Seen as the feline equivalent of the Dachshund, this breed has caused controversy in the cat world with its short legs and long spine. Munchkins' movements are described as being like that of a ferret. There are short coated and long coated versions.
Health and welfare of short-legged cats
Cats (Felis catus) are not a species with naturally short legs. Mutations that cause short legs may be detrimental in restricting aspects of the cat’s mobility and in some cases leg deformities may be painful and debilitating through the development of abnormal joints. Munchkins may not have the flexibility to groom themselves as well as other cats do, so will need some assistance. This is especially true for those with those sporting long hair.
International Cat Care comment:
Our position on breeding cats is that first no harm should be done. If there is even the smallest chance that having this ‘look’ causes problems, then we should not be accepting of it as a breed based on a genetic deformity.
Health and welfare issues – other
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) has been identified in the breed.
We have limited the information about inherited disorders to those conditions that are known and proven to exist within a breed. For many breeders and many conditions, insufficient information may be available at this time to know whether any particular breed is necessarily free of any particular condition.
In general, pedigree breeds use a much smaller gene pool for breeding than domestic cats and therefore have a higher risk of developing inherited disorders. In addition, a number of 'newer' pedigree breeds are derived from matings between one or more 'older' breeds, and in these situations perpetuation of inherited problems that were seen in older breeds is likely within the newer breeds.
image supplied by Animal Photography