are munchkin cats genetically modified

No, munchkin cats are not genetically modified, contrary to popular belief – the short legs are actually caused by a naturally occurring gene.

History edit

Since the 1940s, there have been numerous reports of sightings of short-legged cats worldwide. In 1944, a British veterinary report described four generations of cats with short legs that were otherwise identical to regular cats. During World War II, this line vanished, but other short-legged cats were discovered in Russia in 1956 and the US in the 1970s. [1].

A dog had chased two pregnant cats under a truck in Rayville, Louisiana, where music teacher Sandra Hochenedel discovered them in 1983. [9] She named one of the cats Blackberry and kept the other one; half of the kittens she had were born with short legs. Toulouse was the name given by Hochenedel to her friend Kay LaFrance of Monroe, Louisiana, who received a short-legged male kitten from one of Blackberry’s litters. [9] The Munchkin breed of today is descended from the litter that Blackberry and Toulouse shared. [9].

How Are Munchkin Cats Made?

are munchkin cats genetically modified

The short legs of the Munchkin cat come from a dominant genetic mutation. This gene is referred to as a “lethal” gene because if two Munchkin cats mate and both pass on the dominant gene, the kittens will not survive.

In order to produce kittens with short legs, breeders purposefully cross-breed Munchkin cats with regular-sized cats or cats that are simply shorter by nature and do not carry the Munchkin gene. The kittens can survive and fetch a high price because only one parent carries the mutation.

are munchkin cats genetically modified

Munchkin cats can and do appear naturally sometimes. Not all Munchkin cats are bred into existence by humans. But because many people think these cats are cute, breeders have discovered that they can make money by purposefully breeding these cats.

Registry history edit

The Munchkin cat was initially made known to the public in 1991 through a nationwide network cat show hosted in Davis, Oklahoma by The International Cat Association (TICA). [10] But at that point, the breed would not be formally recognized. Critics projected that the breed would experience leg, hip, and back issues akin to those that afflict certain dachshunds. [11] Because of its contentious breeding practices, the Munchkin breed was banned from cat shows for a considerable amount of time. [9] A fervent supporter of the breed’s official recognition was show judge, geneticist, and TICA Genetics Committee chair Solveig Pflueger. After receiving two cats from Hochenedel, Pflueger went on to breed Munchkin cats of her own. [11] The Munchkin was proposed as a new breed amid much controversy by Massachusetts-based foundation breeders Laurie and Robert Bobskill, and in September 1994 TICA accepted the breed into its new breed development program. Katherine Crawford, a seasoned show judge, quit in protest, claiming the breed was an insult to moral breeders. [9][12] In May 2003, the Munchkin breed became eligible for TICA championships. [1].

FAQ

Are Munchkin cats a natural breed?

While they weren’t recognized as a breed by The International Cat Association until 2003, short-legged cats have existed for many years. Their appearance is the result of a genetic mutation that can occur naturally in litters, but today the Munchkin is specifically bred to produce cats with little legs.

Are Munchkin cats genetically mutated?

Munchkin cats were founded on a naturally occurring mutation segregating into long-legged and short-legged types. Short-legged cats showed disproportionate dwarfism (chondrodysplasia) in which all four legs are short and are referred as standard Munchkin cats.

How was the Munchkin cat created?

Breed creation In 1983, Sandra Hochenedel, a music teacher in Rayville, Louisiana, found two pregnant cats who had been chased under a truck by a dog. She kept one of the cats and named her Blackberry and half of her kittens were born short-legged.

How are Munchkins made cats?

We Munchkins are a breed of cat resulting from a spontaneous genetic mutation! All Munchkin cats possess a gene which causes the typically long bones in a cat’s legs to remain short. And while it’s a rare gene, it’s dominant, which means only one cat needs to have it in order to pass the trait along to their kittens!