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Munchkins are one of the newest breeds found in the domestic feline world, originating naturally from a spontaneous dwarfism mutation. The TICA officially recognised them in 1995, yet there have been many records of short-legged cats since the 1940s.
The munchkin longhair is most known for its small size, short legs, and luscious long, silky coat. However, their personality is just as attractive as their looks, as these tiny felines make loving, playful, and friendly companions. Breeding them is not the most straightforward process, though, which keeps these cute kitties a rare breed.
Meet the Munchkin Longhair
Munchkins are similar to the Dachshund breed of dogs as they are both famed for their extra short legs and sausage-like looks. Their short height also makes them lighter than most other breeds and gives them a generally smaller appearance. As adults, they will weigh between 5 and 9 pounds, with males typically being heavier.
If you’re getting a Munchkin Longhair as a kitten, they will likely weigh around one pound at 12 weeks old. As they get older, their bodies and heads grow at a normal rate, but their legs remain short. The Munchkin Longhair is typically a result of a Munchkin mated with a Persian or Himalayan cat.
Munchkin Longhairs have a wedge-shaped head with high cheekbones, wide-set ears, and a thick neck. They also have large eyes that sit far apart. They have long, silky coats with a dense undercoat and a full, bushy tail. To keep their soft fur in top condition, you’ll need to brush it a few times a week and bathe them every couple of months or when needed. Their coats can come in an array of colours and patterns.
Being such a new breed, no one knows how much this genetic mutation affects the Munchkins’ health. However, they do have a higher risk of osteoarthritis, and their bodily structure can make them susceptible to lordosis (an excessively curved spine) and pectus excavatum (a hollowed chest). Even so, many Munchkin longhairs live a long and healthy life, averaging 12 to 18 years.
The temperament of a Munchkin Longhair
Munchkin Longhairs may be small, but they have tons of energy. Their short legs restrict them from jumping high, but they make up for it by racing around at lightning speed. They are super playful and love to chase toys, catching them like they are prey.
Their short legs certainly don’t hold them back, and although you won’t find a Munchkin on the top of the fridge, they will still find their way onto tables and chairs without any issue. However, they can also climb just as well as other breeds, so a cat tree is still a must-have. What’s more, Munchkin Longhairs tend to keep their kitten-like playfulness well into adulthood.
Munchkin Longhairs are a very outgoing and confident cat breed. They are super curious about new people, places, and items. They will get excited whenever you bring something new into the home, especially if it comes in a cardboard box!
When they’re not playing, a Munchkin Longhair will seek to relax in the arms of its owner. They love people and display bundles of affection towards their humans. Their confidence makes them great with strangers, children and other cats, so they make an excellent family pet. They adjust quickly to new people and environments and are surprisingly intelligent, too.
10 reasons to add a Munchkin Longhair to your family
- They are social butterflies - This is not a kitty that will hide when they hear the doorbell or act wary around your friends. Munchkin Longhairs love to make friends with everyone.
- They are great with other animals - If you’re looking for a cat that will effortlessly settle into your home and get on with your other pets, a Munchkin is an ideal choice.
- They look like glamorous teddy bears - Their longhair gives them more of an elegant look than their shorthair siblings. Plus, their soft, silky coat gives them a teddy-like sensation when you cuddle them.
- They are easy to please - Their high curiosity means that they find anything and everything interesting. You won’t need to buy lots of expensive toys with a Munchkin Longhair, as paper balls and cardboard boxes will excite them.
- You can take them on adventures - Their curiosity and confidence make these felines a great breed to take for walks on a leash or even travelling. So, if you’re going away for the weekend, you can consider bringing your fluffy friend.
- They will stay off your kitchen counters - As these kittens tend to remain at ground level, you can cook in peace without them jumping up and stealing your ingredients.
- You can get them in any colour - Unlike some breeds, you can find longhaired Munchkins in a wide variety of colours and patterns.
- They sit like meerkats - One of the cutest things that Munchkins do is perch on their hind legs with their short front legs dangling by their chest like a meerkat.
- They have a perfect balance of playfulness and cuddliness - Munchkin Longhairs loves to run around and chase things, yet once they tire out, they will seek out your lap for cuddles.
- They are unique and exclusive - If you’re looking for a pet that’s different from a standard moggie, a Munchkin Longhair is one of the most distinct and rare breeds you can find.
Best homes for a Munchkin Longhair
Being a sociable and adaptable kitty, a Munchkin Longhair is a fabulous option for families with children and other pets. They will not hide from young kids, start fights with other animals, or avoid your guests. Plus, when they’re not zooming around, your Munchkin Longhair will happily sit on your lap and enjoy a good petting session.
However, being such social butterflies does have a downside. These small felines don’t particularly like staying alone for too long. They thrive in busy environments, so they will do best in a home where someone is home most of the time. They are well-suited to being indoor kitties, too, as long as they have plenty of space to run and play.