I saw this cat on Cats101, on Animal Planet this morning before I head out to work. I was partly in love with this cat and his crazy name. But I also felt a bit uncomfortable with it, why would anyone create a cat with dwarfism, like it’s a designer cat?
The Skookum History
This cat breed is a mix between the Munchkin and the Laperm. Which resulted in a small, short-legged cat with a curly coat. With the aim on the short-legged feature and the curly coat. The original crosses were carried out in the 1990’s in the US by Roy Galusha, and other breeders joined the breeding programs, with breeders from the USA, Europe, New Zealand and Australia.
The Skookum is recognized as an Experimental breed by the Independent European Register’s, the Dwarf Cat Association and the registry Catz Inc in New Zealand. The breed is also accepted for registration by the International Cat Association as an experimental variety. But the use of the breed name has yet to be approved by TICA.
This breed looks very similar to the related breed the Munchkin. But with the curls from the LaPerm.
The head is a broad modified round wedge shape, and with medium large walnut shaped eyes, which are large in combinated with his head. The neck and body are normal but a bit thickish with a rounded chest and a good muscular structure, but the body should not look elongated, but tents to be more cobby, and the tail is often big and plummed.
The short legs have medium boning, the upper and lower forelegs are about even in length, just like the slightly longer hind legs. Their paws are well-rounded. The LaPerm coat has a soft light and airy texture, but it shouldn’t be really thick, but stand away from the body on fuzzy curls or waves. Female Skookum’s often have looser curls than the males. The curls shouldn’t ripple close to the body. They can be long or short-haired. Both long and short-haired Skookum’s should have curled whiskers and eyebrows. The rex type fur is low shedding and can come in any colour including Siamese points. Grooming should be easy as those kitties love to be brushed. Two times a week should be enough.
They female weights around 2 to 5 pounds (9gram to 2,25kg), while the male weights around 5 to 7 pounds (2,25kg to 3,17kg).
The Skookum is an affectionate cat, loves to play, And even though they are small they are athletic and love climbing and jumping around. They are smart, confident and very curious!
Make sure your Skookum comes from a good breeder because they are being bred for dwarfism mostly so you want to make sure that you don’t inbreed them. Otherwise you could have some limb deformities. Dwarfism could have issues. They may be more prone to back and joint problems similar to those afflicting Dachshunds and Corgis, but the prevalence of a short-legged back defect in these cats is now unknown.
If an embryo inherits the gene that is responsible for dwarfism from both parents (So Munchkin with Munchkin), it can be lethal. Breeding a short-legged cat with a normal-legged cat offers the optimal survival rate for the offspring. Another strange thing that affects the Munchkin, and might affect the Skookum is that some kittens are born with back feet that seem to curl backwards. This is not a deformity. It is quite normal for the breed and the feet will straighten out in time. Not sure if this is known for the Skookum as well.
Pictures by Pictures-of-cats.org.