Rare Cat Breeds: The Kinkalow
The Kinkalow cat is one of the more recent hybrids (“designer cats”) to be created. This breed was formed by deliberately breeding a Dwarf Munchkin with an American Curl. Established in the mid 1990s, by Terri Harris, this breed is registered with TICA (The International Cat Association) as “Experimental Kinkalow”.
Kinkalow cats have a unique appearance, with their shorter than normal legs; with the front the shortest (due to the mutated gene of one of its parents, the Dwarf Munchkin), and their unusual ears which curl dramatically towards the center of the back of their heads (a trait predominant in the American Curl breed). The combination of these two unusual traits results in their delightful appearance.
The bodies of the Kinkalow resemble their dwarf parentage with a compact body that is short and stocky. However, because the gene for dwarfism is not dominant, it is possible, though uncommon, to have both short-legged and long-legged kittens within one litter. Because their body type resemble their Munchkin heritage, their tails are sometimes longer than their bodies. Males weigh between 5 and 7 pounds and the females approximately 3 to 5 pounds.
The Kinkalow’s fur is soft and sleek, can be short or long (but is predominately short), and comes in a variety of colors such as black, orange, grey and cream, and patterns like tabby and calico. Kinkalows will be born with straight ears like most feline breeds, but within ten days to two weeks, you will see the ears begin to curl. It is important to note that the curled ears trait does not always appear in all litters even though they will still possess that gene. Because this is still an experimental breed, and reasonably new, it is difficult to estimate how frequently that occurs.
A welcome addition to any home, the Kinkalow has a playful and happy disposition and is very affectionate. Their high intelligence makes them fun to own and extremely easy to train to do things such as sit and fetch, as well as any canine. A feline which possesses confidence and a keen sense of alertness, the Kinkalow is comfortable in any home, even those with other pets. They have a pleasant and calm personality, love attention and are eager to please.
It is thought by many that the dwarf breeds have been created by deliberately selecting breeds who possess some sort of genetic flaw to control their appearance, which unfortunately may result in a breed with poor health. Although the Kinkalow is a reasonably new breed, they possess the health of their American Curl heritage, which is a strong and exceptionally healthy breed free from the genetic defects and disorders that plague a lot of the more common purebred breeds.
When choosing a Kinkalow, make sure you have done your research and chosen a breeder with high standards who has elected to put the health of the cat as a priority above the appearance when choosing its breeding stock. Due to the short time the Kinkalow breed has been in existence, it is still difficult to estimate their lifespan and expected health until the breed is more established; however, they do appear to have the lifespan of the American Curl.