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Munchkin

The Munchkin is a beautiful breed of cats recognized by its very short legs. Compared to many other cat breeds, it is a relatively new breed, documented since the 1940s and officially recognized by TICA in 1997. The Munchkin is considered to be the original breed of dwarf cat.​ A natural genetic mutation gives the Munchkin cat breed those short legs, but otherwise their build is quite average for a small cat. Owners of the munchkin breed agree that the shortness of their legs does not interfere with their running and leaping abilities. The name isn’t the only adorable thing about the Munchkin. These playful, friendly cats have legs about 3 inches shorter than your typical cat. When paired with their average-size bodies (they generally weigh 6–9 pounds), this gives this dwarf cat a unique look, and their affectionate personalities are the cherry on top. 

 

The Munchkin has similar characteristics to normal domestic cats. It is a small to medium-sized cat with a moderate body type. Male Munchkins typically weigh between 6 and 9 pounds (2.7 and 4.1 kg) and are usually larger than female Munchkins, which typically weigh between 4 and 8 pounds (1.8 and 3.6 kg). The hind legs can be slightly longer than the front which creates a slight rise from the shoulder to the rump. The legs of the Munchkin may be slightly bowed, although excessive bowing is a disqualification in the show ring. Cow-hocked legs are also penalized.

The Munchkin comes in all coat colors and patterns. It also comes in a short and long-haired variety. The short-haired variety has a medium-plush coat while the long-haired has a semi-long silky coat.

 

Munchkins are playful and kitten-like the majority of their lives.  They are attention-seeking and dog-like, they may follow you around the house a lot. I recommend that pet parents with Munchkins have other animals at home that can keep their cat company 24/7.

In addition to their need for companionship, Munchkins are very intelligent cats and enjoy toys and games. Munchkins love to play with just about anything. They are also known as thieves, as they will steal things off counters or dressers, and play with it until it disappears. While some people believe the Munchkin’s short legs prevent this breed from jumping to elevated surfaces, that’s not usually the case—so don’t assume that enticingly shiny necklace on your vanity is out of reach.

What To Feed a Munchkin Cat

Munchkin cats do not have specific nutritional requirements, Simons says. “Ensure they are fed an Association of American Feed Control Officials-approved cat food appropriate for their life stage,” she says. Veterinarians often recommend a mix of wet food (which can help kitties stay hydrated) and dry kibble (to help reduce tartar buildup on their teeth).

 

How To Feed a Munchkin Cat

Feed your Munchkin a measured meal two to three times a day, using a life stage-appropriate food (kitten, adult, or senior). Do not free-feed a Munchkin cat, as this can lead to obesity. If they experience whisker fatigue with a bowl, a flat plate or mat may be preferable for some cats.

How Much Should You Feed a Munchkin Cat?  

How much your Munchkin eats will depend on her weight, lifestyle, health, and other factors. Use the suggested servings on the cat food label as your guide for meal portions, but talking with your vet is best for determining how much food your cat needs. If your Munchkin becomes overweight, Simons suggests talking to your vet about a weight-loss diet.

Munchkin Personality and Temperament  

“Munchkin cats are considered highly sociable, playful, and intelligent,” Simons says. “They make ideal family pets and are all-around good natured.” These are energetic cats that tend to get along with all members of the family, both humans and other pets. They generally enjoy a snuggle session, but only if they’ve had the opportunity to get some energy out first. 

Munchkin Behavior  

These short cats tend to be confident and outgoing pets that have no qualms about exploring their environment and making new friends. They’re not overly vocal, and while they aren’t anxious, they do enjoy company. If you’re away from the house a lot, consider getting your kitty a furry friend.

Munchkin Training  

Munchkins are a smart, trainable breed. Munchkin kittens take to litter training quickly, especially when you reward them with cat toys and treats.

Fun Activities for Munchkin Cats  

Munchkin Cat Grooming Guide

Because Munchkins can have long or short coats, keep an eye on your Munchkin’s fur and brush her regularly to prevent mats or tangles. Fluffy Munchkins might need more frequent grooming than short-haired kitties, but in general, this breed has a low-maintenance coat.

Coat Care  

Simons recommends that all cats, Munchkins included, be brushed weekly. And because they have short legs and can experience limited mobility due to osteoarthritis or lordosis, these miniature cats can struggle to groom themselves as thoroughly as most kitties. Keep an eye out for any areas they seem to be missing or unable to reach.

While bathing isn’t necessary, Lott says the occasional bath can help cut down on shedding, if that’s a particular concern. However, Munchkins do not shed more than your typical cat.

Eye Care  

Munchkins don’t require special eye care, but contact your veterinarian if you notice signs of a potential eye problem, including discharge, swelling, or cloudy eyes.

Ear Care  

No special ear care is required for Munchkin cats, but if you notice buildup, redness, or odor, talk to your veterinarian.

Considerations for Pet Parents  

The appeal of a playful, fluffy Munchkin cat is undeniable. They’re adorable, friendly, and—as long as you don’t mind the occasional stolen earring or bauble—a joy to live with.

If you’re considering adding a Munchkin kitten to your home, talk to your breeder about the health of their cats. Be aware that, while most Munchkins have little to no trouble getting around like other felines, the mutation that causes their short legs can lead to other health issues.

Is a Munchkin a good house cat? 

Absolutely! The Munchkin is a wonderful house cat that readily befriends everyone sharing her home. Whether you have an active house filled with pets and children or live a quiet life alone, the Munchkin cat can be a tremendous companion. 

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