Curious about the different Munchkin cat breeds?
Want to learn about the different types including the Bengal one?
We’ve got you covered with this extensive guide!
Learn about the munchkin cat’s health, personality, lifespan & how to care for them.
RELATED: 10 Best Munchkin Cat Trees
Munchkin Cat Breed Facts
The first thing you’re going to notice about Munchkins is they have tiny legs and a massive head.
These shorter legs – far shorter than a normal cat’s – are caused by a genetic mutation.
These domestic cats are not accepted by the American Cat Fanciers Association due to their controversy.
This lack of official recognition as an official breed stems from the abnormal structure of the legs in this breed of cat, calling its overall genetic health into question.
Many breeders are of the opinion that breeding cats that have a genetic disease or condition as opposed to normal genes are unethical.
They are only recognized as pedigree cats by two cat associations.
Both TICA and The Southern Africa Cat Council both recognize it as a pedigree cat.
It’s important to note that this breed is not a Kangaroo Cat, also known as a Squitten.
Rather than a deformity that shortens their limbs, Kangaroo Cats have a physical deformity in which the radius bone in their front legs.
They’re the cat equivalent of a Corgi Just like Corgis, these cats are in high demand and rarely seen inside shelters.
It’s not surprising people don’t give these cats up. They’re amazingly cute and loveable.
Sometimes called the “sausage cat” or “dwarf cat”, this breed is relatively new.
In 1982, a music teacher (Sandra Hochenedel ) found a stray normal-sized cat named Blackberry. Hochenedel’s cat was pregnant with the first kitten of the breed.
As you would guess, these cats gained their name from their short little legs.
Their hind legs are longer than the front. They have the habit of sitting on their hind legs.
Munchkin Cat Health & Personality Traits
What is the Munchkin cat’s lifespan?
Do munchkin cats have lots of health issues?
What is their personality like?
Read on to find out!
Munchkin Cat Lifespan
A Munchkin cat has a lifespan ranging from 12 to 14 years. Right in the middle of the figure, 10 to 15 years, provided by PetMD estimating the average lifespan for a regular indoor cat.
This unusual cat is a medium-sized cat.
These cats roughly weigh between 4 and 9 pounds depending on the gender. All that weight must be coming from their big heads. It’s a miracle these little cats can stand upright.
This controversial breed is a fun, loving one. They love to run, jump and cause havoc inside their owners’ homes.
They’re the kind of cat that loves shiny objects and causing good-natured trouble. You’d think their short legs would stop them, however, it doesn’t.
These cats are always in motion and trying to get your attention.
It probably isn’t a good idea to leave them alone for extended periods. You might come home to a war zone.
On the plus side, Munchkins – unlike many other adult cats – love being handled and held.
A benefit you don’t often see in other cats.
Munchkin Cat Personality
Munchkin cats are a fun, loving bunch of animals. They love to run, jump and cause havoc inside their owners’ homes. You’d think their short legs would stop them, however, it doesn’t.
These cats are always in motion and trying to get your attention. It probably isn’t a good idea to leave them alone for extended periods. You might come home to a war zone.
On the plus side, most munchkin cats love being handled and held.
A benefit you don’t often see in other cats.
Munchkin Cat Care & Maintenance
In comparison to other cats, the munchkin cat breed is relatively low-maintenance.
All you need to do is brush their coat: daily for the long-haired version, once a week for the short-haired version.
Aside from their genetic leg mutation, these cats are generally extremely healthy.
However, there are certain conditions to be aware of when owning one of these adorable cats.
- Due to their body shape, all the Munchkin cats and crossbreeds are prone to genetic issues related to their pseudo-achondroplasia (short-limb dwarfism with normal size head): lordosis (exaggerated inward curvature of the spine) and pectus excavatum (a deformity that causes a funnel chest or sunken chest).
- Munchkin cat owners have to look out for common feline infectious diseases such as heart worms or rabies. It’s important to keep them updated on their vaccinations.
Do you want to know more about these cats?
Check out these munchkin cat breeds and tell me you wouldn’t love one roaming around your house!
Related: All About Munchkin Cat Scottish Fold
11 Cats With short Legs: Munchkin Cats & Other Breeds
If you’re looking to adopt a munchkin cat, consider these 8 “official” mixes!
Remember, though, all of these combinations may be prone to the genetic issues mentioned above.
The Bambino cat is a crossbreed between a Munchkin cat and a Sphynx cat.
Their cute short legs, a result of pseudoachondroplasia, come from their Munchkin side, and the hairlessness comes from the Sphynx side.
In 2005, Pat and Stephanie Osborne from Holy Moly Cattery established the breed.
Bambino cats tend to live for about 12-14 years. In comparison to other munchkin breeds, their lifespan seems to lie right at the average.
The Bambino is small in size, weighing an average of 4 to 9 pounds.
Bambino cats are usually friendly, lively, intelligent, and affectionate. They’re the perfect pets for a person looking for a cuddly cat!
However, these cats have no problem announcing themselves when entering a room. If you’re not paying attention to them, they will remind you. A meowing cat is a real pain in the early morning or after a night out.
Even with being hairless, Bambino cats required a lot of maintenance compared to a regular cats. They need regular baths to keep their skin soft and healthy.
On the cold winter nights, you must keep these cats warm. They don’t have an insulated coat and are sensitive to cold. It gives you a reason to buy them a cute little sweater!
Also, you’ll need to protect them from environmental factors due to their short legs and lack of hair.
Bambino cats have few health concerns, but they are prone to a genetic heart condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) which comes from their Sphynx side.
Read more about the Bambino Cat Breed in our complete guide.
The Dwelf cat is a crossbreed between a Munchkin and a Sphynx and an American Curl cat.
Finding one of these adorable little cats is very hard. They’re extremely rare and expensive for prospective owners.
They feature the classic short-legged trait of all 8 of these feline breeds, the hairlessness of the Sphynx, and the curled ears of the American Curl.
The is a somewhat new breed that originated in the United States.
The Dwelf cat has a lifespan of about 8 to12 years. Their lifespan falls on the low-end of the munchkin cat breed.
However, this is a rough estimate due to the Dwelf cat being such a new breed.
The Dwelf is small in size, weighing an average of 4-7 pounds.
The Dwelf is very mischievous. These cats love to climb, jump, and run around your home. They’ll turn your house into their little playground.
Dwelf cats are known to love their humans more than anything. Some of them even like being picked up: an almost unheard-of quality in a cat.
Everything about this cat and its energy level is about having fun and being a delight inside your home. However, don’t think their short legs will hold them back. It will not, and your drapes will pay the price.
These beautiful cats need to stay inside. Dwelf cats are prone to sunburn due to their hairlessness. Just like with humans, having sunburn is a painful experience for these cats.
As with the Bambino cat, Dwelf cats need regular bathing to keep their skin healthy and clean. You’ll also need to keep them warm on cold winter nights.
As a newer breed, the Dwelf cat has little to no information about the health problems they’re prone to getting.
However, Dwelf cats could have a proclivity for HCM due to the genes from the Sphynx. But this hasn’t been proven or disproven.
Want to learn more about these cats? Read our complete guide: Dwelf Cat Breeds.
The Genetta cat is a crossbreed between a Munchkin and a Bengal and a Savannah cat.
They feature the stubby legs of Munchkin cats and the exotic, spotted coat of the Bengal and the Savannah.
Thanks to this mix of genes, Genettas look like little tigers. There isn’t a cuter animal on the entire planet than a Genetta cat.
In 2006, a brilliant person named Shannon Kiley from Pawstruck Cattery in the northeastern area of Texas decided the world needed tiny little tiger cats. Hence, the Genetta cat was born.
The average lifespan of a Genetta cat is about 12 to 16 years. They tend to live longer than your average house cat.
The Genetta weighs in at a whopping 4 to 8 pounds. Again, it’s a 4 to the 8-pound little tiger. Who wouldn’t want one of these?
Genettas are a brilliant breed. They’re always looking for something new to stimulate their minds.
Like many of the breeds in this article, these cats love to cuddle. However, their intelligence tends to lead them down mischievous paths. Make sure to keep things you genuinely value out of their reach.
Regardless of their willingness to cause trouble, these cats are extremely friendly. Some are even known to play with their family’s dog!
All a Genetta needs is some regular brushing to keep its coat healthy and tangle-free.
There are no known illnesses Genetta cats are prone to. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t need the standard vaccinations.
Read our detailed guide about the Genetta Cat Breed
The Kinkalow cat is a crossbreed between American Curl and a Munchkin cat.
They have the short legs that all Munchkins are known for and the curled ears of the American Curl.
These cats are very similar to the Dwelf cat just with hair. You get all the positives of a Dwelf cat with the added element of fur. Depending on the owner, this is either a benefit or a disadvantage.
The Kinkalow breed was established in 1994 by Terri Harris from Munchkinlane Cattery in Inverness, Florida.
They got their name, Kinkalow, from the word Kink- for their kinky ears and the word Low- for their low legs.
Kinkalow cats tend to live about 12 to 15 years: a reasonable amount of time for a cat considering the average lifespan for an average cat is 10-15 years.
The Kinkalow weight is usually between 3 to 7 pounds. These cats aren’t going to take up much room in your house, but they do carry a significant presence.
Kinkalow cats are known for their playful personalities. They’re always in motion causing a raucous; they’re even known to fetch.
However, they aren’t just troublemakers. These cats love to be involved with whatever you’re doing.
If you do get a Kinkalow cat, don’t expect an independent cat. Kinkalows love their owners and hope always to have your attention.
Their constant need for your approval makes them an excellent pet for a family with kids.
Weekly brushing is all a Kinkalow cat requires. Knots and tangles in the fur are very uncomfortable for any cat. So, make sure to brush them weekly.
Normally a healthy breed, a Kinkalow’s ears do require frequent cleaning to prevent infections and need gentle handling.
Read our full guide about the Kinkalow Cat Breed – All About This Tiny Powerhouse
The Lambkin cat is a crossbreed between a Munchkin and a Selkirk Rex cat.
As with the other cats on this list, the Lambkin has the Munchkin cat’s short legs. However, it has the curly coat of the Selkirk Rex.
Just like the Kinkalow, Terri Harris founded this breed a mere three years earlier in 1991.
The word Lambkin means very young lamb. No doubt picked for the feel of their coats.
The Lambkin’s lifespan ranges from 15 to 20 years. This range is definitely on the high end of the spectrum when it comes to cat lifespans.
The Lambkin weighs between 5 and 9 pounds making it one of the heaviest on this list.
These cats are easy-going, playful, and upbeat. Lambkins get along with everyone because of their warm and gentle nature.
Often, you’ll find them following you around to avoid being alone.
Lambkins hate being alone and will avoid being so at all costs. If they don’t have enough stimulation, they tend to act out on things like paper towel rolls.
Having plenty of toys around the house is an excellent way to avoid this nightmare scenario.
As with most of the cats on this list, their short legs will not stop them from climbing everything in your home. So, plan accordingly.
Due to the curls in their coats, Lambkins require brushing at least every other day. Their coats might look cute, but they need a lot of upkeep to stay that way.
Also, dirt and other nasty stuff tend to get stuck in their fur, therefore, bathing them once and a while is a good idea.
The Lambkin is a newish breed and with that comes a lack of information regarding their health issues.
Want to learn more about the Lambkin cat breed? Read our detailed guide.
The Minskins cat is a crossbreed between a Munchkin and a Sphynx, and later Devon Rex and Burmese cat were added to the mix.
A lot like the Bambino cat, these cats have the short legs of the Munchkin and the hairlessness of the Sphynx. However, unlike the Bambino cat, Minskin cats have fur on their extremities.
These cats hail from Boston, Massachusetts, where Paul McSorley established them in 1998.
The name, Minskin, is derived from a word meaning someone filled with love.
A Minskin cat has a lifespan between 12 and 14 years. Not the highest on this list, but not the lowest either.
These cats find themselves on the small side of the cats on this list weighing from 2 to 6 pounds.
The Minskin is known for its intelligence and curiosity. These little cats are fun, loyal pets that adore their families, especially, ones with kids.
If you’re looking for your child’s first pet, a Minskin is an excellent choice. In addition to being highly intelligent, the Minskin’s very outgoing and sociable. Not only will it love its family, but your other pets too.
However, don’t let their sociable personality fool you. These cats love to cause trouble and get into things. Be sure to put things in high places they can’t reach.
Due to its small amount of hair, the Minskin cat doesn’t require brushing. Instead, all they need is a bath once in and while to keep their skin from becoming an issue.
Being closely related to the Sphynx cat, these cats are prone to a heart condition called HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy). Otherwise, Minskin cats are relatively healthy.
The Napoleon cat is a crossbreed between a Munchkin and a Persian.
As you would expect, the Napoleon cat has the small legs of the Munchkin and the adorable baby face of the Persian cat.
In 1995, a former judge from American Kennel Club named Joe Smith created these little balls of delight.
The name Napoleon comes from the former French ruler Napoleon Bonaparte. However, it doesn’t come from them having Napoleon complex, but rather their short stature.
The average life of Napoleon ranges from 12 to 14 years. You can expect to have this cat in your life for a long time.
The Napoleon comes in as one of the heaviest cats on this list weighing between 5 and 9 pounds.
The Napoleon cat is a sweet-natured, sociable, docile cat. Their primary purpose in life is to receive love from their owners.
These cats aren’t as active as some on this list, but they will still look to cause some mischief from time to time.
Napoleons hate being alone; so, expect a cat that will always be around. Most likely, these cats will become best friends with your other animals.
They tend to fall in love with whatever other animals are around.
Unlike the other Munchkin cats on this list, Napoleons are a little hindered by their genetic mutation; they aren’t the best jumpers.
But, their legs don’t stop them from finding inventive ways to climb up furniture and beds for cuddle sessions.
Want to adopt this breed? Read our detailed guide: The Napolean Cat Facts
Depending on the version, needs a daily or weekly brushing: weekly for the short-haired, daily for the long-haired.
The Napoleon cat has few health issues. But, these cats are prone to more illnesses than most of the other cats on this list due to their Persian genes:
- PKD (polycystic kidney disease)
- Peritoneopericardial defect
- Lysosomal accumulation neuropathy
The Skookum cat is a crossbreed between a Munchkin cat and a LaPerm cat.
They have similar features to the Lambkin with the short legs of the Munchkin and the curly coat of the LaPerm.
During the 1990s, Roy Galusha established the breed in the United States.
Skookum is a word coming from a Native American tribe called Chinook. It means something is brave, powerful, and durable.
The average life for a Skookum cat ranges from 10 to 15 years falling right in line with the average lifespan of a regular indoor cat.
The Skookum’s average weight falls in the middle of this list ranging from 3 to 7 pounds.
These cats are extremely social and affectionate. They love to cuddle up with people and nap.
When they’re not napping, they love to run around the house and play with anything that piques their interest.
In fact, they’re one of the liveliest cats on this list.
The Skookum is a very low-maintenance cat breed. All they need is a brushing once or twice a week to keep their coats clean and mat-free.
The Skookum has no relevant health issues besides the ones from the Munchkin cat side of their genes.
If you do decide to adopt a Munchkin cat, there are certain things you should know before taking home one of these amazing cats.
9– SCOTTISH FOLD MUNCHKIN CAT
If you love the Scottish Folds (a cat breed with ears bending forward), then you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a crossbreed between a Munchkin cat and a Scottish Fold.
The result is a small cat with short legs, a stocky body, and folding ears. Some people refer to it as the Scottish Fold Munchkin, while others know this breed as the Scottish Kilt.
This breed was developed in 1991 and has stolen the hearts of many for years.
A Scottish Fold Munchkin lifespan is between 10 to 15 years.
Scottish Kilts are small cats, growing up to 10 inches tall and weighing 4 to 9 pounds.
Scottish Fold Munchkins are sweet-natured, jovial, and loving. If you want to come home to a playful cat every day, this would be perfect for you. They’re not moody and rarely get aggressive.
Scottish Fold Munchkins have a short to medium-sized coat that needs brushing regularly. The nails also need regular trimming.
You can do it manually or get your cat a scratching post. Be sure to check the ears and clean them since they may accumulate more dirt than regular ears.
Like the other Munchkin crossbreeds, Scottish Fold Munchkin cats may suffer from spine issues and other issues affecting Munchkin cats.
Also, the folding ears in Scottish Folds result from a mutation that affects their bone development, and the Scottish Fold Munchkins may inherit this too.
If you’d love to own short-legged cat breeds but are afraid of the health issues associated with dwarfism, below are some alternatives.
10- AMERICAN CURLS
American Curls are known for their unique ears that curl backward. This curling is caused by a dominant gene that does not affect their health, unlike in the Scottish Folds.
Better yet, their legs are relatively short, which is a trait they’ve inherited, but they don’t suffer from dwarfism or any other related issues.
American Curl cats have a lifespan ranging from 12 to 16 years, which is average for most cats.
These cats are small to medium-sized, with females weighing at least 8 pounds and males ranging from 8 to 12 pounds.
American Curl cats are friendly, moderately lively, and not that demanding of attention. But this doesn’t mean that you should neglect them.
Give them enough playtime, cuddle, and spend time with them. They may not be lap cats, but they do enjoy human company.
Their short silky coat needs regular grooming, as well as their nails. Be careful with the ears since they build up wax quickly and are quite sensitive and prone to infections.
American Curl cats also need regular exercise and stimulation to maintain a healthy weight and overall wellbeing.
Besides the ear issues, American Curls are a healthy breed. They may suffer from common cat issues, so make a habit of visiting the vet at least twice a year.
Known as some of the most vocal cats, Siamese cats have a relatively long body and shorter legs than most cat breeds.
These cats originated from Thailand and are known for their whitish/cream coat color and a temperature-sensitive albinism gene that causes darkening along with the nose, paws, ears, and tail.
Siamese cats can live for up to 20 years, one of the cat world’s longest lifespans.
Siamese cats weigh 6 to 14 pounds and grow up to 10 inches in height.
These cats are intelligent, affectionate, and crave attention from their owners. These aren’t the cats you can leave alone for a long time. Their different vocalizations make them great for those looking for a chatty pet.
Siamese cats have a short coat that doesn’t shed much. So, you only need to groom them a few times a month. What they need most is physical and mental stimulation. Ensure they get enough petting time, toys, and companionship.
There are no specific health issues associated with Siamese cats, just the regular kidney, liver, and heart problems you’ll find in most aging cats. Ensure you visit the vet often to make sure they are screened for any issues.
Adopting a Munchkin Cat Breed
As you probably figured out, these are fantastic cats. Due to being the best thing ever, people rarely give them up.
However, given the world we live in some are bound to end up in shelters.
If you do find one of these beautiful creatures in a shelter, the process will go something like this:
- First, you’ll fill out an adoption questionnaire provided by the shelter or rescue.
- Second, an interview with a shelter or rescue representative will occur to determine your viability as an adoptive parent.
- Third, you’ll finally get to meet the little kitten or cat and probably fall in love with them.
- Lastly, you finalize the adoption and bring the small ball of delight home to your family.
Besides the actual process, you probably have some questions about the other aspects of the adoption such as:
How Long Does the Adoption Process Take?
The length of the adoption process varies from organization to organization. It could take a day or a few weeks.
There’s no standard time length for this process.
Make sure to check the shelter/rescue’s website before adopting to see their rules and regulations for adoption.
How Much Does it Cost to Adopt a Munchkin Cat?
As with the length of the adoption process, the cost will depend on the shelter or rescue. However, expect to spend more than $100 to be safe.
A Checklist of What You’ll Need to Buy
Below will be some things you should consider buying with a link to a recommended product.
- Toys (You can even make your own)
- Litter Box
- Brush (depending on your choice of breed)
- Cat Litter
- Scratching Posts
- Food and Water Bowls
If you buy all these items, there’s no way your new Munchkin cat won’t have a happy and incredible life. Now, go out and adopt one!
And there you have it. Cats with short legs are adorable, and thanks to crossbreeding, you can get one with the features you love.
There are 9 different Munchkin cat breeds that result from crossbreeding Munchkins with cats with normal genes.
While it does appear unethical to breed cats based on their looks, most of these cats turn out fine.
And as I’ve discussed, the Siamese and American Curls also have shorter legs, but theirs don’t result from dwarfism. Now, go out and adopt one of these little cuties!
Do you have a munchkin cat breed? Tell us your favorite stories and tips below!