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Munchkin Cat Lifespan and Care Tips

Posted: 01/01/2024 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Uncategorized

The Munchkin cat is an adorable juxtaposition covered in fur. In one instance, the breed is known for its dwarfism, that is, its short little legs. At the same time, it is also known for its speed. Munchkins are also very playful and energetic. If you are thinking about bringing this breed into your life, you’re most likely wondering about the Munchkin cat lifespan.

We’ll cover life expectancy for this breed, as well as common health issues and things you can do to ensure your fur ball lives a long and happy life.

munchkin cat lifespan

Origins of the Munchkin Cat

Where did this adorably short fur baby come from? It turns out the breed was first discovered in Louisiana in 1983. Their short legs are a result of a genetic disorder known as pseudoachondroplasia, which is a long word for short-limbed dwarfism. So nature basically created this cat breed through genetic mutation.

Our modern day Munchkin cat has a direct lineage to a pregnant stray cat that was known as Blackberry. Blackberry and another kitten were rescued by a music teacher named Sandra Hockenedel. She gave one of the short-legged kittens to a friend of hers and the two cats became the founding stock of this breed. And in fact, Sandra and her friend loved their adorably genetically-mutated cats so much, they established an official breeding program for Munchkin cats with other breeders.

How Long Do Munchkin Cats Live?

There is some controversy surrounding how this breed came to be and the potential health issues due to the genetic mutation. Because Munchkin cats are a relatively new breed, there is limited data regarding average lifespan. That said, what we have seen so far is that with proper care, a Munchkin has the ability to live an average lifespan of 12-15 years, which is on par with many other cat breeds.

Common Munchkin Cat Health Issues

When bringing any breed of dog or cat into your life, it’s important to learn what health conditions they may be at risk for developing. The following are some common potential health risks of the Munchkin cat:

Genetic Disorders

Gene mutation is definitely an issue with this breed. Poor breeding can lead to unhealthy kittens and even litters that will not survive. You should absolutely do your homework to be sure you find a quality breeder who tests for genetic mutations and ensures the health of their litters.

Obesity

Any cat is at risk of becoming obese if not fed a proper diet and getting enough exercise. While it’s not healthy for any breed, obesity can be a real issue for Munchkins, who have the potential to develop other health issues like arthritis and diabetes.

Lordis

Lordis is a condition where the spinal muscles do not grow long enough. The result is the spine can shrink and “pull” slightly downwards, which puts pressure on the heart, lungs and trachea. The condition can be mild, or it can be fatal. It usually presents in kittens and in severe cases, the kitten won’t live past 12 weeks. Those kittens who survive with mild cases can live a fairly normal life. However, they may experience shortness of breath during robust physical exertion. 

Arthritis

Those short little legs increase the risk of Munchkin cats developing arthritis, a painful and degenerative disease of the joints. This is why weight management, proper nutrition and daily exercise is so important for this breed.

Retina Atrophy

Munchkins are prone to a group of inherited retinal diseases characterized by progressive degeneration of the retina. The retina is located in the back of the eye and is responsible for receiving light signals and sending that information to the brain. Any deterioration of these light-sensitive cells can potentially lead to blindness.

Ensuring Your Munchkin Cat Lives a Long and Healthy Life

As we mentioned, the Munchkin cat can live well into their teens provided they have been given proper care. The following are some guidelines to help you help your fur baby live their best life!

Proper Diet

We’ve learned that Munchkins and obesity don’t mix! Be sure you are not only feeding your cat a quality cat food but also the right amount. We always advise cat parents to ask their vets about the right food and right amount.

Daily Exercise

While Munchkin cats in general are considered an energetic breed, each cat is an individual. You may find your cat is one of those that prefers to nap the entire day away. If that’s the case, you’ve got to be their champion and motivate them to get up and move! This cat is also very curious and intelligent, so include interactive puzzles that exercise their mind as well as body.

Regular Wellness Checks

As we just saw, Munchkin cats are prone to their own health issues, as well as the common health issues all cats can develop. Cats are also very stoic, which means they hide their pain when they are ill or injured. For these reasons it is important to bring your fur baby in for frequent checkups. A yearly wellness check is fine for younger cats, but vets typically recommend 2 checkups a year for senior cats.

Keep Your Cat Indoors

Indoor cats have a longer lifespan. That’s because the outdoors is where predators, speeding cars, pesticides and other hazards “live.” Keeping your cat an indoor only cat will help them to stay healthy and alive!

Pet Insurance

Keeping your cat healthy into old age requires that you get them treatment should they experience a sudden and serious accident or illness. But can you really afford to pay a vet bill in the thousands of dollars? Most pet parents can’t, which is why they are enrolling their cats into a pet insurance plan that will offset the cost of care. Sometimes by as much as 90% of the bill.

If you’ve been thinking about enrolling your fur baby into a pet insurance plan but weren’t sure which providers were best, here are the top providers based on reviews from pet parents just like you:

 

Top Pet Insurance Providers of 2024

RatingProviderTotal Review
4.9Embrace14,463
4.9Healthy Paws7,498
4.9Trupanion60,410
4.9Fetch2,378
4.9Lemonade795
4.8Nationwide21,394
4.8Prudent Pet125
4.7ASPCA11,508
4.7Hartville164
4.7PetPartners111
4.7Spot5,787
4.6MetLife528
4.5Pets Best7,216
4.4AKC889
4.4Figo2,619
4.3Pet Assure12
4.3Pumpkin1,257
3.2ManyPets2,268

Final Thoughts

When it comes to the Munchkin cat lifespan, it boils down to lifestyle more than anything else. Yes, these cats are prone to certain health issues, which is why it’s so important to choose a quality breeder. In addition, make sure your cat is getting the proper diet, daily exercise, and yearly wellness checkups, and you should be able to spend many happy years together!

References:

  1. https://veterinaryvisioncenter.com/progressive-retinal-atrophy-in-cats/
  2. https://www.dailypaws.com/cats-kittens/cat-breeds/munchkinhttps://www.dailypaws.com/cats-kittens/cat-breeds/munchkin
  3. https://www.petmd.com/cat/breeds/munchkin

 

Disclaimer

The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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