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Munchkin Cat Breed: Temperaments, Pictures & Traits

Height: 6–9 inches
Weight: 6–9 pounds
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Colors: Wide variety
Suitable for: Families with children and other pets
Temperament: Friendly, affectionate, adaptable

The Munchkin cat is a newer breed that is instantly recognizable by its very short legs, caused by a unique genetic mutation. This is considered to be the original breed of dwarf cat.

The International Cat Associated recognized the breed in 1995. However, many critics were concerned about this decision, quoting possible health problems and mobility issues from extremely short legs. For this reason, many cat associations have refused to recognize the Munchkin cat.

While this is a very adorable and unique breed, there are many things you need to be aware of before deciding to bring one into your home.cat face divider 2

Munchkin Kittens – Before You Welcome One Into Your Family…

Energy
Trainability
Health
Lifespan
Sociability

While all Munchkin cats have short legs, they tend to vary a lot beyond this. Some have short hair, while others have long hair. Some are relatively energetic, while others are much more interested in lying around the house all day. In reality, many of their traits can vary from cat to cat.

Most of them are pretty outgoing and friendly, though. They are playful and quite curious. Many of them are people-oriented, so they tend to be rather friendly with strangers. They can be taught to perform commands and are people-pleasers in general.

Despite their small legs, many Munchkins are relatively energetic. They aren’t as excitable as some other cat breeds, but they do enjoy playtime. Because of their short legs, this is likely one of the most unhealthy breeds out there. You have to be very careful with their backs.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Munchkin Cat

1. Munchkin cats are quite fast

Despite their small legs, these cats are relatively fast and energetic. They are not entirely docile.

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2. Breeding Munchkin cats is controversial

These cats are quite controversial. Their small legs cause some health problems, especially with their backs. Some people argue that they should not be bred because of these health problems, while others argue that they are not any unhealthier than some other breeds.

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3. They come with different leg lengths

These cats can have legs of varying lengths. Some are not short, while others are extremely short.

Munchkin cat
Image Credit: chatchai77, Shutterstock

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Munchkin Cat Temperament & Intelligence

These cats are quite intelligent. They are also people-pleasers, so they are straightforward to train. They can be taught to do tricks like dogs and generally listen to any commands you give them. Munchkins are not as stubborn as some other cat breeds.

These cats are amiable in most cases and they love their people and strangers equally. They do require quite a bit of attention, or they can become excessively needy.

Munchkins also love playtime and are very curious. Like many cats, they will get into things and knock things over, so you will need to cat-proof your house when you adopt them. They stay playful into adulthood, so they are great for owners looking for a “forever” kitten.

Surprisingly, these cats love to play fetch. They learn it relatively quickly, and it is a great way to meet their exercise needs. Despite their short legs, they can leap and run effectively. Don’t assume they can’t reach a high area because of their shorter legs.

Are Munchkin Cats Good for Families? 👪

Yes. These are a perfect breed for most families. They are friendly with just about anyone and don’t scare easily, making them a good option for smaller children. They love playtime and can keep up with active children around the house.

These cats are also excellent with lots of visitors. If your children have friends over a lot, this is the perfect cat for your home.

Do Munchkin Cats Get Along With Other Pets?

Yes. These cats are wonderful with dogs, cats, and most other pets. They still have a significant prey drive, though. You should not leave them alone with rodents, ferrets, or rabbits as they may decide they are food or may attempt to “play” with them.

Otherwise, these cats are friendly and get along with other pets just fine.

Munchkin cat
Image Credit: This road is mine, Shutterstock

3 cat dividerThings to Know When Owning a Munchkin Cat:

Food & Diet Requirements

Munchkin cats are basically like any other cats when it comes to their dietary needs. They require a decent amount of protein and fat, while they only need a few carbohydrates. Any high-quality cat food should be suitable for them. There are no breed-wide special dietary needs or anything of that sort.

A balance of nutrients is essential for these cats, though. They are prone to some health problems. Giving them suitable nutrition and high-quality food can help prevent some of these problems. We recommend purchasing as good of a cat food as you can find for these felines.

Also, you should do your proper research on the food before purchasing it. While many foods are advertised as the “best,” this is not often the case.

Exercise 🐈

Despite their short legs, these cats do need significant amounts of exercise. Often, they will meet their exercise needs themselves when allowed to do so. They love toys, so you will need to keep a ready supply of them around your house.

These cats do love playtime, so they prefer to run around with a human. They are great for larger families for this reason, as they will never be missing a person to play with.

Training 🧶

These cats are very easy to train from a young age. They love their people and are intelligent enough to understand commands. They learn many things quickly and can even enjoy a game of fetch. They love puzzle games and similar playtime opportunities to stretch their minds.

These cats are very easy to litterbox train because of their intelligence and usually do it independently.

white fluffy munchkin cat
Image Credit: Dasha Parfenova, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

These cats don’t have the excess flexibility that other cats have, so they may have problems grooming themselves. This varies from cat to cat and depends on their coat length. Some Munchkins with long-coats will need to be brushed regularly to keep their coats free from tangles and other problems.

Because these cats can’t always keep themselves clean, you may need to bathe them on a semi-regular basis. We recommend keeping an eye out for debris and oily fur in places your cat may not be able to reach. If they become dirty, bath them.

They also make fur-wipes, which may be easier to use. These are sometimes advertised as being for kittens, but they are equally suitable for adults.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Munchkin cats are not as healthy as many other breeds because of their short legs. They may have back problems because of the lack of support their legs provide—similar to dachshunds. However, studies have looked at the possibility of back problems in this breed and found none. It may be that back problems are relatively rare or that more studies need to be done.

The health implications of their shorter legs aren’t always obvious. This breed is still relatively young, so there have not been many studies involving these short cats. The genetic mutation that gives these cats their short legs can also cause other problems, such as thick joints, undersized jaws, curved spines, and bow-legged posture. These can cause significant problems for these felines.

Minor Conditions
  • Osteoarthritis
Serious Conditions
  • Hypochondroplasia
  • lordosis
  • pectus excavatum

cat + line dividerMale vs Female

Male Munchkins typically weigh between 6 and 9 pounds; females typically weigh between 4 and 8 pounds.

Male and female cats that are not neutered or spayed will display behavioral differences. Male cats tend to be aggressive and territorial, frequently spraying urine. On the other hand, female cats usually become more clingy and needy. Although most “unfixed” cats will exhibit certain behaviors, there’s no science to back up any claims of difference between the genders.

cat paw dividerFinal Thoughts: Munchkin Cat

These tiny cats are perfect for families. They are perfect for larger families with lots of children, as they love to play and get all the attention. Despite their smaller legs, they can run and jump exceptionally well.

While these cats are a bit healthier than you may think, they can have some health problems because of their smaller legs. This can cause things like arthritis and some conditions mainly related to their dwarfism.

However, these cats can be great companions if you’re looking for an active cat that remains rather kitten-like into adulthood.

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Featured Image Credit: Phannasit, Shutterstock

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