Have you ever wanted a cat that looks like a young kitten, even when it’s fully grown? This popular type of cat, which includes dwarf, teacup, and miniature versions, has become increasingly common. It is important that you consider pet insurance for miniature cats should you be thinking of having one for a pet.
Dwarf cats get their name from their genetic condition. They have an endocrine malfunction, which means that their growth is limited. The dwarfism can occur within many different breeds and are bred to ensure that their offspring have a smaller stature too.
Dwarf cats include a variety of popular breeds, such as Munchkin, Minskin, Lambkin, Banbino, Kinkalow, Napoleon, Skookum, and Dwelf. Each of these is the result of cross breeding between various small cats. For example, the Lambkin is part Selkirk Rex and part Munchkin.
The Munchkin breed was the first type of smaller cat. It has been around since at least the mid-twentieth century. An individual in Louisiana owned a cat that gave birth to a litter of abnormally small kittens. The owner gave them away because of their shorter legs. Other litters were recorded Russia and New England. Now, there are a wide variety of dwarf cats to choose from.
The coats, size, and personality traits differ slightly amongst each dwarf cat type. In general, the dwarf cats weigh between 5 and 10 pounds when fully grown. For comparison, a normal-size cat can weigh up to three times that amount.
Miniature and teacup cats are not a recognized breed type like dwarf cats. Instead, they are simply smaller versions of normal-sized cats. They are selectively bred to be smaller when they reach adulthood. Teacup cats are even smaller than the miniatures, only reaching 9 inches in height and between 2 and 4 pounds.
The other main difference between dwarf cats and the miniatures and teacups are the length of their legs. Dwarf cats are slightly larger with short legs, while the other two types are smaller in general—their legs are proportionate to the rest of their body. Miniature and teacup cats are as small as kittens when fully grown. As a buyer, be aware that some breeders and pet stores will try to sell young cats as miniatures or dwarf breeds, when in fact they have not finished growing.
Getting to Know Your Cat
Let’s take a closer look at one of these smaller cat breeds, the Munchkin. According to the International Cat Association, their short legs should not be viewed as a handicap. Munchkins are full of energy, and can run and jump just like a normal-sized cat. The TICA states, “Munchkins are the same as every other cat-except they have short legs, speed & exceptional cornering skills, and a great deal of love to offer their devoted owners.” Munchkins are very social, curious, and enjoy children and other pets.
Unlike dog breeds with shorter legs like Dachshunds and Corgis, Munchkins do not suffer from spinal issues. Their mobility is not hindered by their small stature and they will be sure to surprise you with their speed and agility.
Some people argue against purchasing a dwarf, teacup, or miniature cat because it encourages the proliferation of cats with deformities. Dwarf cats occasionally have health issues because their legs are disproportionally shorter than the rest of their body. They may also have a developmental disorder.
Experts have recognized other specific problems with dwarfs, miniatures, and teacups, including:
- Weak or soft bones and limbs
- Legs that are bowed
- Heart problems like murmurs
- Brain problems like seizures and increased likelihood of head trauma
- Reproductive issues like sterility
- Shorter life
Purchasing your cat from a reputable breeder may prevent these issues, but it is no guarantee. Make sure to ask questions before purchasing your cat and obtain any medical records indicating vaccinations, spaying/neutering, and other treatments.
Veterinary Discount Plans
While it might not be fun think about the potential risks involved in owning a dwarf, miniature, or teacup cat, you should still be prepared in case your feline friend falls ill or has an injury. Thankfully, there are ways to save money if you need to take your cat to the veterinarian.
Veterinary discount plans (VDPs) offer savings on medical services and treatments. Considering the fact that veterinary services have increased 58 percent since 2004, this is a welcome opportunity to save money. A VDP is inexpensive to purchase through your employer or pet association and there is no limit to the amount of money you can save during the life of your miniature cat.
Many of us own pets and would go to any length to help keep your furry friend healthy. With a VDP, you can go to any number of in-network veterinarians and pet stores. The savings range between 5 and 35 percent for each service or treatment your cat receives. Even if you have pet insurance, you can saving an additional amount using your VDP.
If you are considering owning a miniature cat, take advantage of a VDP plan and save money as soon as you meet your new feline friend.
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