A Guide to the Munchkin Cat Breed

Photo of Karen Dell

Karen Dell

Senior Editor • Backyard Cat Enclosures

19 January 2018

  • Size: Small
  • Activity: High
  • Noise: Low
  • Allergies: High
  • Independence: Low
  • Grooming: Medium


In the 1980s a teacher named Sandra Hochenedel found a pregnant stray. The cat gave birth to a litter of kittens, half of which displayed the short legs we now know as the distinguishing feature of the Munchkin cat breed. One short-legged male kitten named Toulouse was gifted to a friend of Sandra’s and remained intact, breeding with regular legged stray cats in the neighbourhood and producing short-legged offspring. Sandra and her friend made the International Cat Association aware of their diminutive gene discovery and the Munchkin cat breed was born.


Munchkin cats display short legs and large eyes that will have you weak at the knees. The Munchkin cat breed is defined by a mutated gene that gives them their short legs and this gene can be displayed alongside other cat characteristics like coat colours, patterns and length. So you may meet a Munchkin cat that looks like a domestic tabby, a Bengal cat, a Persian or a Siamese. This is due to out-crossing - a Munchkin cat is bred with a different breed of cat to produce short-legged offspring. If you were to breed two Munchkins together it can lead to health complications and death. For this reason, the Munchkin cat breed is controversial the cat lovers community.


The Munchkin cat breed has a bubbly and affectionate attitude perfect for those looking for a sweet and playful fur baby. They are outgoing and confident puddas who are loyal to their chosen hooman and are often reported to be kittenish well into their adult cat years. Keep your Munchkin active with a range of stimulating and cute cat toys and you’ll be rewarded with the most adorable antics you’ve ever seen.


The Munchkin cat breed can display a short or medium length coat so grooming and upkeep is generally easy. A weekly brush, which is enjoyable for kitties and hoomans alike, should be sufficient. If your particular Munchkin displays a flat face, then they will need tear stain maintenance - a quick wipe with a clean damp cloth every few days will keep them feeling and looking fresh.


The Munchkin cat breed is not always suitable for those with cat allergies, it really depends on the breed they descend from and their hair length (some hairless Munchkins are available but they will still shed dander which causes allergies). Have a peek here to see our top 5 cat breeds for cat allergy sufferers to avoid the sniffles.

Suggested names

These cartoon-come-to-life kitties make us think of wide eyed characters from our childhood. Here are our suggestions for heckin’ cute Munchkin puddas:

  • Jigglypuff
  • Bubbles
  • Boo
  • Pickles
  • Freckle

Can you handle the cute of the Munchkin cat breed? Learn more about these snuggle bugs with our 5 reasons to love them here. Looking for someone new? Fall in love with another cat breed with our Ultimate Guide to Cat Breeds here.


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