The Munchkin cat is a relatively new breed created by a random mutation that produced a cat with extremely short legs. Munchkins have short or long coats in a wide variety of colours. Somewhat surprisingly, because of their short stature munchkins are particularly adept at climbing and jumping. They are usually raised as indoor cats, although they are reported to be extremely active, agile and fast runners. Those who have spent time around barns have proven to be extremely good hunters. The mutation only affects the length of the legs.
The munchkin gene is an autosomal dominant one. Thus far to date, there have been no viable kittens that are homozygous for the munchkin gene (that is, kittens with two copies of the munchkin gene, one from each parent), possibly because of gene lethality. Kittens that are heterozygous for the munchkin gene (that is, a munchkin gene from one parent and a normal gene from the other) will be 'standard' munchkins.
The Munchkin cat is known for its easy manner and charm. They may be small in size, but they are definitely large in personality! This cat loves children as well as other cats and dogs as well. They are happy in a very sociable environment and are a cat that loves to be held and doted on. Though this cat does have shortened limbs and does not appear as other cats in general this does not hinder it in anyway from displaying normal cat behaviors, and if anything these behaviors are increased. If you are one of those people looking for a cat who will retain its kitten like qualities then this is the cat for you. They are extremely playful and although countertops may be a little bit out of their league their jumping and climbing abilities are that of any other cat and in fact they are able to corner sharper and scramble faster than most cats.
The breed was begun in 1983 when Sandra Hochenedel found an extremely short-legged black cat living under a trailer in Louisiana. The cat, Blackberry, was pregnant and half of her kittens were born short-legged. One of Blackberry's kittens, a tomcat named Tolouse, became the father of a breeding program and helped establish the breed in North America.
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