Munchkin cats are unique breeds known for their dwarfism. The energetic, fun-loving breed is relatively new and has controversies around it, especially regarding its breeding. Despite having short legs, this breed is well-known for its speed.
With many issues around this breed’s health and genetic mutation, there’s always concern about how long the Munchkin cat lives. With proper care and good health, this breed has an average lifespan of 12-15 years.
Origins of the Munchkin
Munchkin cats are a short-legged breed that got discovered in Louisiana in 1983. These limbs are due to a genetic disorder known as pseudoachondroplasia, a short-limb form of dwarfism. The breed sprung up as a result of spontaneous natural genetic mutation.
Similar short-legged cat breeds got sighted in the 1930s in Great Britain, Russia, and New England. The modern-day Munchkin cat descended from a pregnant stray cat known as Blackberry. It was part of the two kittens rescued by a music teacher named Sandra Hockenedel in Rayville, Louisiana, in the early 1980s.
After the birth of the kittens, she gave out one of the short-legged kittens, Toulouse, to her friend Kay LaFrance. Blackberry and Toulouse became the founders of this breed. From this initial breeding, Sandra and LaFrance established a breeding program for Munchkin cats with other breeders.
The International Cat Association (TICA) Recognition and Controversy
This cat breed is surrounded by controversies and is still not accepted by some cat associations. These debates arise from concerns about whether it’s ethical to continue breeding while having a physical deformity, affecting their mobility and lifespan. Munchkin cat appearance is a result of the genetic mutation that happens naturally.
The Munchkin got introduced to the general public via a live cat show held by (TICA) Madison Square Garden, New York City, in 1991. By 1994, it was proposed as an official breed and got accepted into TICA’s New Breed development program.
This introduction sparked some uproar due to the cat’s physical shape. However, it was not until 2003 that this breed achieved TICA Championship status and recognition.
Due to health and welfare concerns, many people today still argue that breeding the Munchkin is unethical. However, on the other hand, experts say that this breed is fine, health-wise. This controversy has contributed to the lack of recognition by the world’s largest cat organizations, the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) and the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA).
The Munchkin’s most distinguishing feature is its legs. The limbs appear bow-legged and are typically half as long as a regular cat’s limbs. This cat breed has typical cat features apart from the legs, though it might look like a kitten its entire lifespan.
The medium-sized cat is firmly muscled with a well-rounded chest. It comes with a flat back with a slight rise from the shoulders to the rump. The medium-sized head has rounded contours with medium ears that are broad at the base.
This breed comes in a variety of patterns, colors, and fur lengths. The coat can either have long or short hair.
Munchkin Cat Facts
When taken care of well, munchkins can live up to 12-15 years on average. Despite this, they are highly prone to health problems due to their short legs, which could result in a shortened lifespan.
What Factors Can Shorten Your Munchkin Cat’s Lifespan
With a lot of controversy revolving around the health of this breed, there are concerns about how that affects the average lifespan.
As a relatively new breed, there is limited data to come up with solid conclusions. However, some known factors could affect how long your Munchkin cat lives.
You might also be interested in: Maine Coon Munchkin
How Can You Increase the Munchkin Cat Lifespan?
Your Munchkin cat can leave a happy and long life if well-taken care of. Here are some things you could do.
1. Schedule Exercise Sessions
Even though these cats are small, they need to move and exercise. Like other cat breeds, they need mental and physical activities to keep them occupied.
This will contribute to their well-being and overall health. Luckily, they are playful in nature and run around the house or yard since they have incredible speed.
You can additionally add a play corner in the house. They are curious and intelligent; therefore, you can add interactive puzzle games to keep your cat entertained.
2. Plan a Healthy Diet
We’ve established poor nutrition could reduce the average lifespan of your Munchkin cat. Therefore, you need to have a good nutrition guide for your pet to help with growth. You can even consult your vet for proper advice.
3. Frequent Health Check-Ups
Due to the disposition to a lot of medical issues, you can schedule regular check-ups with the vet. Frequent check-ups and vaccines will help prevent any medical problems early enough.
In addition, you should keep a close eye on your cat to spot any changes in the body that can affect their health. Visit the vet immediately if you spot any differences.
4. Neuter or Spay Your Cat
For any cat breed, the spayed or neutered cats tend to live longer. Improve the living chances of your pet by spaying them.
5. Keep Your Cat Indoors
Although this might be a challenge, indoor cats tend to live longer than cats that spend most of their time outdoors. Consider keeping your Munchkin indoors to keep it safer and less exposed, and they might live longer.
6. Proper Home Care
Munchkins need care just like any other cat breed. To improve its overall well-being, ensure your cat is well taken care of and groomed. You can brush the coat once a week for shorthaired cats and or daily for longhairs to prevent matting.
Pay attention to their dental care to prevent gum disease. Clean their teeth a few times in the week to keep them healthy.
Even when staying indoors, your cat could still catch fleas and parasites; therefore, you need to prevent and treat that frequently.
If you are not in the house for extended periods, consider having two Munchkin cats for companionship.
Related Read: How Much Does a Munchkin Cat Cost? (2021 Price Guide)
Munchkin cat breeds are known for their unique appearance. Despite the controversies around this breed, they make great pets if well taken care of. By keeping this breed healthy, well-exercised, and with good nutrition, you can enjoy living with them for about 12-15 years.
Due to their genetic mutation and increased health risk, you’ll need to keep a close eye on any body changes and schedule regular check-ups with the vet to ensure they are healthy. As long as the overall well-being and health of your Munchkin cat is a priority, your feline friend will enjoy a long life.
Featured Image Credit: SV_zt, Shutterstock
- Origins of the Munchkin
- The International Cat Association (TICA) Recognition and Controversy
- Physical Traits
- Munchkin Cat Facts
- Health Conditions
- What Factors Can Shorten Your Munchkin Cat’s Lifespan
- How Can You Increase the Munchkin Cat Lifespan?