Although the short legged cats from Europe seem to have disappeared, the trait reappeared in New England in the 1970's and in Louisiana in the 1980"s.
From a pregnant black female ( since named Blackberry) short legged cat found by Sandra Hochenedal living under a pickup truck in 1983. In her first litter and in each subsequent litter, Blackberry passed the trait on to about half of her kittens. One of Blackberry's sons, Toulouse, was given to a friend named Kay LaFrance who established a colony of Munchkins on her Louisiana Plantation. The present Munchkins are all descendents of Blackberry and Toulouse, although Munchkins have been sighted throughout North America and the World.
The short legs do not seem to affect it's climbing ability, but it's jumping ability is limited due thier short legs. Due to it's lack of jumping abilities, the Munchkin can find it difficult to escape from fights with other animals. A Munchkin should therefore be an indoor only cat.
As with any cat, the pedigree and conditions under which it is raised and the amount of attention given during kittenhood are factors in the temperament. Munchkins have kitten-like personalities, and they keep thier kittenish ways all thier lives. They are very affectionate and love to be around adults, children, dogs and other cats. They never tire of human company and prefer to be with a companion or two rather than alone.
Munchkins also enjoy the company of other animals and adapt well to most circumstances. Most are not aggressive cats, but are very social and outgoing. Munhckins are very playful, they love to run, chase, climb and play with toys. When it comes to chasing, their short legs give them an advantage over cats with long legs as thier little legs allow them to scramble faster and corner sharper. They love to scurry after ping pong balls, mice on fishing poles and live bugs, if they are given the opportunity.
This is the cat who may well be collecting all your little jewels and nicknacks, just like the Magpie, and hiding them under furniture. They readily accept a harness and leash and seem to enjoy taking thier owners for walks.
Being a relatively new registered breed of cat with short legs, the gene responsible for shortening the long bones in the cat's legs is a natural mutation. It does not cause any mobility or spinal problems.
Munchkins should be a medium-sized cat, not appearing to resemble a miniature version of a purebred. Available in long and short hair, and in a variety of colors.
Minuets are a hybrid crossed between a Munchkin and a cat from the Persian Group to create a stockier, rounder cat wtih a thicker coat. Minuets are now being shown in Championship status in TICA.