Monday, September 24, 2012

Cats A-Z: B (Blackberry)

Image is 4" x 3.75"


What a relief to come out from under that pickup truck. She is so tired of gravel and debris. The life of a stray is hard. She is pregnant, and wanting more for her kittens. Her legs might be stumpy, but those short legs are the key to future glory. Her descendants won't scavenge for leftovers or hide from dogs. They will be prim and pampered, eat well, and win prizes.

Blackberry was the grandmother of all Munchkin cats. In 1983 an American music teacher discovered two pregnant cats with unusually short legs under a pickup truck. The one she named Blackberry gave birth to a kitten named Toulouse, and it is from their line that all registered Munchkins descend. Munchkins are a new breed of cat to be officially recognized by The International Cat Association. So new, in fact, that there are ongoing debates over whether it is ethical or not to breed these cats, distinguished by their extremely short legs. Some fear that Munchkins will suffer back, hip, and leg health problems, and thus these critics discourage the propagation of the breed. Others argue that there is no evidence that Munchkins' short legs cause health problems. They also point out that stray Munchkins flourish alongside more typical cats and that the autosomal dominant gene that causes Munchkins' short legs has repeatedly appeared in genetic mutations in several separate lineages.

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