needs a bit of consideration for the laws of nature but it’s interesting to consider. Outcrossing is so popular because crossing two Munchkins results in a classic Mendelian square: for each kitten, there is a 25% chance it will not survive, a 25% chance it will be normal, and a 50% chance it will be short-legged. So in short, it’s not rocket science but there is a specific method to be followed to breed a munchkin cat successfully.
It’s undeniable that these are not cats who have been shaped by Nature. They owe their existence to the fact that people find their appearance appealing. Fans go further and explain that they have a delightfully kittenish personality which is very affectionate. You want your Munchkin to be happy and healthy so you can enjoy your time with him, so do your homework before you bring him home. Do as much information as possible for things such as the temperament and history of this breed. Munchkin cats are amazing pets but make sure that you both fit together. Don’t just choose a munchkin cat because they looked cute on Youtuble.
Put at least as much effort into researching your kitten as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run and make sure you achieve the perfect fit for the latest member of the household.