Short legged Munchkin kittens


Copyright 2005-2008 Sarah Hartwell

Although often thought of as a new development in cats, short-legged cats have been reported several times in the last century. Many of those cats bred for several generations before slipping into obscurity. The only difference with the modern day situation is that breeders have now taken this trait and developed it into a number of breeds.

The first accounts I have of short-legged cats include sightings of short-legged feral cats in England during the 1930s and, in 1931, a hereditary short-legged condition was described by Schwangart and Grau.


Australian female cat from the late 1800s/early 1900s with short forelegs. Possibly the first documented short-legged cat.

In England in 1944, a dynasty of short-legged cats was documented in the Veterinary Record by Dr. H.E. Williams-Jones. He noted the existence of 4 generations of short-limbed cats. He reported the case of an 8 1/2-year-old black female who was described as having lived an extremely healthy life and, other than her short legs, she was reported to be normal in every way. Her mother, grandmother and some of her own offspring were similar in appearance. The trait was seen to be inherited and occurred in it least 4 litters. In this particualr case, only the front limbs were affected, while the hind limbs appeared to be of normal size. William-Jones described the cats as having unusually short front legs which bowed outwards, but the cats were otherwise normal, healthy and able to move quickly. Their gait resembled that of a ferret, exhibiting smooth but hunched-up movements. When they sat back, their posture gave them the appearance of miniature kangaroos. The term "foreleg micromelia" was used to describe these cats, though they were also dubbed "Kangaroo Cats". Unfortunately, this strain was one of many established bloodlines which disappeared during World War II. Some reports suggest that the few surviving individuals had been neutered. Reports of these short-legged cats being eaten by starving Britons is exaggeration; even in the most prosperous times, many interesting British mutations have simply not been propagated by cat fanciers. In wartime, whole pedigree bloodlines died out.

The "Flatbush Mutation" was a localised variety noted (1950s?) in Brooklyn, New York, in the Vanderveer housing project in the neighbourhood of Flatbush (the housing project comprised numerous interconnected basements, bomb shelters and underground garages). A distinctive, peculiar-looking bicolour female stray cat appeared among the Flatbush stray population. She had short limbs, a short tail, a small, low-slung body and a narrow, slightly flattened head with short ears. More cats and kittens with this look appeared as the female produced kittens and several generations of Flatbush cats arose. This was probably a highly local, spontaneous mutation reinforced or fixed by inbreeding i.e. a breed began to evolve in urban Brooklyn. Unfortunately the mutation was lost probably due to new blood arriving in the area in the form of other strays or unneutered pet cats.

In "Zoologischer Anzeiger" in 1956, author Max Egon Thiel of Hamburg, Germany, described a cat that he had seen in Stalingrad in 1953. The cat had unusually short legs and was playing with its normal littermates. He had seen it sitting on its hind legs like with its front legs in the air so he called it the "Stalingrad Kangaroo Cat". The day before he was to return to Germany, the cat was taken away by a Russian physician and nothing more is known of it.

If it's an older dog

by Moosewood

It may already have a jistory of aggression with cats. Puppies raised with cats (esp goldens) usually do well with them. It helps to have a laid back cat that doesn't freak and run as that stirs up the prey drive. My boxers live with 2 cats (an old persian and fat mulazy munchkin) and other than occasionally annoying them trying to get attention, they leave them alone. They, however, were raised with these cats, and both know their boundries. From the described injuries, the dog bit the cat many times (is the cat declawed?). That's not good. You are at high risk of it happening again, especially if you don't know what the trigger for the attack was

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