Cat fanciers know that each cat breed has its own unique traits and characteristics that make it special. One particular breed, first recognized by The International Cat Association in 1995, seems to have cornered the market on cuteness.
The breed is known as the Munchkin. As the name might suggest, the Munchkin cat’s most recognizable trait is its short, stubby legs. It has a long body, triangular ears, and walnut-shaped eyes. With its unique proportions, the Munchkin is essentially the dachshund of the cat world.
The Munchkin’s short legs result from a dominant genetic mutation that affects the long bones of the legs, but the short stature does not slow it down in the least. Most Munchkins are outgoing and playful with a strong hunter’s instinct. Munchkins typically weigh between 4 and 8 pounds and come in both short-haired and long-haired varieties.
There are records of short-legged cats in England dating back to the 1930s. Unfortunately, they were almost completely wiped out during World War II. Today’s Munchkins are believed to be descended from two short-legged cats that lived in Louisiana in the 1980s named Toulouse and Blackberry. Toulouse, a male, was a prolific breeder and is believed to have fathered a number of short-legged cats in his hometown.
It is important to note that the breed is not without controversy. Some cat registries do not recognize the breed because they feel that the genetic mutations inherent in the breed are potentially disadvantageous to the health and well-being of the cat. Breeders of Munchkins claim that the breed is not particularly prone to health problems.