Origin Of The Munchkin
Munchkin cats were discovered at the beginning of the 20th century, but they were forgotten during the Second World War. Later, the Munchkin appeared in Stalingrad, New England, and, finally, in the 1980s in Louisiana.
There Sandra Hochenedel met a small black cat with short legs. He gave this feline that had several litters the name Blackberry. Half of the kittens in each litter had short legs. A friend of Sandra Hochenedel stayed with Toulouse, one of the males in a Blackberry litter. These two felines were the founders of the Munchkin cat breed known for being short-legged cats. The name “munchkin” goes back to the village of short people of the same name from the fantastic world of Oz from Flemmings’ The Wizard of Oz in 1939.
The first time a short-legged cat was exhibited was at Madison Square Garden in New York in 1991. In 1994 it was admitted to the breeding program of the TICA (The International Cat Association). In 2003 this breed received championship status. However, many prestigious breeding associations, such as FIFe (Federation Internationale Feline), do not recognize the Munchkin as an official breed.
Do munchkin cats have health problems compared to other feline breeds? It is said that this breed is based on a hereditary disease or that it tends to have health problems, like hip dysplasia, due to the deformation of its legs. Many Munchkin breeders and veterinarians have different opinions in regard to health problems; Munchkin cats are not limited and are not more likely than other cat breeds to have health issues due to their genetic mutation.
Appearance Of The Munchkin
The most striking thing about the Munchkin is its legs since they are quite short in comparison to its body. Therefore, they are considered the hallmark of this breed. But at the same time, the Munchkin’s legs are strong and muscular.
Their ears are rounded at the tip and disproportionately large, sitting vertically on their heads. Their heads are cuneiform, and their foreheads are flat. In addition, their eyes are almond-shaped, widely spaced, and slightly slanted, coming in a variety of coat colors.
The Munchkin’s legs are typically the same size. However, the hind legs may be slightly longer. The legs should not be turned inward or outward but should point forward and be rounded. The tail is as long as the body, and the tip is round. The Munchkin is medium to large in size and quite muscular. The females weigh from two to three and a half kilos and the males from three to four kilos.
This cat can have both short and medium-long hair (long-haired munchkin). The short, plush coat (for short-haired ones) or medium-long, silky coat (for long-haired ones) is glued to their muscular bodies. The color of their coat varies from black to white, going through gray and red and with different print designs.
Meanwhile, there are already subtypes of Munchkin. One of them is the dwarf cat mei toi. In addition, there are short-legged varieties known as Munchkin Super Short (very short).
Personality of The Munchkin
The character of this feline is attached, calm, and at the same time very sociable, lively, and playful. Their need to move is just as compelling as in other cats and is classified as medium-high. They love to run and play. Despite their short legs, Munchkins have the ability to jump. However, not as high as other breeds. But the size of their legs does not limit their mobility at all. Its speed is remarkable. Also, Munchkins love to climb, so having a cat tower is a must.
Are Munchkin cats good pets? Munchkin kittens tend to get along very well with children, other cats, and pets. They love to receive love and positive attention from their humans and actively participate in different aspects of your life. This cat is very interested in family life and takes part in whatever it can due to its curious nature. They are known for their great curiosity and tend to stand on their hind legs to get a better view.
For this reason, the Munchkin should not live in a home where they are alone all day. The ideal for them is to live with older people who have a lot of time to dedicate to their beloved kitten. Also, families with children, other cats, or pets go well with the nature of this breed, as long as the children are kind and responsible with the animal.
Ownership and care
This breed of cat is not very suitable as an outdoor cat because, unlike its peers, it has difficulty coping with the elements. A safe garden is ideal for this breed to have fun in its outdoor times. Depending on the length of your cat’s coat, you may want to comb it periodically. This prevents the formation of knots and the accumulation of debris. Also, regular grooming with a brush strengthens the bond between you and your feline friend. This will also keep your sofa free of cat hair! You should also consider getting a scratching post as the Munchkin also likes to groom itself and sharpen its nails.
Dental hygiene is an important aspect to consider when it comes to the health of your cat. Proper dental health begins with the diet that your cat is eating, so be sure they are eating a nutritious diet that is recommended by an expert. On very few occasions, it is necessary to go to the vet for dental problems.
Speaking of the vet, one or two visits a year is enough. This way, the vet has better control over your kitty’s antiparasitic treatments and vaccinations. Preventive care, healthy eating, and the like go a long way toward avoiding lengthy and costly procedures and avoiding suffering for your beloved feline. In addition, according to an evaluation by The International Cat Association and contrary to what critics say, their short legs do not limit the movement capacity of these felines or cause spinal problems.
Given that the Munchkin is a fairly young breed, there is still no certain knowledge about typical diseases. However, it has been documented that cats of this breed are prone to developing lordosis, a physiological curvature of the spine in the cervical region. Animals with lordosis usually die quite young. It is not proven that the disease has to do with the fact that they are short-legged cats. Unlike the dachshund, also known for its short legs, the munchkin, in principle, does not tend to have spinal diseases.
With proper ownership and nutrition, Munchkins have a life expectancy of up to 18 years; therefore, it is important that your cat is consuming a diet that is recommended by the veterinarian that accounts for your cat’s age and size. One bonus is that your cat can eat on demand when you are away, for example, when you are at work. However, this should just be a supplement or alternative to wet food to ensure a proper balanced diet. All cat lovers want what is best for their feline breeds.
The disadvantage of dry cat food is that it contains little water, only about eight percent of it is water. This does not comply with the natural eating habits of felines, as in their natural environment, they are hydrated through food. Therefore, if they only cat food, they can develop bladder or kidney diseases. Also, cat food has a very high energy density, which can cause them to be overweight. On the other hand, some veterinarians recommend a diet based on dry food, yes, of good quality.
Surely the felines themselves would buy wet food, as it is what most closely resembles their natural eating habits. Pay special attention to the correct combination of meat and vegetables. Good brands are recognized by listing all the animal by-products used. This transparency creates trust. Viscera such as the liver, heart, and stomach are considered of high quality. Only two to five percent of the ingredients should be plant-based.
A BARF (or ACBA, Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) diet is highly recommended; as you know, cats are carnivores by nature, so their diet must consider this as well. The BARF diet corresponds to the instinct, metabolism, and anatomy of the pussycat. It is based on the eating habits of the wild ancestors of domestic cats and has multiple advantages: it maintains healthy teeth and prevents the formation of tartar, food allergies, and kidney diseases, provides a high-quality and fresh diet, higher nutritional values, and it has no chemical or synthetic additives.
Adopting A Munchkin
Where can I get a Munchkin cat? Getting a Munchkin is not easy, as most of them are only raised in the United States. It is possible to find a sporadic reputable breeder, but you should be prepared to drive a few kilometers. How much do Munchkins cost? The price of a Munchkin is on average between 300 and 1,500 US dollars.
Try to find a reputable breeder who treats their animals responsibly. Munchkin kittens should stay with their mother for at least 12 weeks to learn everything important for kitty life. Stay away from breeders who offer paperless breed cats at low prices. Animal shelters rarely have Munchkins, but they may have the cat of your dreams. A visit to an animal shelter is always worth it!