Munchkin Cat Health Problems

The Munchkin cat is a breed with short legs, similar to the Dachshund dog breed. The Dachshund dog breed is well known for spinal deformities and disorders, but the Munchkin cat has none of these problems. Munchkin cats are a remarkably hearty breed, with few breed specific health problems.

History of the Munchkin Cat Breed

Munchkin cats first appeared in the United Kingdom prior to the second World War, where they were known as kangaroo cats. During the war years, Munchkin cats became so rare that many thought the breed had vanished entirely. However, Munchkin cats reappeared in Russia in the 1950s, and again in the U.S. in 1982, when a woman named Sandra Hochenedel found a pregnant, stray Munchkin cat and adopted it.

When Sandra's cat had her kittens, Sandra couldn't help but notice that some of the kittens had very short legs, like their mother, while others had legs of normal length. She consulted feline geneticist Dr. Solveig Pflueger, who verified that the short legged kittens were, in fact, a bona fide, naturally occurring, new breed of cat.

Breeding Munchkin Cats

The gene that gives Munchkin cats their short legs is a homozygous lethal gene, which means that if a Munchkin cat embryo receives two of these genes (one from each parent), that embryo won't survive. If you breed two short legged Munchkin cats together, it's unlikely that any living kittens will be born.

However, if you breed two long legged Munchkin cats, or one long legged Munchkin cat and one short legged Munchkin cat, you'll likely get a few short legged Munchkin kittens in the litter. That's because these kittens have only one of the gene that causes short legs, so they're able to survive. However, you'll also find long legged Munchkin kittens in that same litter, and, of course, some of the embryos will not survive long enough to be born.

Characteristics and Personality of the Munchkin Breed

Munchkin cats look the same as any other cat, only with very short legs. The Munchkin's front legs are usually shorter than the back legs. Munchkin cats tend to sit upright on their back legs, like a meerkat. Munchkins may have short or long fur and they may have just about any color or coat pattern.

Munchkin cats are agreeable, friendly and sociable creatures. They're playful, affectionate and easy to train. They're just as capable of running, climbing and jumping as their long legged counterparts.

Munchkin Cat Health Problems

The Munchkin cat is a very healthy breed with few specific health problems. Munchkin kittens, however, are vulnerable to lordosis, a rare spinal condition in which the spinal muscles grow short, allowing the spine to sink down into the body. Lordosis may be mild or severe, and if it's bad enough, the kitten won't live past three months of age. Many breeders feel that lordosis is a genetic disorder, but it's not specific to the Munchkin cat; many other breeds of cat suffer from lordosis.

also see Ragdoll Cat Health Problems

also see Siamese Cat Health Problems