Munchkin cat

The Munchkin is a relatively new cat breed created by a naturally occurring genetic mutation that results in cats with abnormally short legs. However, the shortness of their legs does not seem to interfere with their running and leaping. They are capable of running and climbing as well as a normal sized cat. The gene responsible has been compared to the one that gives Welsh Corgis and Dachshunds their short stature. Fortunately for Munchkins, though, they don't suffer from the many spinal problems that are typically associated with those types of canine cat breeds and that is because cats' spines are physically different from those of a dog, therefore making the Munchkins more suited to the short legs. The spine of a Munchkin cat is usually indistinguishable from that of other cats.

The Munchkin is generally described as a sweet-natured, playful, people-oriented, outgoing and intelligent cat which responds well to being handled.

The Munchkin is a small to medium sized cat with a moderate "semi-foreign" body type. A male Munchkins typically weigh between 6 to 9 pounds (3-4 kg) and is usually larger than a female Munchkin, which typically weigh between 4 to 8 pounds. The short 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 hind legs can be slightly longer than the front.

There are three sizes: Standard, Super Short and rug-hugger.

The body of the Munchkin cat is medium sized with a level spine with a slight rise from the shoulder to the rump.

For TICA shows, they are separated by fur length into two groups: Munchkin and Munchkin Longhair. The short-haired variety has a medium-plush coat while the Long-haired has a semi-long silky coat. The Munchkin comes in all colors and patterns. This variety stems from the outcross program, which allows the use of any domestic cat that does not already belong to a recognized breed. Similarity to other breeds is grounds for disqualification.

For the most part Munchkins are a healthy and hardy cat that in general suffer from the same common health problems as other cats but lordosis and pectus excavatum have been documented conditions seen in a few Munchkin cats. These are rare medical conditions seen in other cat breeds too and are not specific to the Munchkin breed.

Dr. Solveig Pflueger, chairperson of TICA's genetics committee and advisor to the Board of Directors conducted studies on the Munchkin cats to determine the over all genetic health of the breed. Based on the research she discovered them to be "happy healthy cats" and that they should have a future as a Championship breed. In 1995 several Breeders had their oldest Munchkins X-rayed and examined for signs of joint or bone problems and no problems were found.

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