When researching for a new pet to own, you may have stumbled across the Munchkin cat. But how big do they get, on average, and what kind of size can you expect from them? Intrigued by this rather cute breed of cat, I spent some time researching them. I will be sharing all the information I was able to find regarding their proportions in this article here today.
So, how big do Munchkin cats get? Munchkin cats typically reach between 5-7 inches in height and weigh around 6-9 pounds when fully grown. They generally reach their full adult size by the time that they are 9-12 months old. The Munchkin cat is therefore considered a medium-sized breed. Factors that influence their final size include nutrition, general health, quality of life, and other environmental factors.
If you have seen any pictures of the munchkin cat, then you will immediately be drawn to their somewhat unique appearance.
The Munchkin cat has short stumpy legs and a long spine. In many ways, it comes as no surprise to learn that this particular feline is considered to be the Dachshund of the cat world.
Beyond this, Munchkin cats are thick-bodied with a rounded chest, making them look out of proportion in many ways.
As such, this breed has a rather distinct way of moving; besides they do need to navigate around with what they have got to work with.
Munchkin cat movements are in many ways akin to ferrets, where they are relatively low to the ground and quite sprightly. They do not really command the gracefulness as other longer-legged cats.
Let us now take a closer look at the average size of this breed, along with when you can expect a kitten to reach their full grown adult size.
We will also be looking at some of the size considerations you will need to take into account, as an owner.
So, if you are contemplating getting one of these cute and distinct cats, be sure to keep on reading to discover and find out exactly what you can expect in regards to their size.
Average Munchkin Cat Height, Weight And Size
Munchkin cats have legs that are three inches shorter than the common house cat; otherwise the rest of the body is typical of the average house cat.
Most adult Munchkins reach 5-7 inches in height and weigh 6-9 pounds. This feline is affectionately equaled to the Dachshunds of cats. Some even call this cat a “sausage cat.”
The munchkin’s short limbs result from a genetic mutation and are the most defining feature of the breed.
These cats have coats that come in different styles and color combinations that can be either short-haired, long-haired, or hairless.
Either type is well-weathered, and the coats give off a somewhat silky appearance. Long-haired Munchkins will have a plumed tail.
Regardless of their short legs, these cats let nothing stop them; they love to play and explore the world around them – they are an energetic cat breed just like most cats.
This cat can adapt well to most living situations due to their size, but they do still need enough room to run and play.
Besides, they do need to work up enough speed on their little legs to gain momentum!
Munchkin cats cannot jump on top of a bookshelf in a single leap like so many other cats, but they still are capable of and enjoy jumping.
Instead, it is commonly accepted that a Munchkin cat has only 50% of the jumping ability of other cats. Sofas, beds and couches may be out of the question depending on their dimensions.
For this reason, its a good idea to get your cat a cat tree with a low entrance, so that they can explore heights with more ease.
Equally, if you can set up your environment to support and assist them here, it will go down very well.
That is of course, if you do not want them jumping up on certain surfaces or having access to specific areas.
Do Munchkin Cats Stay Small?
Munchkin cats stay short their entire life due to a genetic mutation. This is what gives them their distinctive stubby little legs trait.
This cat’s breeding is controversial because some believe that it encourages normalizing and promotes physical deformities in cats.
While it is true that short-legged cats have always existed, the earliest recordings of such are only as early as the 20th century.
One thing that is for sure is that the American Munchkin cat is purposefully bred to be short-legged.
The current breeding process involves matching one Munchkin, regardless of gender, with a cat who does not possess the short leg gene.
This is because the mutation will always be fatal when two Munchkins breed together. Even with this cross-breeding, the mutated gene will always be dominant over that of the normal cat. The result will be Munchkin litters.
We do need to consider that breeding a cat with short legs is generally for us humans and not necessarily for the cat’s benefit.
Short-legged cats may look cute, but it does not give this breed any advantages, make them happier or healthier.
On a lighter note, a munchkin cat is the world’s shortest living cat.
In 2013, a tortoiseshell Munchkin named Lilieput, from Napa, California, made it into the Guinness World Records as the world’s shortest living cat.
The cat stood a mere 5.25 inches from the bottoms of her paws to her shoulders.
So, whether or not this information is going to impact your decision on getting one is a decision that you will need to make.
It does depend on your stance and opinions, both from moral and ethical perspective.
But one thing is for sure, these cats are typically bred properly and in similar ways to other breeds.
It just depends on whether or not you feel it is mean, or wicked, to own a cat with this limitation.
At What Age Are Munchkin Cats Fully Grown?
Munchkin cats are fully grown between 9-12 months old.
While they are shorter in stature than other household cats, they are longer in the body.
One observation from many owners, is that males are generally anywhere from 5-20% taller and heavier than the females. At their size, its not too much difference mind you.
Either way, kittens of all breed put on weight rapidly during the first few weeks of life. We can see their typical growth rate below:
|Age||Average Weight (In Pounds)|
|1 Week||0.3 – 0.6 lbs|
|2 Weeks||0.375 – 0.875 lbs|
|3 Weeks||0.75 – 1.1 lbs|
|4 Weeks||0.75 – 1.3 lbs|
|5 Weeks||0.875 – 1.8 lbs|
|6 Weeks||1 – 2 lbs|
|7 Weeks||1.2 – 2.3 lbs|
|8 Weeks||1.4 – 2.6 lbs|
|10 Weeks||1.8 – 3.1 lbs|
|12 Weeks||2.2 – 4 lbs|
|16 Weeks||4 – 5.5 lbs|
|1 Year||5 – 8 lbs|
As you can see, most of a Munchkin cats growth happens within the first 16 weeks of life.
During this time a lot happens:
- First 1–3 Weeks: Eyes and ears open,
- Between Weeks 3-5: Begin walking and using the litter box,
- Between Weeks 6-8: Start socializing and receiving first vaccinations,
- Between Weeks 9-12: Move onto solid foods and maturing
It is at the 3-6 month mark that you will likely bring your Munchkin cat home. As you can see from above, a lot of their growth will have already been completed by this time.
They will however, continue to put on weight gradually over the course of the 7-9 months in your care.
At one year of age, when they tend to stop growing – they will no longer be considered a kitten.
As this stage and generally speaking, Munchkin’s legs will typically be at least three inches shorter than most other cats.
Despite their different walk and jumping challenges, Munchkins are relatively healthy, living between 12-15 years on average.
One thing to be aware of for this particular breed is that some kittens suffer from a condition called lordosis – which makes the muscles grow too short that the spine shrinks into the cat’s body.
This illness can be fatal in extreme cases.
Some Munchkins are also affected by pectum excavatum – a deformity that causes the cat’s breast bone to descend inwards.
Other cat breeds can suffer from either pectum excavatum or lordosis, and for this reason, many breeders contend that these conditions are not breed-specific.
Equally, they are considered somewhat rare. If you were to suspect your cat is suffering from a growth abnormality, then it is best to seek the advice of a veterinarian whom will be able to examine and support your cat however they may need it.
Munchkin Cat Size Considerations For Owners
Munchkin cats do not require any extra medical care or attention than other breeds. Their needs are similar to most other cats.
Certain factors can however, impact their overall size. While some are definitely genetic, others are on the onus of the owner – and are usually related to nutrition general care.
So let’s elaborate on these factors to give you better insight into caring for a Munchkin cat, if you did decide to get one:
Diet and Nutrition
Munchkin cats require the same quality diet and nutrition as any other domestic feline. In other words, they do not have any specific dietary needs or requirements.
These cats are still medium-sized and their weight and body mass is not affected by having short legs.
The optimum diet for your cat is a wet food diet, but you can also leave out dry food for your cat as a snack.
You should feed your cat in accordance with their size, weight and age. Feeding them at specific times and ensuring that they are not allowed to overeat.
Better yet, if you have any concerns regarding your cat’s diet, you must discuss the matter with your vet.
You need to be particularly proactive with this breed, and ensure they stay within a health weight.
In the instance that your cat is too heavy, obese, is older or has diabetes; you will need to make arrangements accordingly.
Remember, there is a lot of additional work required by their shorter legs here, and jumping and general movement is added pressure and strain.
It goes without saying that you will always need to provide fresh, clean water for your cat as they need suitable hydration at all times.
Munchkins are generally healthy. However, the continuous breeding of dwarfism has taken its toll on some cats within the breed, their health and their size.
While many will argue that there is no proof that the mutation contributes to any health issues, keep in mind that the breed was only made official in 1991.
We do not have the records as we do for other breeds.
Nevertheless, many health problems that impact final size arise from the conformation of the body, resulting in bone problems. These include lordosis, scoliosis, osteoarthritis, and pectum excavatum.
While these are not munchkin specific conditions and while they can be inherited in any breed, it is important to be aware of them.
Let’s look at these diseases in more detail.
- Lordosis – This disease mainly affects kittens, and it occurs when the muscles grow so short that the spine shrinks into the cat’s body. This disease is often fatal.
- Scoliosis – This condition is congenital and is an abnormal position or curvature of the spine. With a robust wellness plan and regular check-ups, cats with scoliosis can live a long and healthy life despite looking different.
- Osteoarthritis – This is a degenerative condition of the joints whereby the normal cartilage in the joints breaks down. It can be challenging to diagnose cats with this disease as most cats can bear severe orthopedic illness because of their agility and small size. Clinical signs include loss of appetite, weight loss, depression, poor grooming habits, urination or defecation outside the litter tray, inability to jump on or off objects. With appropriate veterinary care, cats with osteoarthritis can live many years despite how they look.
- Pectum Excavatum – This is a deformity that causes the cat’s breast bone to descend inwards. This congenital malformation of the costochondral cartilage and sternum is relatively common. Clinical signs include weight loss, pneumonia, postural deficits, coughing, and dyspnoea. Some cats have no outward signs and go on to live normal lives, while others with moderate to severe deformities require surgery.
In the event of any of the above conditions being inherited by your car, your veterinarian should be able to detect them early and devise a treatment plan accordingly.
Nevertheless, it is important you get your kitten examined early to ensure that if any condition is present, it does not have a long-lasting impact on the growth and quality of life of your cat.
While the above conditions can also be somewhat scary to think about, there are many treatment options available and its important to remember that any breed of cat can suffer with them.
In other words, they should not prevent you from considering the munchkin breed.
Despite being a relatively new cat breed, where they were officially introduced to the public in 1991, the Munchkin achieved championship status in 2003 by The International Cat Association.
They would not have done so without being a generally healthy cat.
The household can be a dangerous place for a cat, even if they appear to know exactly what they are doing at all times.
This is especially true for the Munchkin whom faces the odds to jump and climb to begin with.
While this cat does not often take on challenges it does not believe it can overcome, there is always risk of fall and injury.
Munchkin cats are striking in appearance; medium in size but being 3 inches closer to the ground than is common in other cat breeds.
For this reason, Munchkin cats do not jump very high and may not be as graceful as other cats.
That being said, this cat is generally happy, healthy and contented in their given environment.
Munchkin cats are playful, and they like to explore their surroundings, so you should encourage them to do so and let them.
Getting a range of cat toys and climbing frames comes recommended, which will help them to access higher areas.
All in all, owners commonly report that their Munchkin cat is easily trained, affectionate and intelligent. They are very well-suited to be indoor house cats and make great family pets.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.