Giselle is 2.5 pounds of love and pure feline joy as she adjusts to her foster home and the family who welcomed her despite her special needs status. This Munchkin cat has the breed’s short legs and a low-slung torso. Her size is considered small by all recorded standards, most females weigh between 4 and 8 pounds.
Unfortunately, Giselle is also blind, suffers from chronic joint pain, and has other health issues. This proved to be overwhelming for her first owner. After an extended time on the mean streets, she was rescued by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
Her current family fell in love with the little darling and she now is joyous part of the household. The residents include Tuna, a friendly dog Giselle is quickly winning over with her playful, outgoing persona. Her new warm bed and regular healthy meals have made her blossom. Her plush white coat and new-found happy face bear no resemblance to dirty, frightened creature who arrived at the shelter.
Despite her blindness and suffering from an unidentifiable deformity, she’s truly a survivor. Her innate intelligence allows her to move around the new household with ease, snuggling comfortably wherever she chooses. Her personality is brightening as she grows stronger and more active. Everyone involved is hoping that she finds a forever home with a loving, patient family very soon. A small home without stairs would be ideal for this charmer.
Munchkin cat breeding is a relatively new endeavor. The very short, bowed legs are a result of naturally occurring genetic mutation. Members of The International Cat Association (TICA) have voiced serious concerns about potential mobility problems and the overall health status of these tiny creatures. According to Guinness World Records, the smallest of the breed thus far is Lillieput, who is only 5.25 inches tall. Although short-legged cats have been documented since the 1940’s, currently Giselle and all other Munchkins are all descended from two Louisiana cats named Blackberry and Toulouse.
Studies conducted by veterinarians at Kansas State University determined that the short-legged trait has an autosomal (chromosome related) dominant mode of inheritance. The findings also included data proving that the small cats were not likely to have the spinal, back, and hip problems that are found in Dachshund and other short-legged dog breeds. TICA accepted Munchkins into its New Breed development program in September 1994. Despite continued ethical protests about its abnormal structure, the Munchkin achieved TICA Championship status in May 2003.
Most often Giselle and special needs animals are classified as less adoptable. Many shelters participate in “Adopt A Less Adoptable Pet Weeks” to call attention to these circumstances. Animals with health problems may wait as long as two years to be placed, nearly 4 times as long as the average pet. The more important statistic is that almost all owners stress the pleasures and rewards of taking in an animal that needs assistance. And the lovely, loveable Giselle is certainly the poster child for happy endings for abandoned special needs animal population.