Dwarf cats can occur in any breed of cat that has a genetic mutation which results in dwarfism. The cat will be smaller and often has other characteristics like legs that are distinctly short compared to body size.
Two Types of Dwarf Cats
There are basically two types of dwarf cats. One is chondrodysplastic, which means short legged. These breeds were developed from the Munchkin and retain the Munchkin's small legs. The other type, commonly called a teacup cat, has a body that is proportionate, but it's just smaller than other breeds.
The Munchkin is a breed of dwarf cat that has the gene that results in very short legs. It is the founding breed of a number of other breeds that have been developed with this characteristic. In order to produce the short-legged feature in other breeds and create new varieties, the Munchkin was outcrossed with a normally proportioned cat with the hopes that the kittens would have the small stature and short legs of the Munchkin as well as the desirable trait of the other parent's particular breed.
The Bambino is a cross between a Munchkin and a Sphynx. It has the short legs and small size that the Munchkins are known for, but it also is hairless like the Sphinx.
The Kinkalow is a cross between the Munchkin and the American Curl. It has the curled ears of the American Curl with the soft coat of the Munchkin.
The Lambkin is a curly-furred, dwarf cat that comes from the outcrossing of a Munchkin and a Selkirk Rex.
The Minskin is a combination of Munchkin and Sphynx. It has short legs and a coat that is very sparse. It is a friendly breed that enjoys being held and played with.
The Napoleon is a cross between a Munchkin and a Persian. It has the short stature of a Munchkin, with a round face, round eyes and fluffy fur.
A Skookum is a cross between a Munchkin and a LaPerm. The is a dwarf cat with curly, soft fur.
Unlike the Munchkin based breeds, teacup breeds are correctly proportioned cats. Teacups just have a smaller size in every aspect. They tend to come from almost any breed and most do not have a separate breed standard.
A typical teacup breed female will weigh only two to four pounds and is less than nine inches tall when fully grown.
The MiniPers is one of the few teacups to have a breed standard. The MiniPers is a Persian dwarf cat that has a Persian look; this includes the fluffy fur and flat face. The MiniPers does not have the short legs of the Munchkin type. It has the same proportions as a standard Persion should, just on a smaller scale.
Buy From a Reliable Breeder to Prevent Health Issues
If you have your heart set on a teacup cat, be sure to ask around and buy from a reliable breeder. There can be health problems associated with teacups, including the following:
- Soft bones
- Bowed legs
- Weakness in limbs
- Heart problems including murmurs
- Susceptibility to head trauma
- Shorter life span
- Sterility due to malformed reproductive organs
By purchasing your cat from a reputable breeder you can better protect yourself from these issues.
No matter whether you get a dwarf cat at an expensive cattery or a stray at the local animal shelter, a cat is a lifetime commitment. Make sure that you can afford vet bills, proper nutrition and the other care that your cat will need. Give your cat plenty of affection, and you will be rewarded with loyalty and love.