What are Munchkin Cats?
Munchkin cats are relatively a new type of breed which has become popular over last few years. This domestic cat is uniquely identified by their short legs. The short limbs are due to a natural genetic mutation. Munchkin cats are small to medium-sized cat breed and they have a weight from 5 to 9 pounds. Aside from his short legs, Munchkin appears like any other cat breed. These types of cats are well-suited for any home environment where they get love and care.
People always have a misconception that Munchkin cats are slow or they are a laid-back type. But when you see a Munchkin running very fast and cornering around your dining table you will definitely change your mind.
Apart from their short legs, Munchkin Cats have a normal physique. They are compact as well as sturdy animals. The hind legs are longer compared to forelegs and tail has medium length and it narrows towards its tip. Their short legs never prevent them from jumping on furniture. Though they cannot easily make their way to high places like other cats do, they will definitely find their way eventually.
In general, Munchkin cats have the same characteristics as an average domestic cat. Munchkin come in both long and short haired types and in just about any color pattern that domestic cats have. They are quite gentle and sweet in their nature. A friendly Munchkin loves to play with kids and other cats.
As they are gentle and loving in nature, they cannot protect themselves properly from stray cats and dogs. So it is good to keep them indoors. Besides, keep them indoors to protect from vehicles, diseases and to prevent attack from other animals. Being social and intelligent, Munchkin Cats like to be around their loved ones all the time.
Other interesting thing is that Munchkin have a nickname magpie, because they like shiny objects and will often hide them away. It is good to keep away your valuable from your pet. The Munchkin cats are highly intelligent. It is easy to teach them tricks and they like to play with puzzle toys.
Munchkin cats are pretty healthy. It is always good to purchase a Munchkin Cat from a breeder who ensures a written health assurance. But it is important to protect him from having obesity issues. It is good to keep him at an appropriate weight which is also a good way to protect his overall general health.
Munchkin Cats are quite playful and have a mild temperament that makes them well suited for families. They can have short or long fur and there have been three different lengths of legs that they possess, short, super short and rug runner. Unlike dog breeds which have very short legs, the munchkin generally do not have issues with their spine or hips and will live normal, healthy lives.
Munchkin Cat Genetic Mutation:
The Munchkin Cats are actually created by a naturally occurring genetic mutation, because of which these cats have abnormally short legs. The interesting part to know is that this short-legged defect does not interfere in the running and leaping abilities of the Munchkin Cats at all. They are also not associated with any sort of spinal problems, and the spine is usually indistinguishable from the other cats.
The ‘munchkin’ gene is an autosomal dominant gene, which means that if four Munchkin are born to two standard Munchkin, it is expected that 1 out of 4 will die, 2 out of 4 will be Munchkin (short legged) and 1 will be a normal breed. However, if mating is done between a standard Munchkin and a non-standard Munchkin (the one which is not showing short-legged manifestations), chances are that 50% will be Munchkin and the other 50% will be normal.
The History of Munchkin Cats
The Munchkin is a breed of cat that has been reported over the centuries in various countries, but given how they appeared and disappeared over the years, it was clearly the genetic mutation at work. The first true documentation of these types of cats occurred during World War II in Great Britain, but the line disappeared only to pop up in various countries over the years.
Finally in 1983, Sandra Hochenedel of Louisiana rescued a pregnant cat she eventually named Blackberry. Half the kittens she bore had unusually short legs. Currently, the overwhelming majority of the Munchkin population comes from Blackberry and her male kitten Toulouse. By 1995, the breed was officially recognized by The International Cat Association.
The Origin of the Name Munchkin
The name “munchkin” comes from the little people who populated a film. The short stature of the cat was a natural for the name and the breed has continued to be successful over the years. However, it must be noted that pairing a male and female Munchkin Cats may result in kittens that may carry enough regressive genetic traits that they do not live for very long. That is why Munchkin breeders keep the gene pool varied by using cats without the Munchkin traits as part of the genetic mixture.
Short-legged cats have been sighted throughout history from Russia to Germany to Great Britain. However, the actual history of Munchkin is dated back to 1964 when it was first discovered, and the woman who discovered it was a farm owner, so she openly invited any animal in her house. Due to the short legs of this kitten, she named her “the little one”.
This woman did not breed it and later on, in 1983, another woman discovered that a bull was chasing 2 pregnant cats. She kept one of the cats and after delivery, it was discovered that the two kittens that it gave birth to were Munchkin. The woman gave one of the male kittens to a friend and both the friends subsequently bred these cats and they became descendants of the Munchkin of today.
Munchkin Cat Characteristics
Munchkin Cats are well-known for their sweet, playful, people-oriented and outgoing nature and they are generally intelligent cats that respond well when they are handled with good care. Munchkin Cats may have slightly short and bowed legs, and the hind legs are slightly longer in length than the front legs.
Munchkin Cats are divided into two further categories; the short haired and the long haired varieties. These varieties are stemmed from an outcross program, which allows the use of any cat to be bred, which has not been previously belonging to any breed. There are no specific colors of Munchkin Cats and they may come in any colors.
Munchkin Cat Health Confusions
Since people say that Munchkin Kittens are born from a mutated gene, they may develop some health problems later on in life. None of the diseases are said to have been associated with Munchkin Cats; based on the researches, they are classified as happy healthy cats. In 1995, they were x-rayed and were examined for the development of signs of bones and joint problems but no abnormal pathologies were noted.
Even though some people think that mutated breed should be discontinued but since scientists find no early onset of any disease or decreased life expectancy in these kittens, they are still chosen as beautiful pets to be kept.
Munchkin Cat Price
There are many reputable breeders and pet stores provide Munchkin Cats for sale. Almost all breeders and pet stores have their own website and you easily choose your favorite Munchkin from there. A Munchkin Cat price depends on the gender of the cat, the breeder who should reputable, have the right papers and documentation and pattern or color. Average cost of a Munchkin Cat can be from $350 to $1500 with some going for more depending on their rarity.
You can also ask your veterinarian to refer a good breeder. You can also choose Munchkin Cats from animal rescue organization. No matter, from wherever you get your Munchkin, ensure that you have a good agreement with the seller which clearly states obligations of both sides.
All in all, a Munchkin Cat certainly makes for a unique breed of feline that is playful, active and a wonderful addition to any home. For those who are searching for a different kind of cat, the Munchkin is certainly one that will get attention for its short stature, but will also be a loving part of the family as well.