The Munchkin looks like any other long- or short-haired cat except for their short legs. Munchkins have broad, wedge-shaped heads, medium-sized muzzles, thick necks and medium-large walnut-shaped eyes. Munchkins are medium-sized.
Their hind legs are slightly longer than their front legs. Tails are medium thick and tapers to a round tip.
Longhaired Munchkins have a semi-long, silky coat with shaggy britches and a slight to moderate ruff. The tail is fully plumed and the ears have long tufts. The shorthaired Munchkin has a plush, luxurious coat. Both varieties have all-weather coats. Munchkins come in all coat colors and patterns.
The mutation responsible for the short legs have always occurred but the lines died out without human interference. Finally, in Rayville, Louisiana in 1983, the Munchkin was seriously considered. A music teacher found two female short legged cats (both were pregnant) cowering under an abandoned truck. She brought them home, named the black cat Blackberry and the gray one Blueberry. (She then gave Blueberry away.) Some of Blackberry’s kittens inherited her mutation. This litter was the foundation for the Munchkin breed. One of Blackberry’s sons, Toulouse, became a prolific breeder and produced a good sized population of short leg cats. The breed was named after the residents of Munchkinland from the 1939 classic film, “The Wizard of Oz.”
Controversy soon followed. Some fanciers question the morality of breeding mutations that are considered deformities, despite the fact that the mutation actually occurred naturally.
They may have a physical “deformity,” but these cats are completely unaware. They walk about like the world is their oyster; they are confident, outgoing and curious. People-oriented and playful, they love their people! They are playful their entire lives and love to play any game that you’ll join them in.
Don’t let the short legs fool you, they can climb and scratch with the agility possessed by any other cat. What they can’t do is jump as high; their short legs don’t give them enough bounce. They are able to reach beds and chairs, but not a kitchen counter. (But that isn’t such a bad thing.)
Munchkins have earned their nickname of “magpie.” They like to take small objects and hide them in a hidden stash. Breeders advise keeping a Munchkin indoors.