There is something truly adorable about a Munchkin cat. With its short legs, yet obviously soft and cuddly body, each one has that cute factor that makes you want to pick it up for a cuddle. If you can manage to stop one in mid-gallop, you will discover that Munchkins enjoy being held.
Munchkin cats were not originally bred to have short legs. According to Vetstreet, these adorable little cats are the result of “a spontaneous natural mutation.” As long ago as 1944, cats with short legs were reported in Britain.
Russian reports have been noted in 1956, and in 1970 in New England. Numerous other dates and sightings have been reported and documented. Then, Louisiana had sightings in 1980. The official mother of the breed was a stray named Blackberry.
She had kittens, and one male, named Toulouse was selected with Blackberry to be outcrossed with other domestic cats. By 1994, The International Cat Association had taken on the cause of Munchkin development.
Though Louisiana is considered the ancestral home of Munchkins, describes Munchkin history as being shadowed by debate. The reason is that short legged cats have been seen as early as 1930s England. Unfortunately, many English Munchkins were killed during World War II, as were many other animal breeds. There is no way to trace these historical Munchkins, but only to be aware that they existed before their American relatives became so hugely popular in Louisiana.
These cats are basically found in both short and long haired varieties and in a wide range of colors. The only difference that is marked is the very, very short legs Munchkins have in comparison to the breeds they resemble. For example, it is possible to have one in any coat color or pattern, including the pointed pattern.
What is interesting about the breeding process for this energetic cat is that the gene pool is small; only random bred domestic short and long haired cats are allowed into the breeding program. Members of pedigree brands are not.
When long legged offspring are born, these could be considered for cross breeding into the program, but only when their markings, personalities or colorings are deemed significantly important to improve and stabilize the bloodlines.
As fascinating as all the behind the scenes breeding efforts are, what is most endearing to learn is that these short legged cats are fun loving. They like to play, and though it may take them more tries than their long-legged friends, they like to jump onto things.
Their only problem in this regard is that they have height limits. Their flying altitudes are lower than other breeds. Sometimes they don’t succeed in reaching the heights of their aspirations, and sometimes they need a lift. But, their friendly nature makes them certain to try, and is a definite part of why their families love them so very much.
Judy Greenlees has a B.A. in Music History, an English Minor and an M.B.A. She is a professional writer and musician. Her short stories have been published on Amazon.com, Short Story Press, Barnes & Noble and other bookseller sites. She currently has a Romance Novel, Cherished to the Utmost, available on Amazon.com in the Sweet, Clean, Christian genre. In addition, she is the author of numerous articles about music published on the Internet.