Short In Stature, But Big In Personality: The Munchkin Cat
Happy May everyone! This week we'll be exploring the adorable, controversial and short-in-stature-but-big-in-personality Munchkin cat.
At the cat spa, we have been lucky enough to groom some Munchkin cats. In my experience, these critters are typically adorable and friendly. However, munchkin cats actually have quite a bit of controversy surrounding them. Read on to learn where they came from, what they are, and why they’re up for debate.
Where Do Munchkin Cats Come From?
Back in 1983, (the same year Rock the Casbah by The Clash was on the charts!), a music teacher in Louisiana found two pregnant cats, and history was made. Most munchkin cats can trace their lineage back to these two cats. The woman named them Munchkins, after the Wizard of Oz characters.
Today, this breed can cost upwards of $1k. Of course, you may be lucky and find one at a shelter or foster home.
Genetic Mutations Make the Munchkins
Most people think of dachshund dogs when they see short legs and long bodies so to see this on a cat is quite a surprise. However, unlike dachshunds, which were carefully bread over 300 years ago, Munchkin cats are relatively new.
The genetic mutation that causes their short legs is why the munchkin cat has been controversial over the years. It is a newer breed, recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1991. However, many other feline associations will not recognize the breed and deem it wrong to breed them.
What’s the Problem With Munchkins?
Due to their selective breeding, Munchkin cats have super small legs. While these legs can be very cute and entertaining for humans, many organizations have worries over the health effects on the cats themselves.
This is because the shortened limbs of the Munchkins make them more prone to joint disease and osteoarthritis. For many people, breeding animals likely to have diseases is a big no-no.
On the other side of the argument, Munchkin cats tend to live a full life averaging 15 years. Besides their osteoarthritis and joint issues, they are a generally healthy breed to consider.
What is it Like to Own a Munchkin Cat?
Munchkin cats can still run super fast but are unable to jump as well as a larger cat so it is best to keep them indoors. Their little legs come in 3 different lengths – standard, super short, and rug hugger. The names are pretty self-explanatory!
Having groomed a couple of these cats at the spa, I know their fur can become tangled very easily. Many have longer coats and may have grooming limitations due to flexibility issues.
Munchkins come in all different colors and short or long hair. The long hair will need to be brushed daily and even completely shaved from time to time to clean up the coat.
If you love a lap cat (who doesn’t?), the Munchkins love to be close and cuddle with you. They love people and are social and crave attention. They can be loud and chatty with the meows so be prepared to give lots of one on one attention!
Another funny thing is that they love to take toys or objects and store them away in a hidden place! It sounds very squirrel-like to hide the nuts away for the winter but Munchkins are known to be little hoarders.
These tiny cats are big on love and attention so talk to your vet and see if this breed is a good fit for you and your family!
Rock the Cat Spa owner Cari Thompson is a life-long cat lover. When she's not running the luxury cat spa & hotel, she's playing with her cat, Daphne. She writes weekly blogs on cat behavior, health, and care. To learn more about her, check out the About Me page!