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My family has a 2 month old shorthair munchkin kitten. They want her to have 1 litter of kittens, after which they were planning to have her spayed.

Since bringing her home, I have become aware that following Western standards, this is considered a problematic breed. Following my own research, my opinion has been that because she is already a member of our family, we should raise her to have as good a life as we can provide, but if munchkin cats suffer from health related issues as a result of their dwarfism, it would be unethical to allow her to breed further and bring more munchkin cats into the world who would certainly suffer from the same issues.

I live in an Eastern country. I am aware that the standards followed by vets here are different (more lax in some areas and more strict in others); we have asked a few vets in the area for their opinion, and they have told us that it is considered fine; that besides for visually having shorter legs, munchkin cats are otherwise just like any other cat, and that the dwarfism isn't a problematic trait in itself that would cause health problems.

Anyways, I was hoping for someone to explain to me what specific health related problems and challenges, if any, that munchkin cats will face as a result of their dwarfism that would make it unethical to allow our kitten to have a litter. It would be helpful if you could provide any references from recognized veterinary science sources.

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First I think it is great that you want to make an informed decision and not just breed more cats because you can.

There are several reasons why breeding munchkins can be a problem.

Inbreeding

As with all uncommon breeds, it is likely that some breeders have inbred munchkin cats to have a nice source of income. Inbreeding in itself can be a source of health issues. Maybe you can check your cats for hereditary diseases.

Health issues related to munchkin cats

One (not very reliable) source I found is this interview in which a vet talks about the possible diseases associated with munchkin cats due to their dwarfism.
I also found this article on the welfare of munchkin cats. They state that affected cats have a higher risk of joint diseases due to their build. One of the diseases that I found a lot during my research is osteoarthritis which is a painful disease that munchkin cats are prone to.
This site also states that most big pedigree associations refuse to acknowledge the munchkin breed due to welfare reasons. The site does not recommend breeding them.

What I mostly found during looking this up is that the breed is rather young and there are not many complete studies, like for example with German Shepherds.

Last but not least: Overpopulation

You will have to find a home for the kittens and even if you do, they might end up in a shelter. Many animals get euthanized every year because they are not adopted and there are just too many other animals.

Please always keep this in mind when breeding kittens.

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  • Voting up for the last point: humans in general just generate too much stuff, including other humans and pets. We need to change, and that includes not breeding pets when a surplus already exists.
    – sunrise
    Mar 3 at 0:43

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