The Ultimate Munchkin Cat Guide in Malaysia

The Ultimate Munchkin Guide in Malaysia (Credit Image: Michael Beder / Getty Images)

Credit Featured Image: Michael Beder / Getty Images

Munchkin cats (also known as “sausage cats”) are ordinary domestic cats that stand out because of their extraordinarily short legs due to a natural genetic mutation. While incredibly cute and sweet-looking, Munchkins are intelligent, outgoing and enjoy playing games.

In this article, we will discuss everything about Munchkins, that includes the dispute over whether it is ethical to breed Munchkins and their health issues.

Munchkin cat Malaysia
Credit: Tran Mau Tri Tam, Unsplash

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Appearance

The unique short legs that Munchkin cats possess make it completely impossible for them to be mistaken for another cat breed. This adorable breed is very close to the ground since their legs are about 3 inches shorter than other cats. But apart from that, their body size is the same as that of other cats.

Because Munchkin cats are often crossed with lots of cat breeds, they differ in appearance and their offspring usually have long legs.

The head of a Munchkin cat is proportional to its body size and has rounded contours. It also has high cheekbones, a medium-length muzzle and a smooth transition from its nose to the forehead.

Munchkins have almond-shaped eyes that can be either large or medium-sized. Their ears can also be medium or large and are wide at the base with rounded tips. Their tail is usually the same length as their body.

Coat Colours & Patterns

Munchkin cats can have long coats, short coats, or even be completely hairless. The long-haired variety has smooth and silky fur, while the short-haired ones have medium-density coats. Some of the Munchkins even have curled hair.

They also come in a wide variety of coat colours, including solid black, gray, tabby, and calico, and have various eye colours such as blue, green, yellow or copper.

8 Popular Munchkin Cat Breeds

Since the Munchkin breed was developed, they have split into several variations. With the rapidly increasing popularity of this cat breed, there are definitely going to be more varieties. These are eight of the Munchkin cat breeds currently around.

Bambino

Bambino cat

The Bambino is a cross between a Munchkin and a hairless Sphynx. Because the breed is still quite new, very little is known about these cats. The name "Bambino" is derived from the Italian word which can be translated to mean "baby" as a result of their short legs and lack of fur. They weigh between 2.5 – 5 kilograms and come in different colours including white, black, brown and cream.

Dwelf

Dwelf cat

The Dwelfs' popularity is widely attributed to their close resemblance to elves, which is also where they get their name. A cross between a Munchkin, Sphynx and American Curl, the Dwelf are similar to the Bambino in terms of appearance. Their main distinguishing feature is their curled ears, which they inherited from the American Curl Heritage. They are lightweight cats, weighing only 1.5 – 3 kilograms. The Dwelf is only available in black and cream.

Genetta

Genetta cat - Munchkin Malaysia
Credit: Sviatoslav_Shevchenko, Shutterstock

Bengal cats introduced a domesticated, wild-looking cat into the homes of cat lovers. But with the Genetta, which crosses a Munchkin, Savannah and Bengal, cat enthusiasts can now get a miniature version of the wild-looking cats. They weigh around 1.8 – 3.5 kilograms, and just like their leopard ancestors, they come in a striped or marbled variety of orange, red, black and brown.

Kinkalow

Kinkalow cat

A cross between a Munchkin and an American Curl, the Kinkalow are close cousins of the Dwelf breed, except that they have a full coat of fur. They can come in almost any colour including black, white, grey, cream, calico, orange, tabby, tortie and chocolate. The Kinkalow are available in a large variety of patterns, have the characteristically curled ears of their parents and weigh between 1.5 – 3 kilograms.

Lambkin

Lambkin cat
Credit: Google Image

The Lambkin is a relatively new Munchkin breed and is known as one of the rarest cat breeds in the world. It is a cross between a Munchkin and a Selkirk Rex, which produces a medium-sized cat that weighs around 2 – 4 kilograms. Although they are commonly white, they can also be found in almost any colour or pattern.

Minskin

Minskin cat
Credit: Google Image

The Minskin was created by crossing a Munchkin with three different breeds, the Sphynx, Devon Rex and Burmese. This hybrid cross leads to a relatively new cat breed which weigh only 1 – 3 kilograms. They are typically hairless, although they have patches of short fur on their points. Due to the lack of fur, they are hypoallergenic, which makes them perfect for cat lovers with allergies. The Minskin is available in a variety of colours such as brown, white and cream.

Napoleon/Minuet

Napoleon or Minuet cat
Credit: thenapoleoncat

This is a cross between a Munchkin and Persian, which gives rise to an adorable, friendly and cuddly cat breed. Available in several colours and patterns, especially solid white, chocolate and cream, the Napoleon is a very social cat that bonds strongly with its owners. They usually weigh between 2 and 4 kilograms.

Skookum

Skookum cat
Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock

The Skookum is a cross between a Munchkin and a LaPerm to create a cat breed with the characteristic short legs of Munchkins and the curly coat of a LaPerm. The coats come in a large selection of solid colors, bicolour and colourpoints. They are also available in various patterns and weigh just 1.5 – 3.5 kilograms.

How Much Does a Munchkin Cat Cost in Malaysia?

A Munchkin cat costs about RM850 to RM9,800 in Malaysia.

The difference in prices is affected by factors such as variation, age, health status, vaccination, microchip, purebred certification and breeder’s reputation.

Where to Buy a Munchkin Cat in Malaysia?

Disclaimer: Grace Cat is not affiliated with any of the businesses mentioned below and will not be liable for any losses or inconveniences that happen from dealings with them. You are encouraged to do your own due diligence to make the best-informed decision.

If you want to buy a Munchkin cat in Malaysia, you can check out the following places:

Cats World Cattery

Kitty Kittun CatHouse Online

Mudah.my

Rescue Pets Malaysia

Of course, your best bet in buying a healthy and well-tempered Munchkin is through a certified Munchkin cat breeder in Malaysia.

Where to Adopt a Munchkin Cat in Malaysia?

Please visit this page for the list of online and offline cat adoption platforms in Malaysia. You might just get lucky and find a Munchkin cat for adoption!  However, there is no guarantee your Munchkin will be purebred or in great condition.

At Grace Cat, we always support ‘Adopt Don’t Shop’. We believe you can find your perfect cat in a rescue – whatever breed it may be.

Munchkin Kitten -  Munchkin Malaysia

Weight and Size

The Munchkin cat is a small to medium cat breed that weighs anything from 2 to 4 kilograms. They are flexible and lightweight. Because of their energy levels, they usually get enough exercise to be able to maintain a healthy weight.

While their legs are quite shorter, Munchkins are about the same length as other small cat breeds. They measure up to 46 centimeters in length from the nose to the tip of their tails.

Lifespan of Munchkin Cat

The average lifespan of a Munchkin is from 12 to 15 years.

Personality

Munchkins are active and friendly cats who get along with kids and other pets. They are typically very curious and keen on checking out everything around them, so it is not uncommon to find them sitting on their hind legs like a rabbit to get a great view of their immediate environment.

These cats are also famous for maintaining a kitten-like, playful temperament into adulthood. Munchkin cats are intelligent and sociable animals who enjoy spending time with their people. They are full of energy and love to socialize with humans. Besides playing with their toys or running around, they enjoy snuggling beside their owners, sitting on their laps or just being petted.

They are known as "confident extroverts”, but the only issue with this personality is that it trusts everyone, so you have to constantly be on the lookout for your cat whenever it is outdoors. They also have hoarding tendencies and love stashing away their "favourite" items to play with later, which could include your jewellery. 

Credit: Nazra Zahri, Getty

Origin

Although The International Cat Association (TICA) only recognised Munchkin cats in 2003, short-legged cats have been around for decades. The short-legged cats were quite common in the United Kingdom before World War II, but after the war, their population changed drastically.

The modern Munchkin breed originated in Louisiana when a short-legged cat named Blackberry gave birth to a litter of kittens. Half of the litter was short-legged, while the other half was long-legged.

Modern Munchkin cats are bred by mating a Munchkin cat with a domestic cat that doesn’t have the mutation. Munchkins cannot be bred with each other but instead with other cat breeds because when the mutation is from both parents, the gene is lethal, and the embryos will die in the womb.

When a Munchkin is crossed with a regular cat, there is a 50% chance that the kittens will have short legs. The Munchkin kittens in the litter will have the gene, while those with long legs will not, although they also come from Munchkin parents.

Are Munchkin Cats Unethical?

Many cat enthusiasts debate whether or not it is ethical to breed Munchkins. Their argument is based on the fact that breeding them intentionally ignores the physical deformity of their very short legs, which affects their mobility. These short legs are caused by a spontaneous genetic mutation, which causes the long bones in cats’ legs to grow to a shorter length.

Munchkins are now specifically bred so as to get cats with short legs. Due to the controversy about whether the breeding of Munchkin cats is ethical, they are not yet recognised by the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) as an official breed. There are several other cat associations that believe that Munchkin cats should not be officially recognised as a new breed so as to prevent unethical breeding practices.

This breed is still fairly new and unknown to many, which means many breeders are uncertain about the future health problems that could occur. Some of them fear that they could have leg and spinal problems, which would cause pain.

Although Munchkins are not yet accepted by every cat association around the world, they have become very popular among cat lovers since their introduction to the public in 1991. Their short legs and affectionate personalities have made them very sought-after.

Exercise

Munchkin playing -  Munchkin Malaysia

Despite their short legs, Munchkins are playful and energetic. Their short legs do not stop them from running, climbing, and jumping like taller domestic cats. They are able to deftly jump on chairs, tables and other low furniture. They also enjoy outdoor games and trips and do not resist the use of a harness.

Munchkin cats love to run and play around during the day, so provide them with cat toys, scratchers, and low-to-the-ground trees.

Diet for Munchkin Cats

Munchkin cats are prone to arthritic diseases and weight gain due to their short legs. Therefore, body weight control and joint support are the two most important elements to consider when developing the appropriate diet for Munchkin cats. It should be a calorie-controlled diet that is also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and chondroitin.

Grooming Munchkin Cat

The grooming care of your Munchkin cat depends on the length of their coat. If they are short-haired, they should be brushed at least once a week. However, long-haired Munchkins need to be brushed every 2–3 days to ensure they do not develop matted hairs or hairballs.

Munchkins can clean themselves, but their short legs mean that they will struggle to get to parts where other cats can reach. It is also a good idea to bathe your cat occasionally and trim their nails. You should also ensure that you brush their teeth at least twice a week.

It is also important to keep their litter box clean because their legs are short and they are closer to the ground than other cat breeds. 

General Health Problems

Munchkin lying on bed -  Munchkin Malaysia

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative disorder that occurs due to the gradual deterioration of the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones. This condition can be the result of normal wear and tear over a lifetime, or it can be due to a problem with the joint itself.

In cats, osteoarthritis generally occurs in the hips, ankles, elbows and knees. The condition is more common in older cats, but Munchkins are prone to a more severe form of osteoarthritis because of their extremely short legs. The diagnosis of this condition is made through diagnostic imaging and treatment is carried out under the supervision of the veterinarian.

Spinal Deformity

Munchkins have an increased risk of suffering from spinal deformities because of the genetic mutation that causes the breed to have very short legs. They seem to have a specific form called lordosis, which is an excessive curvature of the spine. This condition causes the shortening of the muscles that hold the spine in place so that it sinks down into the chest cavity. This puts pressure on the trachea, heart and lungs, leading to pain, discomfort and mobility problems.

Spinal deformities are usually inherited conditions observed at birth that become more obvious as the cat matures.

Pectus Excavatum

This is the deformity of the sternum and connecting cartilages that results in a horizontal narrowing of the chest, typically on the posterior side. It could be caused by a genetic condition or it could happen randomly in any cat.

Severe cases of pectus excavatum are identified at birth, while less serious conditions may not be obvious until a few weeks after birth. A veterinarian is required to properly diagnose the condition.

Those suffering from severe cases of this condition would have to undergo surgery, while individuals with milder cases can benefit from non-surgical methods.

Must I Keep Munchkin Cat Indoors in Malaysia?

Munchkin Cat Malaysia
Credit: Mythicize, Reddit

Munchkin cats should be kept indoors because they can be at higher risk of danger for life outdoors. Their short legs make them easy targets for predators and harder to escape from danger.

Having said that, you can still take your Munchkin outside occasionally and under close supervision. You need to be extremely watchful and maintain control over the cat via a cat leash and harness.

Do you know the biggest challenge faced by cat owners?

It’s not what you think. Find out the answer here (before it’s too late).

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