Napoleon Cat: The Uniqueness of a Munchkin and the Beauty of a Persian

Napoleon Cat lying down and relaxing
Steve Corelli
Written by Steve Corelli

The Munchkin has certainly made a splash in the cat-loving community due to their characteristic short legs. Unfortunately, this breed doesn’t conform to a very strict standard, and even long-legged cats can be considered a part of the Munchkin family as long as they have the right set of characteristics. This was precisely the issue that the first breeder of the Napoleon cat, Joseph B. Smith, wanted to rectify.

Joseph B. Smith seems to have succeeded in achieving his goals. Napoleon cats are not just famous for being exclusively short-legged, but their characteristic Persian beauty also makes them stand out from the crowd. They also have a good temperament. They are affectionate, intelligent, tolerant of other pets, and they belong to an overall healthy breed.

Studio image of a brown napoleon cat

In this piece, we have brought together all of the necessary information and required details necessary to help you better understand the Napoleon cats. We will elaborate on subjects such as Napoleon cat personality, temperament, history, care, grooming, and so much more.

Breed Characteristics

  • Adaptability: Above Average

  • Grooming: Above Average Needs

  • Health: Good

  • All Around Friendliness: Very Good

  • Exercise Needs: Average

Cat Breed GroupSemi Long-Haired, Crossbreed
Weight5 – 9 pounds
Lifespan12 – 18 years

The first thing that makes us love the Napoleon cat is their tendency to exist in different colors. In fact, they come in every variety imaginable on the cat color spectrum. That makes them especially suitable for owners who may be very choosy about what kind of color they would like on their cat.

Aside from that, the cat is famous for their ability to maintain a fairly average weight throughout their life; you won’t have to monitor their feeding schedule too closely as they tend to do that for themselves. The Napoleon cat is one of the most recently discovered cat breeds. Despite coming into existence very recently, they are quickly gaining popularity among cat fanciers.

Likewise referred to as the Minuet cat in some regions, the Napoleon cat is labeled as a domestic hybrid breed by The International Cat Association (TICA). The reason for this label is explained in the sense that the cat was obtained from the crossbreeding of two other domestic breeds in order to combine the desirable qualities of both parents into one new breed.

napoleon cat lying on the grass

Following that definition, it can be inferred that the Napoleon cat is not an original breed—explaining why it hasn’t been in the book of cat fanciers for long. The decision to crossbreed, which led to the development of the Napoleon cat breed, was first borne to a breeder (Joseph B. Smith) in the late 20th century. The Munchkin was the first breed that was on his mind, but he did not like the fact that the breed existed in long-legged versions as well.

Hoping to have another breed of cats that stayed firmly within the short-legged window and could also come across as a purebred, he started working on a suitable other parent for them. It did not take long before he settled on the Persian cats as the other parents. That decision was partly because of the bone structure of the latter breed, and partly because of their beauty—a feature that he would like to keep, and that everyone is very grateful for today.

Close-up of a napoleon cat

Ever since the cat had earned the ‘Napoleon’ name for themselves, and up until 2015, could keep that title. However, the board of directors at TICA decided that the cat could no longer keep that name. They had it changed to Minuet instead. That decision didn’t cut across other cat fanciers organization, however, so the breed is still recognized under the former name by the Cat Fanciers Federation. Till date, though, the breed has not been officially recognized by the American Cat Fanciers Association.

Upon close observation, one can see which features the Napoleon cat inherited from which parents. The short legs are reminiscent of the limbs of a Munchkin—which is caused by a genetic mutation—whereas the roundness of the face and their silky hair are a nod to their Persian heritage. The original breeder was also able to keep the bone structure of the Persian cats intact in the Napoleon breed.

Over the years, many people have wrongly misjudged the cat to simply be a short-legged Persian, or a hairy Munchkin. Neither of these is correct. The evidence is shown in both the breeding information and the genetic makeup of the cat.

Napoleon kitten lying down on the floor

It should be reported that the length of their legs does not affect the cat’s agility. They aren’t going to win the gold medal on jumping anytime soon, no. But they run fast and are energetic as cats can be.

On their own, the Napoleon does not have a lot of health issues to be worried about. As is common with hybrid species, though, the Napoleon inherits some breed-specific health problems from their parents. The good news is that they can all be properly prevented to make sure the cat lives an enjoyable, healthy life.

Main Highlights

  • Two main features are common to the Napoleon breed. The first is the characteristic short limbs which have been inherited from their Munchkin parents. Then there is the round face (called a baby doll face) that they got from their beautiful Persian ancestors.

  • Napoleon cats have not been around for long, but they have gained a lot of popularity. Most of that is due to the beauty and cuteness of these cats.

  • Cat lovers have a lot of options to consider if they are going for a Napoleon cat. They are usually described as rainbow-colored cats, due to the fact that they exist in all color options particular to cats. As a plus, they exist in bicolor and tricolor variants too.

  • Due to their shorter hind legs, Napoleon cats are known for something called the ‘prairie dog stance,’ where they can stand on their hind limbs and perch up. This allows them to see farther, switch up play to make it interesting, and also makes them look cuter. Little wonder they are usually called the ‘puppies of the cat world.’

  • Due to their shorter legs, Napoleon cats are not very mobile. They cannot jump as long and far as other long-legged cats.

  • The breed is very affectionate, warm, and comes with a loving temperament. When treated with respect, they are devoid of any form of aggression—making them the ideal companion for kids and other pets in the house.

  • Napoleon cats are known to live up to 12 years on average. When properly taken care of, however, they can live to celebrate their 20th birthday.

  • Irrespective of what their short legs and smaller body may suggest, the Napoleon cat is very strong and can grow to be a very muscular cat.

  • If you plan to adopt a Napoleon cat, make sure that you will have time to spend with them. They thrive on the love, care, and attention that they not only receive but give as well.

  • One variation that can occur with the Napoleon cat, aside from the color, is the length of their hair. It is not uncommon to see them come with either short or long coats—which will, in turn, determine the level of grooming that will be needed.

Breed History

Joseph B. Smith, a breeder who was mainly interested in the Basset Hound, was intrigued by the sighting of a Munchkin cat in a Wall Street journal publication. According to the reports, he could not help but notice that some of the cats in the Munchkin family were non-conforming to a general mode of identification. He decided that something had to be done if there were to ever be a purebred one among them.

Putting that into consideration, he sought out the Persians as the other parent of the new breed he would create—mostly hoping to retain the bone structure and the beauty of the latter while holding the short-legged characteristic of the former.

napoleon-cute-kitten looking up to his owner

The new breed he created was truly beautiful in all sense of the word, and they came to be known in the TICA records as a Napoleon. In the year 2015, a move was made to rename the cat to Minuet instead. However, to this date, many cat fanciers still refer to the cat by their original name. That being said, there are still a number of other organizations that do not recognize the breed in their records.


Napoleon cats are small. Taking after the Munchkin in body size, they don’t grow to weigh more than 5 to 9 pounds. The males in the species will be noticeably larger than the females, but they will all still fall under the 9 pounds scale. Napoleon cats remain cute throughout their lives—standing at a maximum height of 8 inches. Like most cats that can grow to be as old as 15 years of age, the Napoleon cat will need anywhere between 3 and 5 years to develop fully. They can grow up to be quite muscular.

Personality and Character

The Napoleon cat proves to be an ideal option for anyone looking for a sweet, affectionate, warm, and loving cat. The cat is small enough to play around the house and not cause any problems. Although, that does not mean they are not mischievous, nor does it make them less curious than other kinds of cats.

Napoleon cats can grow so affectionate and bonded with their owners that they start to feel depressed when their owners are not around. While they might not follow you around all the time, they do like to register themselves as lap cats.

Two napoleon kittens sleeping together

If, as the cat parent, you won’t be around most of the time, you should get the cat company in the form of another cat or some toys to play with in your absence. Devoid of any modes of aggression (which can also be attributed to the genetic traits they inherited from the Munchkin, and partially, from the Persians), the cat will do well in households where you have children and other pets.

Health and Potential Problems

On their own, the Napoleon is a pretty healthy breed. That does not mean you should believe a breeder that tells you they’re 100% healthy though. You should still see a vet to vaccinate the cat against common feline problems such as the flu, enteritis, and other flea-related diseases they might pick up from being out in the open.

Little kitten walking on a wooden wall

We do suggest that you keep your Napoleon cat indoors as their short legs may prevent them from running away from the dangers they encounter outdoors fast enough. Owing it to their parents, a Napoleon cat runs the risk of developing health problems that are specific to both the Persian and Munchkin cat breeds. Some of the potential health problems you should prevent and look out for include:

Care Features

Most of the care your Napoleon cat needs from you will be your attention and love. They tend to grow very close to their owners, and other pets in the house too. They will constantly be depressed if you don’t dedicate enough time to taking care of them as usual. It is best to keep a Napoleon cat as an indoors-only cat for a variety of reasons. One of them is to prevent the cat from getting involved with strays (from where they can pick up various infections) or to get into mishaps with cars or bicycles (since these cats are short and not very noticeable from above).

Feeding Schedule

Napoleon cats don’t need any special kind of cat food but do be watchful to identify what kinds of foods your cat likes, make sure you mix things up (dry, semi-dry, and moist) and of course, check for allergic reactions to ingredients.

Munchkin and Napoleon cats

There is a less likely chance that a Napoleon cat will get obese, but do take note of their weight from time to time just in case. Get a solid feeding plan from a vet or a pet nutritionist, and make sure you stick to it. Regular cat food will do for your Napoleon, with the introduction of treats from time to time so as to not to be too routine.

It is understandable that you will want to feed the cat more during their formative years, but you should cut back as soon as they have passed the growth stage. Their growth stage should be anywhere between the first 3 and 5 years of the cat’s life.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

A Napoleon is one of those cats that cannot be judged solely by the type of coat they carry. Some of them will come with short coats, while others will sport a longer coat. They do come with a layer of undercoat, however, and as a result, their fur needs to be groomed rather frequently—preferably every day to get the loose strands out. As we have mentioned earlier, Minuet cats come in all kinds of colors, so you can have your pick.

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

There is no known record of aggression in Napoleons, making them a good fit for a household with kids and other pets. They are not advised for kids less than 6 years of age, as they might push the cat to react. Likewise, make sure that you train any other pets in the house to respect the Napoleon cat so that there can be a peaceful co-existence in the house.

Wrap Up

Getting a cat is a serious business. If you haven’t already seen it this way, know that the feline you opt for will be your buddy for the next 12 or 15 years minimum. With that at heart, you will agree with us when we say that this is one of these decisions that should not be made with the flip of a coin. If you have been doing your research on what breed to get, or maybe you’ve been to the breeder’s before, you would most likely have come across the Napoleon cat breed.

There is rarely a breed of cat that combines activity, warmness, affection, love, and beauty the way Napoleon cats do. With a tendency to live long, you are sure to have the company of your furry friend for a good while; expect years laden with fond memories.

Munchkin cat in a studio

The best part is that you don’t have to worry about your children and other pets in the house. When it’s a Napoleon, they will make everyone feel right at home with them.

Are you attracted to the uniqueness and beauty of the Napoleon cats? How about another cat breed that’s no less beautiful but easier to groom because they have no undercoat? Do share your thoughts with us and our readers in the comments section 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.