The term “munchkin” is most closely associated with the little people from the land of Oz. There’s a new and cuter munchkin in town these days: the Munchkin cat. The Munchkin is a comparatively new breed of cat that was first officially recognized in 1995.
The modern lineage of the entire breed can purportedly be traced back to a short-legged cat whose owner irresponsibly allowed him to run the neighborhoods unneutered. The area soon saw an influx of kittens with short legs. From there, the new breed of Munchkin was born.
There is some controversy surrounding the ethicality of breeding Munchkins. Many cat experts feel that the uncommonly short appendages are actually a genetic disorder that will lead to spine and other health problems. They take the position that intentionally breeding an animal to suffer from a genetic disease is inhumane and some of the world’s top feline associations refuse to recognize the Munchkin as a legitimate breed.
The evidence does not really bear out that position, however. Munchkins have not been shown to have any particular difficulties related to the shortness of their legs. They are playful and don’t seem to have any trouble running and jumping. Even in old age, the breed does not show a statistically abnormal level of spinal issues.
So while I agree in theory that breeding an animal to have an innate detrimental condition is a vile thing indeed, I am not convinced that the Munchkin falls into that category. From my personal experience and research into the matter, it seems that Munchkins are just as healthy as any other cat breed and their mutation is a natural one that simply comes about as a result of selective breeding.
Munchkins are friendly, curious, playful creatures. Their short legs give them a youthful appearance that lasts long after they outgrow the kitten stage. Because the Munchkin is the result of a dominant gene mixed with a parent that can come from any breed, Munchkins come in a wide variety of colors. Munchkins can be either short-haired or long, although the short-haired variety is far more common. There is not particularly distinctive “look” for a Munchkin in terms of fur color or pattern. They only thing that stands out is the adorable short legs.
Munchkins love two things above all else: people and boxes. They are very social animals that will jump right up on your lap and insist on a good petting. They will show their appreciation with a loud purr and the demand for even more petting. The best way to slip away once you’ve started to play with a Munchkin is to distract him with a box. Munchkins are a breed that generally love to play in boxes and will provide a good evenings entertainment with just a pair of boxes. Add a laser pointer to the mix and you’ve really got a show.