Munchkin Kittens: History, Temperament, Care, and Tips

Sleeping munchkin cat
Be quiet!

Table of Contents

The Munchkin is a relatively new breed of cat. It was recognized by TICA (The International Cat Association) in 1995 and much controversy has been following this breed since. Munchkins owe their name to very short legs caused by a natural genetic mutation. Nonetheless, these cats are fabulous and make great companions.

The History Behind Munchkin Kittens

Since the 1940’s, Munchkin kittens have been described many times all around the world. In 1944, a British veterinary report described four generations of cats with short legs that were completely healthy and were similar to normal cats. These cats were not heard until 1956 when other short-legged cats were seen in Russia and the 1970’s when cats were seen in the US.

in 2003 the breed officially achieved Championship status

Sandra Hochenedel from Louisiana in 1983 sheltered at home a pregnant cat named Blackberry. Half of the litter was born with short legs and Sandra thought that several kittens born the same way were not just a coincidence. Sandra gave a male kitten to her friend, Kay LaFrance and she named the kitten Toulouse. All present day

Autumn cat
Walking on the leaves

Munchkins descend from Toulouse and Blackberry. Being an unneutered cat, Toulouse had constant outdoor access that resulted in growing population of short-legged cats around the area. After first short-legged kittens began to appear in the area, LaFrance and Hochenedel contacted Solveiq Pflueger, a chairperson of TICA’s genetics committee. Pflueger with the assistance of David Biller, the Head of Radiology at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, conducted research on the new breed and came to the conclusion that the short-legged cats were bearing evidence if autosomal dominant inheritance. Moreover, these cats were absolutely healthy and surprisingly had no back problems that are commonly found in short-legged dogs like Dachshund. In 1991, the Munchkin cat was introduced to the public through the cat show held by TICA in Madison Square Garden. Judges of that cat show predicted that the breed would be “defect” showing back and leg problems. In September 1994, the Munchkins were accepted by TICA and took part in its New Breed development program. Only nine years later, in 2003 the breed officially achieved Championship status (according to Wikipedia).

Temperament and Personality

Despite their virtual clumsiness and somewhat “defective” appearance, these cats show unfading love of life and great fun. They behave almost as their dog counterparts – Dachshunds do. They scamper around, wrestle with other pets – this is why they are dubbed as “magpies” of the cat species. Munchkins stand by themselves amidst other cat breeds:

your kitten may start like a rocket, running very fast and covering the dining room in three leaps

  • They are not just easily trained, nor are clever… They are wise! From the very early age, a Munchkin kitten can be taught tricks and enjoys messing around with puzzle toys and games that require concentration of attention.

    Munchkin and his prey
    You’re only mine!
  • They are very observant: you may see your Munchkin standing on its rear paws as some groundhog looking out in the window.

  • They are peaceful but show extraordinary activity at the same time. Their built and character may surprise you: your kitten may start like a rocket, running very fast and covering the dining room in three leaps. They chase balls and wrestle with dogs almost head-to-head.

  • They get easily along with children of any age. Just show your kids the way they should be playing with the kitten and you won’t see any of them wandering aimlessly around the house for hours.

  • Munchkins tend to gather small things and hide them the same way as ferrets do. You may need to trash their collection in order to find stolen car keys, jewelry or a phone.

Munchkins are unusual cats that share typical feline behavior and pure circus tricks that you may never find in any other breeds. These creatures are unique in appearance and their behavior. And speaking of their appearance – it’s pointless to write about their coloring and patterns as there are virtually dozens, if not hundreds, of variations. The Munchkin breed comes in any color and pattern that you may come up with.

Where to Buy Munchkin Kittens

Munchkins are thought to be rare but their rarity is not something that makes them very expensive. There are two possible options if you want to buy a Munchkin kitten. The first one is looking for people who want to sell a kitten – they advertise their offers on different sites. Another way is to contact directly one of few breeders that specialize in breeding Munchkins only. As for breeders, you may visit following sites for more information and contact:

A breeder is always the best option as catteries can be checked and visited many times. Catteries usually specialize in one breed only, thus ensuring the greatest quality of every kitten born. Moreover, you may come visit particular kitten, get acquainted with him, play and make your choice. Also, a reputable breeder will present you a veterinary certificate that represents some sort of a “warranty” stating that “this kitten is completely healthy”.

Care Tips and Recommendations

Munchkins are “exquisite” in their appearance only. It means that the care tips you are about to go through do not require any outstanding measures. Proper care after a kitten comprises the feeding regiment, grooming/trimming, and playing, in general.

Sometimes all you need is to throw a tennis or golf ball and see your kitten scampering with the ball all around the house.

As for such fussy stuff like grooming and washing or teaching tricks – it’s up to you only. They are not vital but can brighten up your and your kitten’s leisure. Speaking of “must-to” steps, you should undoubtedly follow these steps:

Munchkin cat and heart
Gimme some feed!
  • Feeding regiment comprises the food itself, the schedule if intake and systematic assessment of your kitten’s/cat’s body composition. This whole line may sound too “scientific” but gives you the perfect image of how you can prevent many diseases and unwanted conditions that may happen with your kitten. First of all, while your Munchkin is still a kitten, feed him 3 times a day, making the breakfast meal relatively big (up to 40% of daily intake), the afternoon snack may be reduced to half of the breakfast and before the night you give him the rest. You may vary this meal routine, depending on the appetite of your kitten. As for the assessment thing – take your kitten and touch him. If you find that his waist is becoming way too round, it’s the first sign that you should reduce his caloric intake from usual 100% down to 90% and see how his mood and agility change. When your kitten reaches 6 months of age, you may stick to feeding him 2 times a day only (some additional kitten food information).

  • Playing with your cat is the most efficient element that promotes bonding between the cat and the owner as well as represents the best workout that your cat may ever get. All this leaping, chasing, hide-n-seek plays result in big caloric expenditures. Moreover, it’s a great cardio that all Munchkins are used to naturally. Sometimes all you need is to throw a tennis or golf ball and see your kitten scampering with the ball all around the house.

    Kitty with a toy
    Let’s play, please!
  • Veterinary visits. They must take place periodically – like 1-2 times per year. Munchkins are a very healthy breed despite the controversy concerning their short limbs. They have no specific health problems and require moderate vaccination and counter-parasites measures only.

Munchkins are not demanding cats. They are the same as any other breed with the difference in their appearance only.

As a conclusion, we would like to assure you that the purchase/adoption of a Munchkin kitten is a grand affair that doesn’t require too much of your dedication. You will learn to care for your kitten and entertain each other quickly and your life won’t be the same again: another soul living in your house and craving your love, compassion and attention is a big step towards the exemplar responsibility and understanding beauties of life that haunt us little but show much.

Сutie munchkin kitten
Little ball of fur.

Get acquainted with other kitten breeds reading the following atricles:

Russian Blue Kittens

Siamese Kittens

Ragdoll Kittens