Is it possible to make a cat even more adorable? Just the thought of them playing and doing what kittens do best— i.e., mischief and goofiness —makes millions of people smile every single day. But what if you threw a Munchkin cat into the mix? Munchkin cats are a relatively new breed of cats with short legs (or other features) due to a genetic mutation. However, the cats aren’t just adorable random occurrences. They’re specifically bred to be smaller. In 1995, they were recognized by the International Cat Association.
Also known as Midget, Dwarf, or Sausage cats, these furry felines come in all shapes and sizes. They can have long hair, short hair, or even no hair at all! Munchkins are separated into three categories: standard, super short, and rug huggers. However, these miniature cats aren’t being maintained as a pure line. Munchkin cats are popular breeding partners for other felines and produce some of the cutest little balls of fur you’ve ever seen.
The 7 Cat Breeds with Very Short Legs
Here is a list of some of the most popular Munchkin-hybrids available:
1. Napoleon cat
Named after the infamous French leader Napoleon Bonaparte, the Napoleon cat was developed by crossbreeding the Munchkin cat with a long-haired Persian. At first glance, you’ll notice that they retain many of the Persian features, including a round face, round eyes, long hair, and a broad nose.
However, they keep the signature short legs of Munchkin cats. Despite their genetic deformity, they are relatively robust cats, with their biggest health concern being polycystic kidney disease—an issue passed down from their Persian side. These little felines make great family cats due to their playful and loving nature.
2. Skookum cat
Skookum cats are another Dwarf hybrid, but this time, they’re crossed with the Curly LaPerm cat. The Skookum varies quite a bit regarding their coat and color variations and can be either short or long-haired. However, there are a couple of traits they normally share.
Their tails are uniquely long and plumed at their rounded tip, and their front legs are short and more compact. Like Napoleons, Skookums are great family cats due to their affection, intelligence, and playful nature.
3. Lambkin cat
The cute furry Lambkin is still considered an experimental breed and not recognized by many major cat organizations. They’re produced from a Munchkin and a Selkirk Rex, and the little tyke has an explosive personality.
If you are considering getting a Lambkin, you’ll need to understand the challenges that come with them. They are incredibly prone to spine and chest deformation issues. However, choosing a reputable breeder can eliminate the development of future genetic problems.
4. Kinkalow cat
Out of all of the Munchkin hybrids, the Kinkalow is among the rarest. It’s a cross between an American Curl cat and a Dwarf Munchkin. The Kinkalow is a cute little rascal, too.
They have the short legs of a Munchkin cat, the up-turned curled ears of the American Curl, and a long straight tail. The breed is also known for being very playful and kind-hearted, making them excellent family cats.
5. Bambino cat
The Bambino truly is one of a kind. It’s a hairless, short-legged breed deriving from Sphynx and Munchkin cat lineage. However, it’s the Bambino’s personality that makes it special.
They love nothing more than running, jumping, and climbing! Even with their small stature and lack of fur, the cats are next to fearless and are highly affectionate with their families.
6. Dwelf cat
The Dwelf cat is a complex hybrid pulling from three breeds: Sphynx, American Curl, and Dwarf Munchkin. It’s another hairless breed like the Bambino, but it has curly ears lending its “elf-like” appearance and namesake.
Their look may startle you a bit since they resemble what you’d imagine a housecat from outer space to look like. But if you’re looking to adopt this extremely unique cat, be sure to find a quality breeder. The Dwelf is known to have skeletal issues, including lordosis and pectus excavatum.
7. Minskin cat
If you’re truly looking for a miniature cat, the Minskin cat may be precisely the breed for you. As another complex hybrid (Sphynx, Devon Rex, Burmese, and Munchkin), this little kitty can come with or without fur.
The best way to tell this breed apart from others is its diminutive size and the long tail that is often much longer than its body. And despite its size, this cat has very few health problems.
They will, however, need weekly grooming, particularly if they’re hairless. Hairless cats must be bathed weekly with mild and non-abrasive soap.
Munchkin cats and their hybrids are still relatively new to the breeding game. Although these cats result from intense breeding regimens, they’ve been known to have few health problems. However, it’s best to research reputable breedings before adopting a Munchkin and talking to your vet about their health risks. Munchkins are loving, playful, and downright adorable, which probably means that we’ll see a lot more of the short-legged hybrids running around soon.
Featured Image Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock