The Bambino cat has an appearance that challenges the typical idea of how a cat should look like. This is a hairless and short-legged cat. Both the hairless gene (from the Sphynx cat) and the short-legged gene (from the Munchkin cat) are naturally occurring mutation purposely combined to create the Bambino.
Its development started with Pat and Stephanie Osborne of Holy Moly Cattery, when they first got hold of one and took special interest in its appearance and personality. Research was conducted on the cat’s health before it was established as a viable breed in 2005. Having an Italian heritage, Pat chose the name Bambino – an Italian word for baby – to reflect the breed’s kitten-like appearance and personality throughout its life.
Founded by Stephanie and Pat, the first Bambino litter was naturally registered under Holy Moly Cattery. Stephanie and Pat later applied for the cat’s registration status under The International Cat Association (TICA) in 2006. Seeing the cat as a new experimental breed, TICA decided to accept the Bambino for registration. The Rare and Exotic Feline Registry (REFR) has also appropriately recognized the unique Bambino.
Physical appearance and attributes
This is a medium-sized breed with medium boning. It weighs an average of 8 pounds, about 4 pounds lighter than the average weight of most cat breeds. The body is medium in length with a broad chest that may tend towards being barrel-like. It has a well-rounded abdomen that makes it appear as if it had eaten a large meal, but it does not qualify for being fat. The legs are short with a firm musculature and the hind legs are slightly longer than the front legs. They taper into medium sized paws that are oval in shape with long, slender and prominent toes. It has toes pads that are evidently thicker than most other cat breeds, making it seem like it is walking on air-cushions. The tail is well-proportioned to its body with a whip-like appearance. A lion-puff, i.e., a puff of hair at the tip of the tail, is acceptable.
Bambino has a modified wedge head with rounded contours. It appears slightly longer than wide with a rather flat forehead and prominent cheekbones. Viewed in profile, a slight to moderate stop can be spotted on the bridge of the nose. This also creates the two flat planes that begin from the forehead to the tip of the nose. The muzzle is strong and rounded with distinct whisker break and a firm chin. Set atop the head is a pair of strikingly large ears that is broad at the base. Slight amount of hair may appear on the lower outer edge and the back of the ears, while the interior of the ear is hairless. The Bambino cat has large lemon shaped eyes that are spaced at slightly more than an eye width apart. The head is carried on a medium length neck that is rounded and well-muscled. An imaginary arch from the shoulder to the base of the skull can be traced.
The Bambino cat may be totally hairless or wear a short, fine down that is imperceptible to the eyes and that gives it a peach-like texture. It also has short and sparse whiskers on its whisker pads. Being hairless has also allowed the wrinkled skin to show. It is ideal that the adult retain as many wrinkles as possible, though it should not be to the extent that it affects the cat’s normal function.
Personality and temperament
While the Bambino may appear small in build, it is big on its personality. This hybrid was put together in the hope to produce a dwarf breed with an athletic build and a mild but lively and outgoing personality. The result was as desired, with affection, which comes naturally with the Bambino, being added to the list. Being short-legged does not hamper the Bambino’s ability, and it is as capable as other average cats to leap onto high perches. Also being energetic and active, the Bambino can often be seen racing and playing around the house. It loves children and can get along well with other family pets. It can take being handled very well and loves to be cuddled since it receives both love and the needed warmth. It is an intelligent and quick-witted breed, being able to adapt well to new environments and changes.
Care and health issues
The Bambino was said to be able to live up to an average of 12 years or above, even though its actual lifespan is unknown since it is still a rather new breed. There are no known genetic or hereditary health issues faced by the Bambino breed. There has been a concern over the breed having spinal issues due to its shortened leg bones, but such a concern is unfounded as the cat’s spine remains unaffected by the genes that are responsible for their shortened legs. An annual vaccination could help prevent the cat from contracting any common feline diseases. It is also advisable to obtain a written health document from a qualified breeder when purchasing the cat to ensure that the cat is healthy.
Even though it is a hairless cat, the Bambino actually requires more efforts in grooming than other average cats. Since there is no hair that could help absorb the skin oil, regular bathing will be needed to keep the skin clean, soft and supple. This will also help prevent house furnishings from being stained by its skin oil. Attention should also be given towards cleaning the ears and trimming the nails whenever necessary as residues can build up in these areas. Brush the teeth frequently with vet-approved toothpaste to promote an overall good oral health.
The lack of insulating coat also makes the cat more sensitive to temperatures, thus it needs to be kept warm or cool according to the changes in temperatures.
The ideal home
The Bambino is an indoor cat and needs an indoor adventure zone to alleviate boredom. If it is ever let outdoor, make sure that the space is safe and escape proof. You will also need to make sure that it is well-protected from the sun by applying a layer of sunscreen on its body. Equip playing areas with interactive toys, cat trees and cat gym sets to promote a hearty and active growth. The Bambino is a friendly, sociable, adaptable and affectionate breed; it is suited for most types of household, bringing endless entertainment and love to the home. This breed, however requires the family to put in the time and effort towards grooming and caring for it.
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