Adopting a Munchkin Kitten
Are you looking for a friendly, playful, lovable companion to adopt into your home or family? Are you thinking about a munchkin kitten, but not sure it will be the right fit? There is no doubt that munchkins take the cake in the most adorable category, but if you are looking for a loyal pet who will be friendly with other cats, is outgoing, intelligent, and energetic, then the munchkin may just be the kitten you are looking for!
Learn about the history, personality, misconceptions, and health of the munchkin breed below along with adoption do’s and don’ts, tips for caring for your kitten, and my own personal experience with adopting my munchkin kitten.
History of the Munchkin Breed
Are you thinking of adopting a munchkin?
The munchkin is a relatively new breed of cats in comparison with many other familiar domestic breeds. In fact, in 1994 the International Cat Association began overseeing and following the development of the munchkin breed. It was only recently, however, in 2003 that the breed was fully recognized by the International Cat Association.
The munchkin gets its short legs passed onto them through a genetic defect from one of its parents. A litter of kittens with at least one munchkin parent has the possibility of containing one, none, or several munchkin kittens. A litter may have both munchkin and non-munchkin kittens. Because of this, many munchkin cats are often bred with non-munchkin cats.
Personality Traits of Munchkins
If you are looking for a playful, lovable companion, the munchkin is the perfect breed for you!
Munchkin personality traits:
Contrary to some popular beliefs, there are a quite a few misconceptions about munchkins. Check out the most well-known misconceptions below:
Munchkins are the Corgis of the cat world
While munchkins and corgis share the similar short legged trait, munchkin kittens are not to be compared to the corgi dog breed.
Corgis were historically bred and used to herd sheep and are genetically predisposed to health issues like hip dysplasia and invertebral disc disease, which are not known to affect the munchkin cat breed.
Munchkins have health issues
Even though munchkins may look a little different from other kittens, they do not come with any out of the ordinary health issues. They are as strong, agile, and mobile just like other cats.
While some specialty breeds come with genetic implications, the munchkin has the same risk for health issues as other breeds. There is no reason to expect any spinal, hip or leg issues with the munchkin.
Munchkins have mobility issues
Many people think that because munchkins have such short legs they are prone to mobility issues. You will soon find that when you bring your munchkin home, it will playfully dart, run, and jump just like any other kitten. It can also jump up onto furniture and other surfaces, just like a regular kitten, though he may need a little help getting in and out of a tall litter box or other high surface.
Place a large book, dictionary, or small ramp with a piece of cardboard/plywood to help your new munchkin kitten reach the litter box or other surface he may need to access when you bring him or her home.
Adoption Do’s and Don’ts
If you are reading this, you have probably already been looking into the availability of munchkin kittens in your area and you have most likely found that they are difficult to find! Munchkins are a rare breed with the genetic likelihood of passing down the gene from parent to kitten, not to mention since they are a relatively newly recognized breed, breeders can be few and far between. To make sure you adopt your munchkin from a reputable breeder and have a great adoption experience, follow these tips below:
Check out your breeder
Make sure to meet your breeder in person and carefully observe the conditions from which you are adopting your kitten. Inspect the kitten carefully to make sure he or she does not look sickly and comes from a clean, safe environment.
Don’t purchase a munchkin online
You never know from whom you are purchasing a pet online. Purchasing online does not give you the opportunity to check out the conditions of the kitten’s environment nor see the kitten in person to make sure he or she is healthy. There are a lot of online scams for munchkin and other specialty bred cats. Don’t take a chance paying a lot of money for a kitten that may never show up at your door or may be shipped in unsafe conditions.
Ask your breeder for medical history
Your vet will likely ask if the kitten’s parents had any history of leukemia or other feline diseases. Make sure to ask your breeder to provide you with detailed medical history of the kitten and its parents and if possible, provide any paperwork.
Be prepared to spend some money
Because munchkins are rare and in demand, many breeders may ask several hundred to a thousand dollars for the cost of purchasing one of their kittens. If you are looking for a low cost pet, then adopting a munchkin may not be the right choice for you.
Love and Care
Your munchkin kitten loves to be around people and receive affection. One great way to show the kitten affection is through grooming with a small, soft brush. Most munchkins have short hair and are easy to care for with a simple brushing once or twice a week.
Another great way to show your munchkin love is through play and games. These kittens make up for their lack of height with high intellectual capacity so they are always curious and love to be engaged with you and be sure to reward him or her with treats and lots of affection. Some fun games to play with your munchkin include:
Fishing pole games
Toys with feathers or bells to pique their interest
Games with tunnels or scratching posts that they can climb and hide in
In general, you can feed your munchkin the same type and amount of food you would a normal kitten. Even though they have short legs, their body size is the same as a regular kitten and will need to intake sufficient calories.
My Munchkin Adoption Experience
My husband and I recently adopted our tuxedo munchkin kitten, Diego. Our adoption journey started several months before we brought Diego home with searching online and learning as much as possible about the breed. Once we knew that the munchkin was right for us, the chore of trying to locate a breeder in our area of Minnesota begun.
We searched online for several months to no avail. We live in quite a rural area so any breeder remotely near our area would require driving quite a long distance or waiting several months until the next litter was born.
We called our local pet stores and put our names and phone numbers on their call list in the event a munchkin ever came in. Then, after waiting for several months with no available kittens we put our own feelers out through ads in our local newspaper, Craigslist, and a local online selling website.
It was while we were placing a want ad on our local online selling website that we found a private breeder with two tuxedo munchkin kittens listed for sale. She was over 2.5 hours from where we lived, but she was willing to meet us in a nearby town and deliver the kitten the same weekend!
We met the breeder and made sure the kittens looked healthy and negotiated on the asking price. The breeder originally was asking over $800 dollars per kitten, but we came to an agreement to purchase one of her munchkins for $500. She brought another kitten from the same litter and offered to give us that kitten for free if we were willing to take her.
Even though we started the adoption process in the hopes of adopting just one kitten, we ended up taking home two little kittens who have become the best of friends.
Our munchkin was initially hesitant and exhibited hiding behavior for the first couple days we brought him home. His sister Frida, however, was initially more outgoing and helped bring Diego out of his shell.
Today we are happy to report that Frida and Diego are happy, playful, outgoing, and affectionate kittens that we are thrilled to have as part of our little family.
Have you ever adopted a munchkin kitten? Are you thinking about adopting a munchkin? Share your own experience or your adoption journey in the comments, below!