Munchkin cats have a pronounced difference from their relatives – short paws. Due to this feature, animals are often compared with dachshunds. Dwarf cats are considered a fairly young cat breed, so it has not yet become widespread in Russia.
Unlike many breeds of the cat family, Munchkins were not bred by selective breeding. They are not much different from other breeds. A characteristic difference between animals is short paws. This variety of cats became known in Europe about 100 years ago. Short-legged pets with an unusual genome aroused great interest among people. Often one could find news about cats with short legs on the front pages of newspapers.
But interest in animals quickly faded, and the breed was not patented. The reason for this was World War II. During this period, there was a sharp decrease in the number of short-haired cats.
But animals with a similar mutation continued to be born, breeders could not ignore this phenomenon. Specialists began to cross dwarf cats with other breeds that had the usual length of limbs. The experiments had amazing results. After such crossing, most kittens were born with short legs.
Due to the peculiarities of breeding munchkins, they have a diverse appearance. Often you can see that animals are a dwarf counterpart of any particular breed of cat. Therefore, when crossing, it is enough that only one parent has this feature. With a high probability, offspring will be born with the same mutation.
Often the owners of these pets resort to a similar method of breeding animals.
As a result of the increase in the number of representatives of short-legged cats, the breed gained its recognition. Officially, the Munchkins were introduced to the general public in America. It happened in New York, the event dates back to 1991. The International Cat Association recognized short-toed felines a few years later, in 1995. These animals were brought to Russia only at the beginning of the 19th century, so they are still not popular enough on the domestic market.
These exotic animals often evoke positive emotions in people who see them for the first time. Their short paws give a lot of originality to the appearance of cats. This length of the limbs does not prevent animals from functioning normally. Today there are no specific breed standards, but the main criteria for the appearance of Munchkins have already been determined.
- The head of a short-legged cat is of medium size, its silhouette resembles a wedge. Despite the peculiarities of this breed, the head and body are proportional to each other.
- The nose of the animal is medium in size, has a slight deflection.
- The ears are set rather high and wide, rounded towards the tips. Their fur is fluffy.
- Large eyes are set wide at a certain angle to the ears. The color is usually saturated and uniform, it does not depend on the shade of the coat.
- The massive neck of the animal is of medium length.
- The Munchkin’s body is proportional, apart from the limbs. The front legs are slightly shorter than the hind legs. The skeleton of animals cannot be called lightweight, but it is not heavy either. The muscles of cats are well developed. The length of the tail is equal to the length of the body; in the process of movement, it always has a vertical arrangement.
- The paws of dwarf cats are considered their most important feature. They are shorter than other cats, but they are straight. Some representatives have a slight curvature. This mainly applies to the front limbs.
- The weight of males can reach 4 kilograms.
- The weight of females is usually 3 kilograms.
- There are no specific criteria for cat hair. Long-haired representatives are distinguished by the presence of a thick collar and a silky coat. Due to the high level of density, the cat’s coat can protect it from various damages. The short-haired Munchkin has a thick and shiny coat.
- The color of dwarf cats can be varied: red, black, white.
The color palette has no limits.
Like many pets, Munchkins have individual characteristics in character. It is worth noting that these cats are not suitable for keeping on the street, since short limbs do not allow them to hunt. Otherwise, the kittens are not inferior to their relatives. They delight their owners from the very first minutes of being in the house. All things that are on small hills will not be touched by the pet. Therefore, the owners do not need to worry about the integrity of interior items.
However, this feature does not prevent the animal from being energetic. Pets run very well, but they do not know how to jump high. Often kittens are called kangaroos because of their characteristic posture. Animals can sit on their hind legs, while the tail serves as a support. The forelimbs are not involved in this process in any way and simply hang down.
Small items are best kept away from Munchkins. Pets love to drag them away and hide them from the eyes of the household.
These cats are considered very friendly, they quickly get used to people and are not afraid of guests in the house. A dwarf cat will become the best friend for its owner. For all their activity, pets are considered quite calm and unflappable. They have a strong psyche and are not prone to stress. Mobility is moderate compared to many long-legged members of the species. Munchkins are very kind animals, they love to play with children and do not show aggression towards them. The intelligence of cats is very well developed, these pets will have time everywhere, they definitely need to learn everything.
Usually these cats are brought up by people who like exotic and original animals in their appearance and character. These pets can easily dispel boredom in your home.
The life expectancy of Munchkins largely depends on proper care for them. On average, they live from 12 to 16 years. This figure is much lower than that of other representatives of the species. But with proper maintenance of the pet, it becomes possible to extend its life up to 20 years.
In order to recognize diseases in time and be aware of genetic abnormalities, if any, Munchkin should make an appointment with a veterinarian. Such trips should be arranged twice a year.
If necessary, it is advisable to undergo a thorough examination on the recommendation of a specialist.
The key to good animal health is a proper diet and an active lifestyle. To do this, it is desirable to provide the pet with the necessary number of toys. Then he will have where to spend his energy. Walking in the fresh air can also prolong the life of your pet. Although munchkins are homebodies, they are not averse to spending some time with their owner in the fresh air. The apartment should also create a pleasant microclimate. To do this, it is necessary to regularly carry out wet cleaning and ventilate the rooms.
If you follow the proposed rules, you can significantly extend the life of your pet.
At the first stages of breeding short-legged felines, they were crossed with various breeds. Therefore, the appearance of animals is quite diverse.
According to the deviation from the standard, a separate species is distinguished – the lop-eared munchkin. It differs in the structure of the ears. The appearance of such a munchkin is very similar to the Scottish cat breed. This is due to a deviation at the genetic level, which is associated with the structure of the ears and skeleton. As a separate species, such cats cannot exist, since due to such a mutation, the offspring of lop-eared cats may experience health problems.
According to the length of the coat, such species are distinguished.
- Long haired Munchkin. These fluffy representatives of dwarf cats have a semi-long dense coat. Its texture is silky. These Munchkins have a small undercoat. The collar zone stands out noticeably. The color of the coat can be varied: from snow-white to black.
- Shorthair Munchkin. The coat length of these cats is medium. The coat has a plush texture. The animal has a small undercoat. Color can also be different.
Munchkins are also distinguished by the size of their paws:
Despite the original structure of a dwarf cat, its appearance is practically no different from other breeds of this species. Munchkins became the ancestors of new breeds, they are often called gnomes. By crossing a short-legged cat and a Canadian Sphynx, breeders got a variety called Bambino.
Another popular daughter breed is the gnetta. She appeared after crossing a Munchkin with a Bengal cat.
Conditions of detention
Before you get a dwarf cat, you need to choose a place for your pet to sleep. It can be an ordinary couch or a house for a cat. In addition, you should buy all the necessary items for the care of the animal. The content of the munchkins does not present huge difficulties, it is enough to adhere to the basic rules.
- Bathing. Like many breeds of cats, dwarf pets have a negative attitude towards water procedures. Therefore, you do not need to bathe them often and without good reason. A bath day is held no more than 6 times a year. To avoid getting water in your ears, you should insert cotton swabs into them. For wool, you need to purchase a special shampoo. Apply it in the direction of hair growth. Do not wash your hair with shampoo. It is best to just dampen it with a little water. Rubbing a pet with a towel is not recommended. You need to get it wet.
If desired, you can dry the hair with a hair dryer at low power. The cover should be left slightly dry, so the hair remains strong and does not lose its natural shine.
- Hair care. You should brush your pet at least once a week. For this purpose, a comb with closely spaced teeth is suitable. Hair can be collected from the surface using silicone gloves. To keep the coat shiny, it is necessary to wipe it with a suede or silk cloth. If the pet has long hair, then the procedure should be repeated more often – once every two days. First you need to untangle the wool with a comb, after which the unnecessary undercoat is removed. It is necessary to lay the coat with a massage brush.
- Treatment of eyes and ears. Short-legged cats rarely suffer from problems associated with these particular organs. If discharge appears in the corners of the eyes, then they should be treated immediately. To do this, just use a damp gauze-based swab. The ears should be carefully monitored and cleaned once a week. They are cleaned from various contaminants with a cotton pad, pre-treated with a cosmetic product.
- Paw care. Pet nails are quite sharp, so to avoid injury, you need to trim them. It is recommended to purchase a scratching post for a cat. It will help grind down the upper stratum corneum of the nails. Nail trimming should be done at least once a month. It is desirable to process all irregularities with a nail file.
- Oral hygiene. Dwarf cats have very strong gums, they rarely have inflammation. Brush your pet’s teeth twice a week. To do this, you need to buy toothpaste and a brush for the cat.
- Toilet. Owners rarely have problems potty training their pets. It is enough to show the Munchkins their new toilet once, after which they will only defecate there. It is not necessary to follow certain requirements when choosing a toilet, the main thing is that it fits the cat in size.
- Walking. These pets are pets, so they do not need frequent walking. Cats should not be allowed outside unsupervised. It is better to walk them using a harness.
The number of meals and the volume of servings directly depends on the age of the munchkins. Newborn kittens need to be fed at least 5 times a day. From 4 months, the number of meals should be reduced to 3 times a day. Their diet should consist of meat, cereals and low-fat dairy products. At the age of one, a pet should usually eat 2 times a day. In the diet of an adult cat, you can add boned fish and vegetables. Often, pet owners resort to using foods that contain all the necessary nutrients. It is preferable to buy premium food.
Foods to include in a munchkin’s daily diet:
- natural dairy products;
- lean meat;
- fish (herring, trout, salmon);
- vegetables (except potatoes);
- egg yolk;
- offal (preferably liver).
Before serving food to a pet, it is recommended to boil vegetables, meat and fish and add any of these products to the porridge. Munchkins have a hard time digesting plant foods.
You should be aware that food from the human table is not suitable for these pets. We bring to your attention a list of undesirable foods in the diet of munchkins:
- canned foods;
- bakery products;
- salty and fatty foods;
The daily rate can be calculated by the weight of the animal.
For small kittens, the norm is set as 5% of the total body weight, for adults – 10%.
Cats with short legs do not have predispositions to serious diseases. Even genetic diseases are not terrible for Munchkins. They have very strong immunity and, with proper care, practically do not get sick.
The characteristic and only genetic disease of short-legged cats is presented in the form of lordosis of the vertebral part of the skeleton. With such a defect, pets may suffer from a sprain in the thoracic region. This pathology can also provoke additional diseases. Usually they concern the internal organs. The most vulnerable are the heart and lungs.
Animals with various genetic abnormalities are at risk. Lordosis can also affect an obese cat. For this reason, you need to carefully monitor the diet of the animal. It is strictly forbidden to overfeed him and deviate from the recommendations related to food.
It is interesting to know that Munchkin cats must be much larger than cats. Their muscles are usually developed much better than those of the opposite sex. Shortcomings of the breed can be expressed in cats with too large and round eyes. A very large head is also a defect of the short-legged cat variety. The protruding chest is also not an advantage of the breed. Munchkins must have short noses.
A snub nose is already considered a deviation, the same can be said about a nose that is too long. Another deviation from the breed standard is a stocky body. A cat with curly hair will never be able to get a title.
On domestic sites you can find some reviews about pets of the Munchkin breed. This is because these animals were brought to Russia only 18 years ago and have not yet become widespread. The owners of such cats emphasize that it is best to purchase a short-haired Munchkin. This is because taking care of them is not difficult. With long hair, you still have to tinker a bit and spend a lot of time combing and unraveling it, as well as bathing the animal.
Many pet owners buy a scratching post for their pets so that they can spend less time caring for them. But still, it happens that their nail plate grows too quickly.
In this case, it is recommended to trim your nails twice a month.
As mentioned earlier, you need to carefully monitor the diet of the animal. In choosing products, the owners came to a common opinion and usually buy dry food or natural products of the first freshness for their pets.
It is necessary to carefully monitor the volume of servings of animals and give adult cats food no more than 2 times a day. Some owners have encountered obesity in their pets, which was provoked by a violation of the diet. Munchkins have very good health and slight deviations from the norm are not dangerous for them, which cannot be said about obesity. It can cause lordosis, which, in turn, can adversely affect the heart muscle.
Basically, on the Internet you can find a few, but positive reviews about the breed of short-legged cats. In care, they are quite picky, you just need to follow the basic recommendations for their content.
For more information about Munchkin cats, see the following video.