Photograph by Tobisako. License: Public Domain.
Munchkin cats are the same as "regular" cats, except with significantly shorter legs. Their tails often look disproportionately long on their bodies due to the lack of length in leg, and their heads often look too big. There is no real distinction to the breed except for the very short legs; Munchkins can be found with any body type and any head shape. Breeders are mating them with Persians, Siamese and Abyssinians, and the gene pool, for these small cats, is potentially unlimited.
Munchkins are very skilled climbers, but they cannot jump very high at all due to their tiny legs, making it very difficult to escape potential fights with other animals. The Munchkin should be kept indoors to prevent confrontations such as these.
Munchkins are generally playful and kitten-like in their personalities and amusements. They like to be active and play with their owners, and are very affectionate towards humans, other cats, and dogs. They are social animals and prefer the company of people to being alone all of the time. They enjoy running and chasing balls, such as ping pong balls, and also like to chase live bugs.
These cats are suitable for most homes, but will need to be kept indoors. They are particularly good for the elderly who would like a companion cat, and for people living in units or apartments.
Munchkin cats have only recently been approved as an official breed, though they have been around for decades. The trait seemed to have disappeared from Europe, where it was most popular, but appeared in New England, USA, in the 70s. It wasn’t until 1983 that the cats that parented today’s Munchkin breed were born to a short-legged female called Blackberry in a dump truck in Louisiana. All Munchkins today are descended from Blackberry and her son Toulouse.