Have you ever heard of Munchkin cats? If you are not familiar with this relatively new, short-legged cat breed, keep on reading because this post includes some interesting and little known facts about these cool cats. To find out what causes this curious feline to have the stubby legs or how it got its name, check out these 25 Short And Sweet Munchkin Cat Facts.
The unique appearance of the Munchkin cat, characterized by unusually short legs, is caused by a genetic mutation known as achondroplasia.
The Munchkin cat is also known as the midget cat and the sausage cat.
Munchkins have been crossed with some other pure-breeds. This has led to several varieties such as the Minskin (the Munchkin and the Sphinx), the Skookum (the Munchkin and the LaPerm), the Lambkin (the Munchkin and the Selkirk Rex), and the Genetta (the Munchkin and the Bengal).
While some studies suggest that the stunted limbs have no effect on the quality of the cats' lives, others argue that the deformity impacts the mobility of the cats as they might struggle to run and jump.
Although many vets and experts have warned it's cruel to deliberately breed cats with this deformity, Munchkin cats are increasingly popular, largely because many celebrities have been known to own them. Paris Hilton, for example, has two of them – Shorty and Munchkin.
The average lifespan of the Munchkin cat is between 12 and 14 years, slightly lower than in common cats.
Munchkins are sometimes called "cat magpies" because they love shiny things and will often stow them away for a later play.
Munchkins are usually outgoing, intelligent, and playful. They also respond well to being handled.
Due to the controversy over the potential suffering of the cats, the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) and the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) have not recognized the Munchkin as an official cat breed.
A nine-year-old female munchkin cat named Lilieput, who measured just 13.34 cm (5.25 in) from the floor to the shoulders, became the world's shortest cat in 2013. The cat is owned by Christel Young of Napa, California.
It has been found that breeding two standard Munchkins together can result in high birth mortality.
Compared to normal domestic cats, Munchkins are much more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis, spinal malformations, lordosis, and scoliosis.
The genetic condition that is responsible for the unusual appearance of the Munchkin cats was first observed in a population of cats in the 1930's. However, these cats disappeared during the Second World War, and it was not until 1983 when the breed was discovered again.
Some vets worry that once the Munchkin trend wears off, many animals will inevitably be abandoned, putting extra strain on already overburdened shelters.
Cats with normal leg length are often born side-by-side in the same litter as Munchkin cats.
It is believed that all modern Munchkin cats can trace their roots back to pregnant, short-legged cats named Blueberry and Blackberry who were found by a Louisiana teacher in 1983.
One of the characteristics shared by many Munchkin cats is their ability to perch on their hind legs like prairie dogs. This preference could be due to the fact that their hind legs are slightly longer than their front legs.
There are three types of legs on Munchkins: standard, super-short, and rug-hugger (the shortest).
Just like normal cats, Munchkins also come in a variety of patterns, colors, and fur lengths.
Munchkin cats can sell for anywhere between $300 and $1,200, which is a much higher price than that of a normal cat.
The Munchkin cat is named after the Munchkins from the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz.”
Just like normally sized cats, Munchkins also have a strong hunter's instinct and will chase mice or anything that moves.
There was a Russian version of the Munchkin cat in the 1950's. The Russians dubbed the short-legged cat as the "Stalingrad Kangaroo Cat" because it often sat on its hind legs.
The average weight of the Munchkin cat is 2.7-4kg (6-9 lbs), almost the same weight as that of a normal cat.
The Munchkin cat was formally introduced to the public via a nationally televised cat show in 1991, sponsored by TICA and hosted at the Madison Square Garden in New York City.
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Photos: Feature image & 25. Max Pixel (public domain), 24. “Munchkin” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by St.Také, 23-22. shutterstock, 21. Paris_Hilton_3.jpg: Photo by Glenn Francis Glenn Francis derivative work: Richardprins (talk), Paris Hilton 3 Crop, CC BY-SA 3.0, 20-18. shutterstock, 17. Robert Tortorelli via flickr (public domain), 16. shutterstock (not actual record holder), 15. Max Pixel (public domain), 14. shutterstock, 13. pixabay (public domain), 12. shutterstock, 11. pixabay (public domain), 10. wikimedia commons (public domain), 9. shutterstock, 8. Sasha Krotov, Munchkin cat, CC BY 3.0, (not actual cats) 7. pixabay (public domain), 6. shutterstock, 5. wikimedia commons (public domain), 4. pixabay (public domain), 3. shutterstock, 2. pixabay (public domain), 1. pexels (public domain)