Long Haired Munchkins are very amicable cats that are highly spirited and enjoy running, chasing and playing with their favourite toys. They are very inquisitive and can be seen sitting up on their hind legs like a little rabbit to get a better view of something that captured their interest. If you are lucky to get to know one of these adorable cats, they will forever be etched in your heart.
Longhaired Munchkins surfaced from a natural genetic mutation. They are well-known for their short legs, produced by an autosomal dominant gene that causes the long bones to develop at a shorter length, similar to Dachshunds. Because it is a dominant gene, it only takes a single copy of this gene to pass this trait to their kittens.
These highly intelligent cats are very curious. In fact, they love taking small objects and even hunt them. They are known to be very skilled at retrieving small items in games of fetch and learning how to walk on a leash or harness quickly. Munchkins are also known for their hoarding tendencies, similar to a Magpie. They will borrow or even steal small and glittery objects and tuck them away until they need them again.
Despite their short legs, these playful cats run really fast. They can even compete with dogs and children. Munchkins’ lower body height allows them to easily and quickly slide under objects without the need to stop or bend down. Sure they won’t be able to jump high in a single bound, but that doesn’t stop them. They will still display their jumping ability as they find their way to the top by doing smaller steps.
Presently, Lilieput of Napa, California, took the world record of being the smallest living cat. Lilieput is a tortoiseshell Munchkin cat who stands at a measly 13.34 centimetres tall, as measured from the bases of her paws to the top of her shoulders. Lilieput was awarded the title by The Guinness Book of World Records in 2013.
Their name “Munchkin” came from the tiny inhabitants of Munchkin City in the 1939 novel written by L. Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz.” Because of their complex breeding process and being a result of genetic mutation, Long Haired Munchkins are still fairly rare.
- Grooming: Twice a Week 6/10
- Shedding: Medium 6/10
- Hypoallergenic: Low 2/10
- Activity Level: High 10/10
- Playfulness: High 10/10
- Friendliness to other pets: High 10/10
- Friendliness to children: High 10/10
- Affection towards it’s owners: High 10/10
- Vocality: Low 2/10
- Intelligence: High 10/10
- Independence: Low 2/10
While Munchkins are a relatively new breed, their mutation is not . Munchkins have been documented for years and across the world. In a British veterinary report in 1944, Dr. H E Williams-Jones characterised four generations of short-legged felines, which includes an eight-year-old black female cat. It detailed that this female cat and her dam, grand-dam and progeny were all alike. The only difference between them and other normal cats were their short legs. Unfortunately, this line vanished during the devastating World War II.
This characteristic was also seen in Stalingrad in 1956, in New England in 1970 and in Louisiana in the 1980s. In 1983, a pregnant short-legged female cat was seen by Sandra Hockenedel that became the foundation of the Munchkin cat. Ms. Hockenedel named this pregnant cat Blackberry, and from her litter, a male cat called Toulouse was given to her friend Kay LaFrance. The Munchkin breed was founded from these two cats using domestic cats as an outcross to keep a vast gene pool.
The International Cat Association accepted the Munchkin breed into its New Breed development program in September 1994. This tracks the cats used to create new breeds and supervises the breeding statistics as the new breed develops under the Genetics committee’s supervision. In this breeding data, it shows that their short legs followed a dominant genetic pattern similar to that in Dachshund and Corgi.
The Munchkin achieved its Championship status effective May 2003 after years of development and observation. TICA allows the participation of Munchkins in cat shows, but the Cat Fanciers Association does not.
Munchkins have two coat lengths and a painter's palette of colours and patterns. This has been presented through the outcross program that keeps and maintains the breed's genetic diversity. Other cat breeds, in some cases, have been used to introduce specific features. However, a Munchkin is a one-of-a-kind cat breed and should never be considered just a miniaturised version of another cat breed.
Munchkins are small to medium-sized felines. They weigh between 2.27 – 4.5 kilograms when fully grown, and females are generally smaller. They are, on average, 3 inches shorter than normal felines. Their short legs are due to a natural mutation that shortens the long leg bones like the one that gives the Corgis and Dachshunds their short height.
The longhaired Munchkins have a semi-long, smooth, all-weather coat. Popular coat shades and patterns include tabby, calico, grey, and solid black.
Longhaired Munchkins are known for their playfulness. They love to run, play and hunt their favourite toys. In addition, they enjoy the company of children, other cats, cat-friendly dogs and other pets. You can see this when they giddily chase around other cats, playing all sorts of games with them.
These playful and active cats may not be able to jump high in a single bound. Still, they can still showcase their jumping ability as they find ways to reach the top of furniture using smaller steps. Even with short legs, Munchkins love running around at fast speed and can navigate tight corners with precision. They love climbing and jumping as if they do not have short legs.
The Munchkin is an easygoing and welcoming cat breed. They quickly get along with other cats, dogs and even small children. They are an excellent feline companion for families with children but they will adjust to all types of living situations. Just make sure to provide a space where they can play and run around.
However, keep in mind that Munchkins do not like being left alone for long periods of time. Because of their activeness and intelligence, you’ll also need to keep their mind stimulated by providing lots of interactive toys. A cat tree with low entrance points to aid them as they explore heights quickly is ideal, too.
Munchkins are very curious. They tend to sit up on their hind legs like a little rabbit to get a better view of something that attracts them. Munchkins don’t leave any area undiscovered or unexplored. Once you get to know these adorable and cute cats, it will capture your heart and make you choose them over and over again.
Long Haired Munchkins are a delight to train. They are bright and very inquisitive about everything. It’s best to train them early as this will be beneficial for you and the welfare of your cat. Start by introducing them to easy tasks like where to eat, where their litter boxes are and how to use their scratching posts.
As they grow and get used to training, you can teach them commands, tricks, and games such as walking on a leash and playing a game of fetch. As mentioned, Munchkins adore human interaction, and they will regard each training session as a sign of love from their human companion.
Provide many interactive toys to stimulate and work your Munchkin’s mind. Don’t forget to give them small rewards such as treats and kibbles when they complete a trick, follow a command or simply behave during your training sessions.
When a Long Haired Munchkin is appropriately trained and familiarised with diverse people, various pets and environments at kittenhood, this lovable feline companion will become a well-balanced, well-behaved, and well-rounded family pet.
Coat & Care
Even longhaired, Munchkins are easy to groom by combing their lush coat twice a week to eliminate loose dead hair and prevent matting and tangling. You can bathe them occasionally, but it is not necessary as they clean themselves. There are specific shampoos available to care for their lush coat and its colour. In addition, you can use a few drops of traditional dish soap in eight ounces of water in their bath to take away any grease or dirt in their coat.
Train them to get used to being groomed from kittenhood. Start using a very soft brush to gently brush their coat. Make it a pleasing experience for your Long Haired Munchkin so they naturally find grooming enjoyable. And because this is a part of their training, remember to give them a reward for good behaviour to reassure them.
Inspect their ears and eyes regularly as these parts can be prone to infection. For their eyes, examine them regularly for dirt, stains and discharge. You can clean them using a fresh, soft cloth with a pet eye cleaner to eliminate any stains or discharge that may lead to infection. Keep in mind, though, to use a different part of the cloth to prevent spreading infection.
For their ears, check them for any dirt or wax buildup. Wipe it out using new, clean cotton balls with an ear cleanser. Don’t use cotton swabs, as this can irritate or damage your Munchkin’s delicate inner ear structure. If you smell any bad odour from their ears, call your vet promptly for care and treatment as it can be an indication of infection.
Brush their teeth weekly to avoid tartar buildup and tooth and gum diseases. Buy a vet-approved pet toothbrush and toothpaste to clean their teeth and mouth thoroughly. For their nails, trim them as often as twice a month or as needed. Check their paws as well for injuries or dirt build-up.
Because they have a low-lying body, it is vital to keep their litter boxes clean all the time. This is to prevent their long coat from getting dirty, clumped litter clinging to their hair. If not checked regularly, your cat may ingest this soiled litter, which can lead to health problems in the future.
As cats are not a species with naturally short legs, there is some concern in the veterinary world that the Munchkin’s mutation can impact their health and mobility. Although very uncommon, there have been a few cases in the UK where Munchkin’s experienced lack of mobility and painful arthritis.
However, in most cases, when produced by ethical, registered, and experienced Munchkin breeders, these cats should not be at risk of any mobility issues or pain associated with their short legs. This is why it is crucial to choose a breeder very carefully, and only work with ones that run DNA health checks on all their cats.
Children & Other Pets
The Long Haired Munchkin is becoming more popular not only because of how cute and adorable they look but also because of their endearing personality. Their affectionate, loyal and playful nature makes them a favourite among families with children and other pets. Children will love these adorable felines as they have the same energy and playfulness as them. Still, remember to supervise their interactions to prevent any accidents while playing.
Munchkins can live calmly and harmoniously with other pets, including other cats and cat-friendly dogs. In fact, they love having companions to play and interact with. Just ensure that they are acquainted with the existing pets gradually and in controlled areas to guarantee that they get along well.