Kinkalow: The Best of American Curls and Munchkins

peach kinkalow cat
Steve Corelli
Written by Steve Corelli

Choosing the right pet is always a challenge as we all want something special from our next furry best friend. With the Kinkalow, you can easily find this extra touch of “special.”

This breed offers a lot of new experiences even for veteran cat owners. This is a cat with curly ears and short legs—definitely not a combination you encounter every day.

The Kinkalow’s unique physique is more of a feature than a detriment because so far, no genetic health issue has been reported or associated with their unique bone structure. They are curious, playful, gentle, and adaptable—a great family pet.

Below we will go into detail over all of the Kinkalow’s specifics—namely their short history, physical traits, as well as character traits. We will also help you decide whether the Kinkalow is the right cat for you or not by discussing their care features and compatibility with other members of the household.

Breed Characteristics

blue-eyed kinkalow kitten with rose

  • Adaptability: Good; may need some special accommodation thanks to their short legs

  • Grooming: Moderate; needs regular brushing

  • Health: Good; so far no known major issues

  • All Around Friendliness: Good

  • Exercise Needs: Moderate; can be quite active but not hyperactive

Cat Breed GroupSemi Long-Haired, Crossbreed
WeightMale: 4 - 7 pounds
Female: 3 – 6 pounds
LifespanAs a new breed, the average lifespan of the Kinkalow cat is yet to be determined.

The Kinkalow’s history is very brief as they were newly created in the 1990s from a crossbreeding between an American Curl and a Munchkin, but this cat is a truly special breed.

These cats are smaller than even their Munchkin parent, but this doesn’t stop them from being very playful, curious, and energetic. Kinkalows love to follow your every step and be a part of all your daily activities.

Kinkalows love to rest and have a nap anywhere as long as they are near you. They are also very healthy—at least judging from what their short history has shown so far. You shouldn’t expect much veterinary trouble from your future Kinkalow buddy.

Main Highlights

  • The Kinkalow is considered to be an experimental breed, but their unique features are not the result of any genetic experiments. They are the result of a simple, random mutation, and don’t come with any health problems.

  • The breed seems to have taken all the best features of its parental breeds—the short legs and long bodies of the Munchkins and the curly ears and exceptional health of the American Curl.

  • The Kinkalow is quite active and will try to climb up to whatever surface her short legs allow her. This disagreement between the breed’s physique and desires is positively adorable. Try to give your Kinkalow plenty of easy places to climb and explore.

Breed History

lack kinkalow on red background

The breed is a cross between a Munchkin cat and an American Curl. Credited for the cross is American breeder Terri Harris—who decided to experiment in the 1990s.

It was a deliberate cross as Terri wanted to try and mix her two favorite breeds and see what would happen. Fortunately for everyone, the result was outstanding.

The Kinkalow inherited all the best features of its two parent breeds—the cute short legs and longish body of a Munchkin as well as the exemplary health and cute curved ears of an American Curl.

The breed’s history since the 1990s doesn’t have much that needs to be mentioned. There isn’t much information on whether Terri Harris or anyone else has continued to refine the breed. For now, the standard for the Kinkalow cat breed is its initial outlook—short legs, elongated body, and curly ears.

For now, the Kinkalow cat has been granted an “experimental breed” status by The International Cat Association (TICA) and is recognized by The Dwarf Cat Association (TDCA). Fans of the breed are hopeful that it will be recognized by more and more groups in the future.


calico kinkalow kitten

Kinkalow cats are exceptionally small even by dwarf cat standards. Even their already small ancestors—the Munchkin cats—“look down” on the Kinkalow.

The average weight of an adult Kinkalow is 3 to 7 pounds. The head of a Kinkalow is relatively small and has a nice round shape to it. Coupled with their adorable small heads and curled ears, most uninitiated people can be excused for mistaking an adult Kinkalow for a small kitten.

The low build and the short legs of the Kinkalow are interestingly coupled with the cat’s long body. The tail itself is also quite long and in some cats can be longer than the rest of the cat’s body. These cats tend to feel heavier than they look.

Personality and Character

black and white kinkalow playing

While unusual in size, the Kinkalow possesses the friendly and playful nature that we love in most cat breeds. They are energetic—which makes them great for homes with children—as well as for any cat owner that enjoys playing with their cat.

See Also: How to Play with Your Cat

Funnily enough, Kinkalow cats also enjoy climbing wherever they can. They are not really good at it—thanks to their unique physique—but that doesn’t stop them from trying. If you build some climbing racks, shelves, and construct them low on your home’s walls, you can make your Kinkalow cats extremely happy.

See Also: Cat Bridge DIY

The Kinkalow isn’t hyperactive, however. They also love to sleep and rest, to be petted in your lap, and so on. Friendly and gentle, this breed loves all the affection it can get.

What’s more, Kinkalows are also very curious. They love to explore every area of their home, as well as to follow their human around. A communicative breed, the Kinkalow loves to be talked to while observing your daily activities.

See Also: How to Talk to Your Cat

For some reason—maybe their physique—Kinkalow cats love to sleep on their backs. While this may not be much of a personality trait, it’s extremely adorable and opens up the opportunity for much-appreciated belly rubs.

Health and Potential Problems

tabby grown-up kinkalow

Contrary to what you might deduce at first glance, the Kinkalow is a very healthy breed. The cats seem to have inherited this from their American Curl ancestry.

As a new breed, we don’t have enough medical history to determine all the specifics, but so far there hasn’t been any reports on significant genetic health problems that you need to be aware of. Even though Kinkalows have the short legs of a Munchkin, they don’t seem to have any health problems related to this condition.

The short legs themselves were not an intended feature; they were just the result of a genetic mutation. This condition is often referred to as achondroplasia in both Kinkalows and Munchkins.

However, achondroplasia is typically associated not just with short legs but also with large heads, and this is not present in these two breeds. The condition is also sometimes referred to as hypochondroplasia or pseudoachondroplasia.

Although their Munchkin ancestors were long speculated to be susceptible to spinal problems, upon X-rays and other tests, no such problems were found. Two conditions that Munchkins are nevertheless likely to develop are lordosis (excessive curvature of the spine) and pectus excavatum (hollowed chest). However, neither of them was found to be inherent in Kinkalow kittens.

That being said, there are reports of Kinkalow kittens with genetic health problems, but so far all of them seem to come from non-reputable breeders.

In order to make sure that your kitten will have the best possible chance of avoiding such health problems, it’s paramount to only talk with trustworthy pet breeders. A good breeder will provide you with health clearances for both parents of your Kinkalow kitten.

The breeder will also be able to give you health certificates for all the health tests that your kitten has gone through. If you get your Kinkalow kitten from a reputable cat breeder and give your cat the best of care, your furry friend will live a long and healthy life.

Just remember that Kinkalow cats are as susceptible to common health issues as the next cat. That’s why you’ll have to take them to the vet for regular checkups, vaccinations, and make sure they live in a conducive environment.

See Also: Cat Vaccination Schedule

Care Features

black kinkalow cat

The Kinkalow doesn’t require any atypical care that other cats don’t. You might want to brush your Kinkalow’s teeth once per day or at least once per week. Dental care is one of the most undervalued aspects of caring for a feline. This is because cats tend to keep their toothaches to themselves. Even if your cat’s entire jaw hurts, she will likely keep this hidden in an attempt not to display any weakness.

You can tell if your cat has toothaches if she has trouble eating dry food. That said, dry food is also important for the good dental hygiene of a feline, so while wet food is generally better health-wise, keep some dry food in your cat’s diet as well.

Brushing a cat’s teeth is problematic for most cat owners, but if you know how to do it right, you can turn it into a pleasurable experience for your cat.

See Also: How to Brush Cat Teeth

The eyes and the ears are also areas which will require some attention. Check them daily for any unusual elements and if needed, use a damp cloth to clean them. Remember to use different parts of the cloth for the two eyes of your cat because you don’t want to spread infection from one eye to the other.

Other than that, there’s not much else you need to do. Don’t forget to clean your cat’s litter box at least once per day, or preferably, twice. Also, remember to change your cat’s water daily as cats can refuse to drink stale water and dehydrate themselves. A DIY cat water fountain can usually solve this problem permanently.

See Also: DIY Cat Water Fountain

Feeding Schedule

grey kitten with an apple

In terms of feeding, although they have a unique physique, Kinkalows don’t require any specific feeding routine. Feed your Kinkalow cat as you would any other cat of similar size.

Although, the Kinkalow can feel heavier than she should be for her size, thanks to her short legs. As such, it is slightly easier to overfeed a Kinkalow kitty and not notice it immediately. As with any other pets, pay attention to the general fitness and physique of your cat. If she’s getting overweight, adjust her food accordingly.

See Also: How to Make Cat Lose Weight

As far as the food goes, Kinkalow cats don’t need any special food. Regular cat food will do the trick as long as it is of a high enough quality. You don’t ever want to feed your cat poor quality cat food. Not only will that be unpleasant and unsatisfactory for the kitty, but it will also result in a lot of health problems that will cost you later on.

You might also want to feed your cat different cat foods for diversity’s sake. A mix of wet and dry food should give your Kinkalow a well-balanced diet.

As for the feeding schedule itself, most people feed their pets twice per day—once before work and once after. We typically recommend that cat owners feed their pets at least three times per day.

We know this may seem challenging at first since most people are away from home for at least 10 hours every day for work. However, three meals per day make a huge difference when it comes to your cat’s health and comfort.

If you are wondering how to fit three meals into your schedule, remember that they don’t need to all be spaced with 8 hours. You can make the schedule look more like 10/7/7 or 11/7/6 and feed your cat before work, after work, and before bed.

Even something as unevenly spaced as this is much better than a 12/12 schedule of just two meals per day.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

calico kinkalow cat

As is the case with all cats with medium length coats, the Kinkalow does require a certain amount of care. Brush your Kinkalow’s coat three times or more a week to ensure that your cat will have a gorgeous, shiny coat at all times.

Do this gently and with respect, and your cat will quickly learn to enjoy it and view it as a form of affection. This way you will not just give your cat a reason to smile because of how nice it feels, but you will also reduce the amount of hair that she ingests (and later pukes in the form of an unpleasant hairball).

See Also: How to Clean Up Cat Vomit

As far as the colors of the coat go, there aren’t any breed regulations, since this is a rather new breed. You can find Kinkalow cats with all-white, all-black, bi-color, or tri-color coats.

As long as the cat is from a reputable breeder and is certified as a Kinkalow, you can be certain that it is such. The breed is not hypoallergenic, so even if you find a short-haired Kinkalow, don’t think that she’ll be okay for allergic people.

See Also: Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

To answer the most pressing question of most people: yes, the Kinkalow is quite suitable for homes with children. It is a highly adaptive breed thanks to its gentle but playful nature.

As with all cats, remember to teach your kids to be respectable. Even the most mild-mannered feline can easily “lose it” if a child is dragging her by the tail, throwing her in the air, etc.

As for dogs, cats, and other pets, the Kinkalow’s friendly nature makes it a good fit for homes with other cats and cat-friendly dog. “Cat-friendly” means that the dog should not be aggressive towards cats and that he or she shouldn’t be too hyperactive. The Kinkalow may be playful and energetic, but she’s not as energetic as some small dog breeds.

See Also: How to Introduce a Cat to a Dog

As far as other pets like rabbits, ferrets, birds, and fish, there isn’t enough history of Kinkalows’ interaction with other pets to make an accurate judgment. Cats, in general, don’t fare too well with prey-like pets, but the Kinkalow’s friendly nature and small size make it a probable fit for homes with cat-friendly rabbits and ferrets.

Wrap Up

grey kinkalow kitten

If you are looking for a cat with a truly unique look, the Kinkalow is a breed you should consider. Adorably small with very cute legs and head, this breed is sure to melt everyone’s heart. Surprisingly, it is also very healthy—which means you can look forward to a better and more comfortable life for both you and the cat.

In terms of personality, the Kinkalow is very playful and curious without being hyper-energetic. Such a cat will love to play with you, will follow you wherever you go, but will also love to snuggle in your lap for some petting.

Do you think a Kinkalow cat is precisely the extra addition that your household needs? If you’d like to take a look at another mini-sized cat before you make a decision, check out the Singapura cat in this article. Do you have any prior personal experience with a Kinkalow cat? Since this cat breed is so new, we appreciate any information or advice about caring for them. Please comment in the box below.

About the author
Steve Corelli
Steve Corelli

Steve Corelli is a Pet Nutrition Expert from Allentown, Pennsylvania. He is the author of many nutritional strategies for different breeds and a member of some Pet Food development teams. His Maine Coon Stephan, as you might guess, is always well-fed.