Everything You Need to Know About the Munchkin Cat

Posted by Katherine Ripley
Munchkin Cat

The Munchkin cat is small, but capable.

The Munchkin cat is characterized by its short legs and overall miniature appearance caused by a genetic mutation. But those short hind legs should not be underestimated. Just like for many wild animals, short legs are an adaptation that suits the Munchkin cat well for survival.

The Munchkin cat breed was not officially accepted to The International Cat Association (TICA) until 1994, but its history is much longer than that. Short-legged cats have been around at least since the early 20th century, naturally adapting to survive.

Much controversy erupted over the breed when it was recognized by The International Cat Association with critics voicing concern over potential health and mobility issues.


The story of how munchkin cats really rose to popularity and became an official breed all starts with a pregnant cat named Blackberry that was found under a truck in Louisiana by Sandra Hochenedel (a music teacher!) in 1983. Half of the cat's litter was born with short legs and Hochenedel then gave one of the kittens to her friend Kay LaFrance. The cat was named Toulouse and became the primary carrier of the munchkin gene and the beginning of a new breed.

Does the name Munchkin cat have anything to do with The Wizard of Oz? Yep! Kay LaFrance established a colony of Munchkins on her Louisiana plantation.

Munchkin cats, and especially munchkin kittens, are full of energy and have endless curiosity. They never stop playing and exploring. They are self-assured but also love to spend time with people, and make great family pets.

These domestic cats come in longhair and short hair and even with their stubby legs, they don't have health problems or spinal problems like their counterpart short-legged dog breeds, like Dachshunds.

Corgis also fall into this stubby legs dog category. So munchkin's short legs share this trait with many dog breeds! As a result of possible health issues, the Munchkin cat breed is not recognized by the Cat Fanciers' Association.

The munchkin breed does still require regular veterinary medicine checkups just like normal cats to check health issues in general.

Hover over the image for more information.

General Appearance

Munchkin cats come in all different colors, and they can be long-haired or short-haired. All Munchkins have short legs, a miniature look, and big, round, walnut-shaped eyes. They maintain a kitten-like appearance throughout their lives.


A full-grown Munchkin weighs between 5 and 9 pounds, making it a small to medium-sized cat. Although they are small, their bodies are stocky and surprisingly muscular.


A Munchkin's short legs are its key identifying characteristic. These short legs make them extremely fast, like race cars. Munchkins are great sprinters and pouncers. They cannot jump as high as other cat breeds, but they still love to climb.


Because a cat's spine is different from a dog's, Munchkin cats do not suffer from the spinal problems which often appear in short-legged dogs such as Corgis or Dachshunds.


Shorthaired Munchkins have a medium-plush coat, and longhaired Munchkins have a semi-long, silky coat. They do not need much grooming. The shorthaired cats should be brushed once a week, and the longhaired cats brushed twice a week.


Munchkins are active cats—constantly exploring every corner of their environment. They also love to socialized with adults and children, and unlike most cast, Munchkins actually like to be handled. They are patient and don't often use their claws. They love to be pet and cuddled.

Body image: Vet Street

Do you have a munchkin? Tell us or show us in the comments below!

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Everything You Need to Know About the Munchkin Cat