The name of this cat might have just spelled out just what it is; “min” represents its miniature legs and “skin” reflects its unique coat of hair, or lack thereof. It is possible to guess the ancestry of this cat from its appearance. It all started with Paul McSorley, a cat breeder from Boston, Massachusetts. He wanted to develop a cat that possesses mini legs and fur that is restricted to the points of extremities, resembling that of the Siamese Cat’s color points. McSorley crossed a few cats together to get the new look of this breed.
The Minskin is a mix between a Munchkin and a Sphynx with the Devon Rex and Burmese being introduced at a later stage of the breeding program, which started in 1998. By the early 2000s, McSorley finally achieves the breed standard that he desired and by 2005 the cat fanciers were able to increase the number of Minskin to more than 50. The Minskin is still a very rare breed at this stage. The International Cat Association (TICA) is the only cat registry that is monitoring its development and also the only one to give it the Preliminary New Breed status.
Physical appearance and attributes
The Minskin is a small to medium sized cat that weighs between 4 - 6 pounds. One of its characteristic features is its short legs, which in turn make the body appear longer than it actually is. The body is of a stocky type, sturdy in outlook and feel. This is also contributed by its solid and strong neck, shoulders and hips as well as a well-developed chest. Even though the legs are short, the hind legs do appear slightly longer than the forelegs. Another interesting feature is its long tail, which might extend to be longer than its body.
The Minskin has a head that displays rounded contours and appears wider than it is long. This is due in part to its high cheekbones and a relatively short and rounded muzzle. The chin is firm and strong and the whisker pads are prominent. Viewed in profile, the nose is considered medium length and straight with a slight stop between the eyes. Atop the head is a pair of large alert ears that are wide at the base and that follow the contours of the head. The eyes of the Minskin are large, rounded and set wide apart.
Its other characteristic feature is its very sparse coat. Though appearing coatless, it's not completely bare. Its skin is covered by a dense down that is denser at the extremities. Like the Sphynx, the coat makes for a warm and velvety touch. It can come in any patterns and colors, including solid, tortoiseshell, tabby and color-point.
Personality and temperament
This is an eager little cat packed with curiosity about its surroundings. It is especially people oriented and loves to be handled, making it also an excellent companion for children, adult and even the elderly. This extends to other cats and dogs as well.
There is no sense of inferiority despite its stature, but it is marked by its sociable, outgoing and affectionate nature. Its movement is not restricted by its short legs in any way. With its athleticism, agility and intelligence, running, climbing onto high places and of course onto cosy laps are no issue for the Minskin.
Care and health issues
As the Minskin is a cross between the Munchkin and Sphynx, it might suffer health issues that are related to these two breeds. These include lordosis, which is an exaggerated inward curvature of the spine as well as pectus excavatum, which is a deformity that causes a sunken chest. As this is a considerably new breed, its lifespan is undetermined; however, it is estimated to be an average of 10 years. In order to ensure that the cat Minskin you are going to purchase is healthy, it is important to make sure that it has undergone health screenings to certify that it is not contracted with any genetically related or common feline diseases.
Grooming the Minskin would require a little more effort than expected. Since there is a lack of hair to absorb the skin oil, the Minskin would need to receive regular bathing with cat safe shampoo to keep its skin healthy and supple. It will also need to be protected from cold or from extreme heat, thus calling for extra warmth or sun block according to weather changes. The ears tend to accumulate more than other typical cats, thus cleaning the ears with a cotton ball moistened with a gentle cleanser should be carried out whenever necessary. Other basic grooming care should also include nail trimming and teeth brushing.
The ideal home
This is an indoor breed partly because of its sensitivity towards extreme heat and cold. It requires a family that will be ready to take the effort and time to care for it in the aspects of grooming and interactions. As a sociable, outgoing and non-destructive breed, the Minskin can be suited for most types of household. Family with kids would be happy to know that the Minskin can play well with children. This bundle of joy would be an ideal companion to any responsible owner, bringing much amusement to everyday life.
Photo by Paul McSorley - CC BY-SA 3.0