The Munchkin is a fun-loving, dexterous and bold breed, which fairly recently entered the club of pedigreed cats. Despite its uniquely short legs it’s distinguishable for outstanding agility and cornering skills. Undoubtedly most people will be happy to have a pet with such a sunny and out-going personality.
Photo: © Ivi Press / Andrew Perris (Works Of Art Munchkin Cattery)
Short-legged cats appeared numerous times throughout the modern history and in different corners of the earth. In a British veterinary book in 1944 Dr. H. E. Williams-Jones gave description of four generations of cats with prominent traits and one of those were aged pitch-black feline that was notable for exceptionally robust health. In his writing he asserted that all its progenitors possessed unusually short legs although they were just normal cats as far as it concerned its character and habits. Unfortunately this line perished during the Second World War.
The cats with this peculiar feature could also be met in Stalingrad in 1956, in New England in 1970 and Louisiana in the 1980s. In 1983 Sandra Hockenedel sheltered an expectant short-legged female that served as the base for the feline variety we know as the Munchkin. It was granted with the name Blackberry. Sandra presented one of Blackberry’s kittens to her friend Kay LaFrance. The development of the breed began with these two cats, which were outcrosses with domestic cats in order to guarantee the diversity of its gene pool.
The Munchkin entered the New Breed development program of the International Cat Association (TICA) in September 1994. This program checks the lineage of cats utilised to invent the new breeds and collects the statistical data under the supervision of the Genetics committee. These breeding reports provided strong evidence that the short legs in the Munchkin was caused by dominant principle of inheritance. The breed was given full recognition of the TICA in 2003. The Cat Fanciers Association doesn’t accept the Munchkin as a distinctive breed.
The Munchkin is a sociable and joyful cat and likes nothing more than to be in the company of its master. At a glance this cat may seem to be slow-moving and awkward but remember that the first impression can be deceptive. This breed is capable to move with incredible speed so it’s oftentimes compared with a low-slung race car. When it stops playing it can be occasionally observed sitting up on its hind legs in order to achieve better view of its domains. This cat will make an outstanding playmate for family children although it doesn’t appreciate too rough games and too much hugging. It will also live peacefully with other pets including a non-aggressive dog.
The Munchkin is well endowed with typical feline curiosity and will eventually get access to every secluded corner of your dwelling. It’s notable for love of height although it requires more bounds to get to the top bookshelf than the cat with ordinary physique. This cat is very responsive to training so it would be a good idea to stimulate its natural intelligence by teaching it basic commands. Anyway the master should provide it with plentiful of puzzle toys, which will become the source of entertainment for the Munchkin in his absence.
Thanks to its out-going and amicable personality the Munchkin adjusts perfectly well to any type of lifestyle and can make an excellent companion animal for everyone who prefers to have lively but gentle cats with contagious zest for life.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· lordosis (excessive curvature of the spine) ;
· pectus excavatum (hollowed chest).
The Munchkin needs very basic maintenance. The specimen with a short coat should be brushed only once a week.
The rest grooming procedures consists of systematic nail trimming and ear cleaning when they look dirty. Proper dental hygiene will ensure excellent health in this area for long years. Above-mentioned routines should be introduced in an early age so an adult cat won’t be intimidated by these activities.