Shorthaired Munchkins are very friendly cats that are highly energetic and love to run, chase and play with their toys. They are very curious and will sit up on their hind legs like a bunny to get a better view of something that interests them. Once you know these adorable cats, they will capture your heart forever. This cat breed emerged from a spontaneous genetic mutation. Their short legs, which they are well-known for, are produced by an autosomal dominant gene. This causes the cat’s long bones to develop at a shorter length. These felines only need a copy of this gene to pass this trait along with their kittens.
Their name “Munchkin” was derived from the diminutive inhabitants of Munchkin City in the 1939 novel written by L. Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz.”
Munchkins are highly intelligent. They are curious enough to take small objects or hunt. They are also very skilful at retrieving small items in fetch games and can learn to walk on a leash in a short time. While quite energetic, Munchkins do not struggle climbing into bed and snuggling with their human companion. They are an excellent choice for families with children and other pets.
These playful cats are well-known for their hoarding tendencies. Like the Magpie, Munchkins will borrow and steal small, sparkly objects and hide them away until they need them. Some even call Munchkins Magpies because of this particular quirky characteristic.
Munchkins can run very fast, like squirrels, and are skilled in keeping up with canine companions and children. Their lower body height permits them to quickly slide under objects without having to stop and bend down. While they may not be able to jump from the floor to the top of furniture in a single bound, they will still show off their jumping ability and cleverness as they find a way to take them there in smaller steps.
Currently, Lilieput of Napa, California, holds the world record of being the smallest living cat. This cat is a tortoiseshell Munchkin cat that stands a mere 13.34 centimetres tall, measured from the bases of her paws to the top of her shoulders. She was awarded by The Guinness Book of World Records in 2013.
Due to the complicated breeding process and being a result of genetic mutation, Shorthaired Munchkins are still relatively rare.
- Grooming: Once a Week 2/10
- Shedding: Low 2/10
- 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
The Munchkin breed is not a new mutation. These short-legged cats have been documented throughout the years and across the globe. In 1944, in a British veterinary report, Dr. H E Williams-Jones defined four generations of short-legged cats, including an 8-year-old black female cat that had a very healthy life. The report detailed that her dam, grand-dam and progeny were all alike, and their short legs were the only variation between them and normal cats. This line vanished during World War II. This trait was also seen in 1956 in Stalingrad, in 1970 in New England and in the 1980s in Louisiana. Sandra Hockenedel saw a pregnant short-legged female cat in 1983 that turned out to be the foundation for the cat breed we call today the Munchkin. Sandra named this female cat Blackberry and gave the male cat, Toulouse, to her friend Kay LaFrance from one of Blackberry's litters. The breed was established from these two cats using domestic cats as an outcross to safeguard a vast gene pool.
In September 1994, The International Cat Association accepted the Munchkin into its New Breed development program. This program tracks the cat pedigrees used to produce the new breeds and oversees the breeding statistics as the breed develops under the Genetics committee's supervision. The breeding data exhibits that their short legs followed a dominant genetic pattern like that in the Dachshund and the Corgi. After years of observation and development, the Munchkin achieved Championship status effective May 2003.
While The International Cat Association recognizes Munchkins and allows participation of the breed in cat shows, however, Cat Fanciers Association does not.
Munchkins have two coat lengths and a genuine painter's palette of colours and patterns. Their colours and patterns have been presented through the outcross program that preserves the cat breed's genetic diversity. In some cases, other cat breeds have been used to present specific features. However, a Munchkin is a unique cat breed and should never look like a miniaturized version of another cat breed. Shorthaired Munchkin cats have a medium-lush, all-weather coat.
They are small to medium-sized felines and weigh between 2.27 – 4.5 kilograms when fully grown. Other than their short legs, the Munchkin cat looks just like any typical cat. Their short legs are a natural mutation that shortens the long leg bones comparable to the one that gives the Dachshunds and Corgis their short height. However, their spine differs in structure from that of a dog, and so their short legs do not lead to any spinal problems that occasionally appear in dogs. And any worries about their mobility are swiftly erased as you can watch a Munchkin dash around and cornering firmly in whatever game they are playing.
These friendly cats are very playful and love to run, hunt and play with their toys. They adore the company, including children, dogs and other pets, making them have a giddy chase as they zoom around in their games. Munchkins are highly inquisitive and will sit up on their hind legs like a bunny to get a better view of something that has caught their interest. These confident cats leave a room or corner unexplored or undiscovered. While they may not be able to jump from the floor to the top of furniture in a single bound, they will still show off their jumping ability and cleverness as they find a way to take them there in smaller steps. Once you know these adorable cats, it will capture your heart forever.
Even with short legs, Munchkins love speeding around the house and can round tight corners with accuracy. They may not be able to jump atop door or bookshelves in a single leap, but this doesn’t dampen their spirit and still love climbing and jumping.
An easygoing breed, these cats get along well with other cats, dogs and even small children. They are certainly an excellent addition to families, whatever living situation they may be in (just be sure they have a space to run and play). Just make sure not to leave them alone for long periods of time. Provide them with lots of interactive toys to play with alternately and a cat tree with low entrance points to help them explore height effortlessly.
Shorthaired Munchkins are a joy to train. They are highly intelligent and very curious about everything. So as much as possible, train them as early as possible. You can start by teaching them simple tasks like where the feeding bowls are, their litter boxes and how to use the scratching posts. As they mature and get used to training sessions, you can teach them more complex tricks, commands, and games. Munchkins love human interaction, and they will treat each training session a quality time well spent.
Make sure to provide plenty of interactive and puzzle toys to encourage your Munchkins and keep their mind stimulated. Also, give them rewards such as their favourite treats and kibbles when performing a trick, following a command, or simply behaving during your training sessions.
When a Shorthaired Munchkin is correctly trained and familiarized with different people, pets and environments at an early stage, this adorable cat will thrive into being a well-behaved, well-balanced and well-rounded family pet.
Grooming these playful cats is quick and easy. Shorthaired Munchkins must be combed or brushed weekly to help eliminate loose dead hair. To maintain their good hygiene, it is best to occasionally bathe your Munchkin, even though they can do it well by themselves. Specific shampoos are available to highlight their lush coat colour. However, using a few drops of traditional dish soap in 8 ounces of water in their bath can be used to take away any dirt or grease on their coat.
To keep their coat healthy:
- Train them to get used to grooming as early as kittenhood. You can use a very soft brush to gently brush their coat to remove dead hairs and dirt from accumulating, which can lead to hairball.
- Remember to make it an enjoyable experience for your cat so they would naturally submit themselves for grooming.
- As part of their training, reward them for good behaviour to encourage them.
Check your Munchkin’s ears and eyes regularly as these two can be susceptible to infection. To keep their ears clean, examine them for any dirt or wax buildup. Wipe it out using fresh cotton balls with a vet-approved ear cleanser. Never consider using cotton swabs, as this can irritate or harm your cat’s delicate inner ear structure. If you smell any foul odour, call your vet instantly for care and treatment. This can be a sign of infection. For their eyes, check it regularly for dirt, stains and discharge. Use a clean, soft cloth moistened with a vet-approved eye cleaner to remove any stains or discharge that may cause infection. Just remember to use a separate part of the cloth to avoid any risk of eye infection.
Brush your Munchkin’s teeth weekly to prevent tartar buildup and tooth and gum diseases. Invest in a vet-approved pet toothbrush and toothpaste to clean their teeth and mouth well. To clean their nails, trim them as often as twice a month or as needed. Examine their paws as well to check if it is healthy, dirt and injury-free.
Because their belly closely touches the floor, it is crucial to keep their litter boxes clean at all times. This is to avoid getting dirty, clumped litter to cling to their fur. If not monitored regularly, your Munchkin may ingest this dirty litter and may cause health problems in the long run.
Lastly, it is best to keep your Shorthaired Munchkin as an indoor pet. Not only it will keep them safe from any diseases that they may get outdoors or other unfavourable conditions such as accidents and animal attacks, keeping them indoors will keep them off from roaming outside and may intentionally or unintentionally be taken by passersby who can get captivated by their unique beauty and endearing personality.
Munchkins are not susceptible to arthritis and do not have issues walking or moving any more than other cat breeds as they get older. Several years of research have authenticated that there are no debilitating genes linked with this cat breed. A pedigreed Munchkin should not require testing for any breed-related diseases or illness unless they are a Munchkin hybrid.
Shorthaired Munchkin is becoming more popular because of how cute and adorable they look. But they even became more popular as many had discovered their endearing personality. Their playful, affectionate and loyal nature made families with children and other pets choose Munchkin to be their family pet. Children will love these lovable cats as they have the energy and playfulness to interact with them. Just make sure to oversee these interactions so they won’t encounter any accidents while playing.
They can live peacefully and harmoniously with other pets, including other cats and cat-friendly dogs. In fact, they love having four-legged companions to play with. Make sure though that they are introduced slowly and in controlled areas to ensure that they go along well together.