The Kinkalow dwarf cat is a deliberate out-cross (a hybrid) between the founding dwarf cat the Munchkin and an American Curl. An “out-crossing” is a form of breeding when unrelated cats parent the chosen offspring. This is in contrast to “line breeding” when cats that are related are bred.
The breed was established in the mid 1990s by Terri Harris (the first elected Munchkin Breed Clair in The International Cat Association -TICA). They are dwarf cats with curled ears as expected. They do not carry the hairless gene (e.g. as for the Sphynx and Bambino). Terri named her first Kinkalow “Munchkinlanes Kinkalow Louie” (see below). You can read about the naming of dwarf cat breeds including the Kinkalow, by clicking on this link.
Registration and Health
The Kinkalow is registered as “Experimental Kinkalow” with the TICA. As to the parents of the Kinkalow they are the Munchkin, the founding dwarf cat and the American Curl. The Munchkin’s dwarfism came about by the spontaneous (i.e. natural) mutation of a gene that controlled the production of cartilage, which as a result lead to shortened legs particularly the front legs.
Some people think that the dwarf breeds have been developed deliberately through some form of genetic engineering, resulting in some kind of monster cat, flawed with poor health. This is not true. As I have mentioned before these cats are generally no less healthy than cats of normal leg length. It really depends on the breeder. This is, though, a fairly new breed of cat so there are still some uncertainties surrounding the breed in respect of health and life span.
Good breeders will always focus on the health of the cat as well as the appearance and strike a good balance between the two. Health always takes priority, however. The American Curl is a strong and healthy cat, remarkably free of the genetic defects that affect some purebred cats. They are, as expected, characterized by their ears, which curl back from the face toward the center of the back of the skull. American Curl kittens are born with straight ears. They begin to curl within ten days.
The American Curl originated as the result of a spontaneous mutation of a gene of a cat with “normal” ears. They were discovered in 1981 in California and developed from that date (hence “American”).There are both long-haired and short-haired varieties which have soft, silky coats. The Kinkalow is being better established across the USA. There is a wide variety of dwarf cat breeds, all of which can be seen on this website.
Update: 1st May 2008 – Kinkalow Dwarf Cats, it seems, are being registered by TICA. Breeder HoBBiTcaTs. At March 2017, I believe that Terri Harris is no longer breeding the kinkalow. Her website appears to be down permanently. If I am wrong please correct me in a comment.