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Will a Munchkin Cat Get Along With Dogs? Temperament & FAQs

Bynewsmagzines

May 3, 2023
munchkin cat sitting next to a dog

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munchkin cat sitting next to a dog

It’s no secret that cats and dogs don’t always see eye to eye. Felines are often caught hissing, growling, and hitting their adversaries. Dogs, in turn, bark, whine, and bite. However, that doesn’t apply to every single breed. For example, the Munchkin cat is a loving, caring, and affectionate pet. More importantly, it often sees canines as friends, not enemies.

And the best tool in a pet parent’s hands is, of course, early socialization. With the right approach, it’s very well possible to help the Sausage cat befriend your doggo. So, how do you build the foundation for that? We have the answers right here!

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Munchkin Cats: Nature’s Wonder

Officially recognized in 1991 yet documented since the 1940s, the Munchkin is a fascinating cat.1 It has a unique physical property caused by a genetic mutation: the legs of a Munchkin kitty are 2–3 inches shorter compared to most felines. However, that doesn’t prevent it from being playful and energetic. These felines are not only fun but also smart and create very little havoc around the house.

Now, short-legged cats weren’t at all common before the 80s. However, in 1983, a Louisiana teacher found two pregnant cats seeking shelter underneath her car. She kept one of them, and most of her kittens were born with short legs, laying the foundation for Munchkins in the States. This deformation is caused by the heterozygous gene, by the way. So, a Sausage cat born without this gene will have normal-size legs.

munchkin cat stalking its prey
Image Credit: Four_Bee, Shutterstock

Do These Cats Get Along With Dogs?

The short answer is yes, they do.

One of the best things about Munchkin cats is their peaceful, positive energy. They are quick to find common ground not only with humans but with canines as well. While it won’t always be “love at first sight”, Munchkins are often called the best cats to have around dogs. Most cats are afraid of dogs and either run away and hide or try to establish dominance.

That’s not the case with this breed, though. It’s naturally drawn to all God’s creatures (humans or animals). Even if you have a large doggo in the house, like a Cane Corso or a Newfoundland, it won’t really matter much. So, if you want to have both species living under the same roof, this is your best bet.

How Can You Help “Break the Ice”?

Even if you’re the proud owner of a friendly doggo like a Spaniel or Golden Retriever, you’ll still need to take certain steps to ensure a smooth integration for the Munchkin cat.

Here’s what you can do to help the two pets “hit it off” right and avoid unwanted consequences:

  • Personal space. When the cat first arrives at the house, see that it has its own corner, a safe space where the dog can’t reach it. While the Munchkin is, indeed, an open-hearted, sweet-tempered cat, it might still be a bit intimidated by the canine that’s been living with you for a while.
  • Different rooms and bowls. Never let the cat or the dog get close to the other pet’s food bowl or crate. If they’re caught “in the act”, that will create hostility. Besides, the nutritional needs of cats and dogs vary greatly. Ideally, you should keep the cat in a separate room.
  • No physical access just yet. Give the pets some time to get acquainted with each other from a distance. Even though the furry buds won’t be able to see anything, the sounds and the odors will give them away. Next, move their food bowls close to a wall and keep them on either side of it.
  • Easy does it. When you’re finally ready to introduce your dog to the new member of the family, do it on neutral grounds, a room that the pets will share later. The dog needs to be leashed, even if it’s a tiny pooch. Do this 2–3 times a day for a week or so to establish a trusting relationship.
  • The final stage. Alright, now you can remove the leash. Don’t leave the room just yet, though. The moment you notice any signs of anxiety or aggression, go a few steps back and try again. Yes, this could take a while, especially if the furry friends are adults, not pups/kittens.
young cute munchkin cat sitting on the table
Image Credit: This road is mine, Shutterstock

Do Munchkin Cats Take Long to Adapt?

Naturally, this breed easily adapts to new faces and environments. So, if you move to a different house, city or introduce it to new pets, the Munchkin won’t need months to get used to that. However, Sausage cats don’t like to be left alone for too long. They get attached to their favorite humans quickly and often suffer from separation anxiety.

Tips for Keeping a Munchkin Cat Safe

Another thing that makes these felines stand out is their kitten-like behavior. In contrast to most cats that mature quickly, Munchkins stay curious and playful well into their adult years. So, don’t be surprised by a fully-grown Sausage cat’s desire to explore every single corner of the house and “stash” things it likes.

And remember:

  • Safety first. Dogs are much stronger than cats, but felines are incredibly flexible and can escape by climbing up a tree, roof, shelf, and whatnot. Sadly, that’s not the case with the Munchkin cat, as it’s got short legs. That’s why it’s so important for it to have personal space where it’s 100% safe.
  • No aggression allowed. Some dog breeds, like Terriers and Greyhounds, won’t tolerate a feline in the house—no matter how much socialization you put them through. If you own such a dog, it will NOT be a good match for a Munchkin. They’ll easily corner it, and that will lead to a disaster!
Munchkin Cat Outdoor
Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

Common Health Problems: A Quick Look

Munchkin cats don’t necessarily have deformed backs. Their spines are slightly shorter compared to other cats, though (due to chondrodysplasia), and they’re prone to lordosis. Some Munchkins suffer through constant pain because of this; others aren’t really affected that much. Still, this is one of the reasons why breeding Munchkins is prohibited in many countries.

And here’s a list of the most common health issues:

  • This disease targets the joints and bones. If your cat is limping, chances are, it’s suffering from osteoarthritis. Another common sign is when the feline stops jumping up and down elevated surfaces.
  • Is your Munchkin eating tons of food yet still can’t seem to gain weight? Then it might have a high metabolic rate caused by spiking levels of the thyroid hormone. When left untreated, hyperthyroidism leads to various heart conditions.
  • A form of cancer, lymphoma primarily attacks the feline’s kidneys, GI tract, and chest. Chemotherapy is the best remedy here. Unfortunately, lymphoma often comes back. But, if it’s not very aggressive and you diagnose it at an early stage, the Munchkin will be able to have a normal life with lymphosarcoma.
  • Pectus Excavatum. When the ribs and the chest bones of a cat grow improperly, that could be caused by pectus excavatum. Again, much like with cancer, the sooner you find out about this condition, the better. Surgery is the only solution here, and it’s recommended to do it while the pet is 8–12 weeks old.
  • This is a common term that describes a wide range of bladder/urethra diseases. If the poor thing is crying when urinating or you’re seeing blood in the pet’s urine, that means it’s suffering from FLUTD. Other signs include low urine output and constant licking of the private parts.
  • Damaged urinary tubes or deformed/injured kidneys: that’s what causes uremia. The cat’s body uses urine to remove toxins from its body. So, when the feline can’t urinate properly, those toxins build up, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and other side effects. Regular vet visits will help catch it at an early stage.
  • Constant vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and lack of appetite and energy are all common signs of pancreatitis. This condition is not unique to Munchkin cats, however. It’s recommended to hospitalize the pet where it will be treated via IV fluids and special medication.

white fluffy munchkin cat

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Conclusion

As far as the most easy-going cats go, Munchkins are right on top of the list. Charming and affectionate, they are near-perfect pets for big families. And, in contrast to most felines, they don’t automatically see dogs as a threat. If you put some effort into socialization, you should be able to turn a potential rivalry into a beautiful friendship.

Practice patience and adopt a positive attitude and you will see the fruits of your labor. While the Sausage cats are a dwarf breed, they are very curious and energetic. So, don’t rush anything, never hesitate to take a step back, and give the pets time to warm up to each other.


Featured Image Credit: Varvara_Gi, Shutterstock

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