Munchkin (Longhair and Shorthair)

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Photo by Kate Bynum and from the TRT Cattery

  • The following article was contributed by Kate Bynum from the Catoninetail Cattery I’m not sure how it happened, but recent statistics on pet ownership points to a “kitty revolution” around the world. There’s something extra special about cats . . . and especially the enchanting Munchkin, a rare breed of cat. Although only recently discovered by the cat fancy,  Munchkin  sightings were reported long before World War II in Stalingrad, Germany and in Great Britain. It was at times noted to sit on its haunches with its usually short legs in the air, similar to the alert stance of a rabbit, hence in 1953 it was dubbed the “Stalingrad kangaroo cat.” Seeming to have disappeared from Europe, the Munchkin was  rediscovered in Rayville, Louisiana by Sandra Hochenedel in  the 1980’s. Sandra was in pursuit of a pet cat for her three children.  She found Blackberry, a pregnant  female cat living beneath a truck in a rural area. Back at home, Sandra was astonished when she realized the cat was unlike any other cat that she ever had seen. This extraordinary cat had body  movements that were ferret-like with dwarf legs that resemble the Corgi dog. Blackberry proudly presented Sandra’s family with several litters, and each litter included short and long-legged kittens. One day Blackberry vanished. Sandra feared the trait was lost again, but “it was not. The gene pool was  retrieved from Blackberry kittens that had been given to Kaye LaFrance.” Dr. Solveig Pflueger, Dr. David Biller and Diana L. Scollard, D.V.M. are currently involved in research in order to evaluate further the inheritance and expression of the short legged trait and the resultant changes in skeletal structure through the lifespan of the cat. A Munchkin is a product of nature rather than a manmade breed. Because of the autosomal dominant inheritance pattern, a cat with the Munchkin gene will produce kittens with the same short legs. There is no evidence to suggest that the gene for short legs hampers survival or quality of life. Munchkins are registered with The International Cat Association and United Feline Organization , and showable in the NBC class.  Munchkin breeders are diligently working to get the cat recognized for Championship competition.

    Munchkins portray one of our favorite fantasies the short legged Lollipop Kids in The Wizard of Oz complete with sidestep maneuvers. You can almost hear them tap dancing away shattering the night time stillness. These irresistible cats can do anything other cat’s can do. With shorter legs they lack the same degree of leverage, it may take them more than a single bound to leap atop the kitchen counter, but leave a chair nearby and they will figure it out. Is this a noteworthy disadvantage? Well that is in the eye of the beholder and their personal point of view.

    Captivating Munchkins come in all colors and hair lengths. They are defiantly exquisite cats full of cat adventurousness that all cat lovers appreciate, fully equipped with personality plus some, palsy-walsy,  self-assured,  and trainable to walk with a bounce on a leash. With amazement and  enjoyment you’ll watch these cuddly little cuties accelerate taking corners like small sports cars ducking under house hold objects. They can be taught to play fetch  and to zestfully obey voice commands. Munchkins can be a welcome delight in any home. Written by: Kate Bynum   See our Munchkin web site at: http://www.abcs.com/catoninetail/munchkin

    BREED TYPE:  Natural – spontaneous mutation

  • BODY TYPE:  Cobby
  • COAT TYPE: Longhair and shorthair
  • SIZE:   Medium (4 to 8 pounds)
  • TEMPERAMENT:  Sociable and enjoys company.  Playful.  Gets along with other cats and dogs.  Beware of its “magpie” tendencies.
  • COLORS:  All colors and patterns.

Recommended Web Links

The Munchkin Cat

The Munchkin Breed Club

TICA Standard

Munchkin Rescue