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10 Munchkin Cat Facts: Origin, Appearance & More

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on May 8, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

bicolor munchkin cat

10 Munchkin Cat Facts: Origin, Appearance & More

If you are a first-time owner or someone that is just becoming familiar with the Munchkin cat (sometimes incorrectly referred to as “Midget Cats”), you may be curious about this much-loved breed. We already know that they are adorable short-legged cats, but are they playful? What about their origin and habits?

If you want to know more about this sweet feline, here are 10 incredible facts you may find interesting about Munchkin cats.

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The 10 Munchkin Cat Facts

1. Munchkin Cats Have Been Around for a Long Time

The adorable Munchkin cat is not a new breed. Dating back to the 1930s, there is documentation by European veterinarians of cats with the same characteristics of a typical house cat but with shorter legs. Short-legged domestic cats seemed to become non-existent during World War II, but they did resurface, however. The uniqueness of the short legs was identified as a gene mutation affecting the bones in the cat legs.

Once the gene was identified, there was quite a bit of controversy over the breed. Eventually, it was recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA). In 2003, the breed acquired Champion status.

Munchkin Bengal Cat Mix
Image Credit: Sviatoslav_Shevchenko, Shutterstock

2. They Have Small Legs but Big Personalities

Like Corgis and Dachshunds, Munchkin cats have short, stubby legs. The cats are medium in size, with a trait that separates them from the rest, their cute stubby legs.

What they lack in leg size, they gain in personality. The felines have strong hunting instincts and like to hide treats and toys so they can hunt for them later. When they are not hiding treats and hunting, they can be found playing with other household pets, cuddling with their human, or taking a late morning nap.

3. Munchkin Cats Are Fast and Furious

Being short-legged cats doesn’t mean that they are slow: the size of the legs does not affect the speed and agility of the Munchkin cat. They are exceptionally high energy, so they possess extraordinary speed. They hover close to the ground, so they have ample traction when they are running around. The breed’s speed and ability to run around corners likens them to a race car, and the Munchkin cat can “round a corner like it is on rails.”

white fluffy munchkin cat
Image Credit: Dasha Parfenov, Shutterstock

4. They’re Not Good at Long Jumping

Although Munchkin cats can find a way to end up on your kitchen table or counters, their jump is not like a typical housecat. The extent of their jumping capabilities is limited. For instance, they may not be able to jump onto the tippy top of your kitchen cabinets or onto your bookshelves. However, if they want a drink of running tap water, they find a way to make it happen!

5. They Are Hoarders

Sometimes likened to that of a magpie, Munchkin cats like to hoard things that are shiny. They are known to steal, hide, and hoard shiny objects. If you have or plan to get a Munchkin kitty, hide your gold and silver. Munchkin cats are confident, have good taste, and like expensive things.

munchkin cat playing
Image Credit: MDavidova, Shutterstock

6. Munchkins Perch on Their Hind Legs

In the 1950s in Russia, Munchkin cats were referred to as “Stalingrad kangaroo cats” because of the way they perched on their back legs. Like bunnies, meerkats, and ferrets, Munchkins like to sit on their back legs. It gives them the ability to see whatever it is that has sparked their interest. Munchkins can perch up this way because their hind legs are longer than the front legs.

7. Their Curiosity Is Over the Top

One thing we know for sure is that cats inherited powerful survival instincts from their ancestors. The inherited trait makes them curious creatures. Munchkin cats are curious on another level, however. Their highly curious nature will have them exploring every nook and cranny in your home. When they set their sights on something, they need to investigate. It can be people, pets, or a box in the corner of the room. (hopefully not your jewelry box). Although their curiosity can be annoying at times, they are expressing their natural instincts to hunt and escape predators.

Munchkin Bengal Cat Mix
Image Credit: Sviatoslav_Shevchenko

8. Munchkins Have Different-Sized Legs

Munchkins are easily identified by their short legs, but not all Munchkin legs are created equal. Munchkin cats can have different leg lengths. They are the “rug-hugger,” which is the shortest and, to some, the cutest, the super-short, and the standard, which is the length of a normal leg.

They have been referred to by some as “midget cats” or “sausage cats” because of their small size.

9. They Are Award-Winning Cats

In 2013, a 9-year-old female Munchkin kitty named “Lilieput” won an award for the Shortest Cat in the World. Measuring 13.34 centimeters (5.25 inches), no other cat has broken the record to date. Lilieput was an adorable stray tortoiseshell Munchkin that was 2 years old when her owner adopted her.

This little cat wonder was also famous for escaping injury and death from an earthquake and living through a near-fatal pregnancy.

white munchkin cat outdoor
Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

10. Two Munchkin Cats Cannot be Mated

Due to the complicated genetics of Munchkin cats, two Munchkins should not be mated. If two Munchkins are mated, the chances of the offspring dying is significantly high. For a Munchkin cat to produce healthy kittens, they should only be bred with cat breeds that have normal genetics and leg size.

The short legs of the Munchkin cat are the result of an autosomal dominant gene, also known as the “lethal gene.” In most instances, mating two cats with this dominant gene will end up with a litter that cannot survive. This also means that even with only one of the parents having the gene, there is a decent chance of producing a Munchkin kitten.

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Just reading about this little creature is enough to make you want to add one to your family. The adorable short-legged breed is fast, playful, and loveable. Although the feline’s hoarding tendencies may have you searching for earrings from time to time, their curious personality will bring joy and happiness to your home for years to come.

Featured Image Credit: MDavidova, Shutterstock

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