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Everything you need to know about munchkin cats: Some facts may surprise you

Get to know the scoop before you adopt a munchkin cat

In today’s society, social media clout has become a form of currency. The number of likes, comments, and views your posts receive is a way of signaling high-value content. Given the explosive popularity of internet cat videos, is it any surprise that one of the most popular videos on TikTok features a cute munchkin cat? With over 94 million views and close to 16 million likes, this adorable kitten is one of the platform’s most beloved fur babies. Whether you’re a longtime fan or you recently discovered the breed online, you may wonder, “What is a munchkin cat?” Let’s find out more about these curious kitties.

A red and white munchkin cat with long hair stands against a teal blue background.

Munchkin cats: Getting to know the breed

With their short, stubby legs, elongated bodies, and insatiable curiosity, munchkin cats are a unique breed in the world of cats. In fact, these short-legged stunners wouldn’t look entirely out of place in fantastical literature. (Is it just us, or do munchkin cats look like the noble steeds of fairy kings and queens?) But this controversial breed got its start in England in the 1930s. Modern-day munchkins, however, come from the tiny town of Rayville, Louisiana.

Sandra Hochendel, a Rayville music teacher, found two pregnant munchkins — one black, one gray — cowering underneath a truck. Hochendel kept the black cat, which she named Blackberry, and she rehomed the gray cat, dubbed Blueberry. Unfortunately, no one knows what became of Blueberry, but we can attribute all modern-day munchkins to Blackberry and her progeny.

A gray munchkin cat kitten stands on top of a white dressing table

Munchkin cat size, personality, and health

Like the Sphynx and Manx, munchkin cats are the direct result of inbreeding, which can lead to a host of health problems — and occasionally behavioral issues. If you’re looking to adopt one of these precious cats, you’re probably wondering, “How big does a munchkin cat get? Is my munchkin cat going to have health problems? What’s the average munchkin cat life span?” We’re here to walk you through everything you need to know.

Size

With their stubby legs and plush coats, which can make them appear larger than they really are, the munchkin cat is classified as a small-medium cat breed. As with all cat breeds, males tend to be larger than females. A male munchkin cat usually weighs somewhere between 6 and 9 pounds, while females are smaller, weighing between 4 and 8 pounds.

Personality

Not only are munchkin cats adorable, but they’re also one of the most affectionate breeds in the world. Munchkins love spending time with their human family members, including children. (Just remember to monitor your children while they play with the family fur baby!) You’ll also need to make sure not to leave valuable jewelry lying around the house. The munchkin’s affinity for shiny things has drawn comparison to birds, earning the breed the nickname “magpie.”

Life span and health issues

Cat aficionados on both sides of the fence are eager to hiss their opinions on the breed. Fortunately for munchkin cat fans, these fur babies can live a comparatively normal life span with proper care. While they aren’t as long living as some breeds, munchkins live a respectable 12-14 years.

But we have some sad news, too. Munchkin cats owe their adorably stubby legs to a genetic mutation, which can lead to painful health issues like osteoarthritis. While treatment for arthritis is readily available, would-be munchkin parents should monitor their fur baby’s weight, as carrying extra pounds places unnecessary pressure on their already-stressed joints. A well-rounded diet, regular exercise, and staying in touch with your veterinarian can help you keep cats of any breed as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

A long-haired calico munchkin cat kitten stands against a blue backdrop.

Munchkin cat price

If you’ve set your sights on bringing a munchkin cat into your home, you’re probably asking yourself, “How much is a munchkin cat?” Unfortunately, the answer is, “That depends.”

Many factors influence the cost of a munchkin kitten. While disreputable breeders sell kittens for lower prices, we strongly urge you to avoid purchasing from these vendors. Flagrant disregard for the welfare of their animals, health issues, and deplorable living conditions are common at low-cost breeding facilities. Reputable breeders price munchkin cats in the $500-$1,500 range on average, though if you have your heart set on a famous bloodline or unusual coat pattern, you could expect to pay as much as $2,000-$3,000.

A brown tabby munchkin cat kitten stands on a gray felt background.

While the breed isn’t without its controversies, the munchkin cat is here to stay. Will munchkins become as accepted as Sphynx and Manx cats? Only time will tell. In the meantime, we encourage prospective munchkin parents to research breeders thoroughly, stay on top of vet visits and vaccinations, and share their feline family on social media for the rest of us to enjoy.

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