Origin: United States
Size: Small to medium
Coat Length: Short hair, long hair
Body Type: Semi-foreign
Appearance: The Munchkin is a small to medium-sized cat with short legs. The average male weighs about 2.7 to 4kg and females between 1.8 and 3.6kg. Munchkins can have either short or long hair and all colours and colour patterns are accepted. They have medium to large-sized ears with rounded tips. Their eyes are medium large and walnut-shaped.
Grooming Requirement: Every few week for short haired and twice a week for long haired cats
Activity Level: Average
Time Alone: More than 8 hours a day
Attention: Needs average attention
Temperament: Munchkins are smart and curious little animals. Their short legs don’t seem to slow them down much and they are playful and energetic. They can climb trees but don’t expect that they’ll jump around all over the house. Their shorter limbs don’t allow them to jump high which can be a good thing if you’re one of those people who leaves food on kitchen worktops and forgets about it!
Interesting Facts: Munchkins are occasionally “magpies”. They seem to like to steal and collect a wide range of unlikely objects.
Behaviour Toward Other Animals and Children: Munchkins are people-oriented cats. As long as they get their fair share of love and attention they will be your best friend. They do well with children and other pets, including dogs (as long as they are cat-friendly). Of course just as with any other animal it’s best to supervise cats with babies or toddlers.
Common Health Problems: Some of the most common health issues are lordosis and pectus excavatum. Many breeders still deny that these diseases are that much of a problem in the Munchkin as the conditions are rather rare and can affect other breeds and people as well.
Lifespan: Average 12 to 14 years.
These short-legged cats have been sighted in England as early as the 1930s. During World War II, the breed was on the verge of facing extinction. In 1983, however, when a Louisiana music teacher found two cats hiding in a truck, the breed’s population was marked by a small increase. After rescuing the cats and taking them home, the woman noticed that these short-legged females were pregnant. She decided to keep the black cat, giving the grey one away.
When her pet gave birth, Sandra gifted one of the kittens to a close friend who also lived in Louisiana. The new owner had many cats that wandered freely outside the premises and the town soon witnessed a substantial increase in Munchkin cat population. The breed was named after the small-sized people in the children’s fantasy novel, entitled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Believing she had developed a new breed Sandra’s friend, LaFrance, contacted Dr. Solveig, director of The International Cat Association, to learn more about the species.
Solveig’s studies determined that Munchkin’s short legs were the result of a dominant genetic mutation, which affected the long bones of the legs.
Other breeders soon became interested in the Munchkin and attempted to obtain breed recognition from TICA. This association, however, denied to accept it on the grounds of insufficient information. Despite the objection of TICA members over the animals’ leg mutation, which may potentially lead to crippling back and hip complications, in 1995 TICA approved the Munchkin as a new cat breed. All controversies surrounding the Munchkin proved beneficial for the breed: the disputes led to extensive media coverage, which in turn contributed to the animal’s popularity.
In 2014, Lilieput, a Munchkin cat from Napa, California, was proclaimed the shortest cat in the world by Guinness World Records. The animal stands 5.25 inches (13.34 centimeters) tall.
Diet / Feeding
- Similar to other cat breeds, Munchkins need a well-balanced diet.
- Cat nutrition and the choice of cat food are critical for the feline companion’s good health.
- It is important for the cat to have access to fresh, clean drinking water.
- Milk should be avoided as many cats are lactose intolerant.
- Cat treats should be limited only to ones that benefit the animal’s health.
The Average Weight
The average weight of the Munchkin cat is 2.2 kg – 4.0 kg (4.9 lbs – 8.8 lbs). Males, however, tend to be heavier than females.
Although Munchkins are generally healthy, they are vulnerable to common feline infectious diseases and frequent vaccinations are required.
Some breeding lines are prone to lordosis (an inward curvature of the spine) and pectus excavatum (a deformity of the chest making it appear sunken or caved-in). TICA (The International Cat Association) has described this breed as being “physically sound”. Only a few cases of skeletal abnormalities have been reported thus far.
Grooming the Munchkin’s coat is an easy process. For cats with short coats, weekly brushing is required. It is recommended to brush long-haired Munchkins twice a week to prevent or remove mats and tangles. The animal’s nails need regular trimming and the ears should be frequently cleaned with a veterinarian-approved cleanser. The teeth should be brushed with pet toothpaste on a frequent basis to ensure the cat’s overall healthy state.
The active and social Munchkin is a fitting choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs. The cat will tactfully stay out of any toddler’s path and is especially fond of school-age children, for their level of activity and curiosity match those of the animal. The animal will engage in various playing activities. Munchkins are vigorous and active cats that can be taught tricks, such as fetching or walking on a harness. They require a variety of interactive toys and brain-stimulating activities in order to keep themselves entertained.