Last updated: November 22, 2017
As I have said a million times before (at least) on this forum, cats are the most beautiful creatures on earth (and probably the universe) but they don’t get the credit they deserve for being sweet, affectionate and friendly. Those people who say they are ‘aloof’ have obviously never been owned by a cat. Of course, like people, cats have different personalities – there are the rampaging Bengals, Savannahs and Maine Coons who need to be busy all the time! Then there are the quiet, loving sit-on-your-lap ones like Russian Blues, Persians and Minuets, our cat of today. This one’s a real sweetheart, so read on…
‘Round’ is the most appropriate word for this little sweetheart. They have sweet round faces, round cheeks and a domed forehead, all finished off with the biggest, roundest eyes you have ever seen! They also have cute little tip-tilted noses, small erect ears, and to me, they look a bit like teddy bears. Their tails are oh-so-fluffy, and their coats are gorgeously soft and thick, and come in both long and short varieties in a veritable rainbow of colors! The Standard variety has characteristic short legs. The Non-Standard has long ones, but there is no mistaking that he is a Minuet because of his sweet round features. However, they are classed as medium-sized cats, despite their short legs, because of their sturdy bodies and strong, well-muscled physique. They weigh between 5-9 lbs, and usually live for 12 – 14 years.
The Minuet cat breed began when Joseph B. Smith, a breeder of Basset Hounds and American Kennel Club judge bred a Persian to a cute, short-legged breed of cat called the Munchkin (awww…!) These little darlings are quiet and sweet like the Persians, but can also be deliciously funny and playful like the Munchkins, so really you’re getting the best of both worlds! It is called a hybrid breed because, like Savannahs, Bengals and a few others, it is developed from two other breeds.
Munchkin cats evolved from one spontaneous genetic mutation which causes the long bones in their limbs to grow shorter, hence the stubby legs. Since it is a dominant gene, it will pass it on to its offspring, and this is how one half of the Minuet inheritance came about. The breed originated in the early 1980s with a short-legged rescue cat who bore short-legged kittens. The lady who rescued them gave one to a friend, who allowed the cat free access to her property and soon the neighborhood was filled with stubby-legged cats! The Munchkins were registered in 1994 and achieved Championship Status in 2003. Persians, of course, go back a lot longer than that – all the way back to the end of the 19th century, in fact!
When Smith saw a picture of the Munchkin in the newspaper one day he loved the look of the little cat, but felt that it looked too similar to other breeds, so he decided to try making a new breed, one that had an exotic appearance and looked like a pedigree cat. He chose Persians for this reason. He outcrossed the Munchkins to the Persians and the result was a short-legged breed with the soft furriness of a Persian. The name of the breed was initially called ‘Napoleon’ after the very short French Emperor. He used the doll-faced Persians, which have longer noses, as breeding stock, rather than the modern ones with their extremely snub noses and flat faces.
In 2001 The International Cat Association (TICA) was asked to recognise the breed, and it was granted Experimental Breed status. In 2002 it had advanced to Registration Only status. This one more stage towards Championship Status, when the breed is fully recognised. The name ‘Napoleon’ was changed to ‘Minuet’ in 2015 by TICA, but it is still known by its former name by other organisations such as the Cat Fanciers Federation (CFF). Several organisations still have to recognise it, such as The Cat Fanciers’ Association, American Cat Fanciers Association, and Federation Internationale Feline.
Ah! We now need to find out how many times he’ll have to visit the local Superhero Vet!
Happily, this is not a cat who will need much attention apart from the usual vaccinations, allergies, and normal cat problems.
Because of their Persian heritage, however, there are health problems which often come to the fore in the Minuets which are not serious, but very uncomfortable for the cat. Most of these however, will be screened out before any cat is allowed to breed.
Stenosis of the Nasolacrimal Ducts (Blocking of the tear ducts)
Epiphora (over production of tears)
Matting Prone Coats
Entropion is a genetic problem whereby a part of the eyelid is turned in towards the eyeball, causing irritation and scratching the front surface of the eye.
Flat facial features – these can lead to misalignment of the teeth to the extent that some teeth may have to be removed. If the Minuet suffers from any of these traits they will not be bred from. There is one very serious condition, though.
Polycystic Kidney Disease (KDP) – this is a really awful condition. It is incurable and progressive, but fortunately, there is a genetic test for it. All Minuets should be checked for it and those who are found to be positive for this condition are not used for breeding purposes.
Another thing to remember is that two short legged Minuet
cats, must never be bred together. If two versions of the short-legged cat gene (often called the lethal gene) get together the embryo will die, but non-standard cats can carry the dwarf gene and will often give birth to dwarf kittens, so it’s perfectly OK to breed a long and short-legged, or two long-legged cats.
The Minuet has a sweet, gentle and loving personality from its peaceful Persian side with occasional bursts of sheer naughty playfulness which it inherits from its Munchkin forebears. They are incredibly nosy little feline people who can get into some pretty hair-raising mischief sometimes! They have to be satisfied that they haven’t missed a thing, so they’re very curious. They are not great jumpers because of their short limbs but they are pretty good mountaineers. They are quite capable of sprinting with those little legs too and their speed should not be underestimated! Minuets bond well with their humans, often ‘keeping an eye’ on them by following them around like shadows just to see what they are getting up to, because they just love their people! Having said all that, they will very readily stake a claim to your lap when it suits them, which is often! They are often called ‘the puppies of the cat world!’
Buying and Caring cost analysis
Minuets have fur that doesn’t tangle and mat easily, so they really are easy maintenance. The shorter haired variety does the job just about single handed and only needs a comb through once a week or so to remove dead skin cells. The long-haired variety may need to be brushed more often, perhaps twice a week, but it is still a very easy cat to take care of. Apart from that there is the usual cat maintenance stuff like cleaning ears, trimming claws – and don’t forget those teeth! Cats are very prone to tooth and gum disease.
There are other things you can do for your cat’s health and welfare, which, though not strictly necessary, are just – well – nice! Put up a perch near a window, particularly if you have a bird feeder outside. Just don’t expect them to jump up there! You may even hear them ‘chattering‘ if you do this! Give them lots of toys, especially the interactive ones that you can play with together. And laser pointers never fail to amuse and amaze! If you have an indoor only cat they need this kind of exercise to stay fit and healthy anyway. Lying about looking cute is all very well, but cats are natural hunters, and anything that stimulates those primitive instincts is a great way to go to both exercise and keep your cat entertained. In the wild, cats expend most of their energy on hunting, self-defence and looking after their ‘patch.’ a house cat doesn’t have to bother about that so they can become fat and lazy if not stimulated. Even something as simple as a crumpled up ball of paper can keep your fur bucket amused for ages, and believe it or not, you can now download some online games just made for moggies! Yes! I kid you not!
Pricing of kittens, as always, will vary from place to place, but a good average is
(STANDARD KITTENS with short legs) $1000 – $1200 including sterilization costs.
(NON-STANDARD with long legs) $500, although I have seen them as low as $250.
You may also want to factor in the cost of shipping, which can cost as much as $300.