Her name was Grumpy Cat (or Tardar Sauce to her family and friends), and she grabbed the attention of the internet when she was only months old. Soon her grumpy face became a viral meme. She inspired art and merchandise and eventually got advertising deals and even a bestselling book. Despite her death in 2019, her grumpy face lives on in our memories, but what breed of cat was she exactly?
There’s been some debate about whether she had Persian, Ragdoll, or Snowshoe genes. However, the short answer is that Grumpy Cat was a Domestic Shorthair with feline dwarfism.
Grumpy Cat’s Mum and Dad
It’s unclear exactly where Grumpy Cat inherited her unique appearance. Her family didn’t breed her, and they mentioned that she looked nothing like her parents. Grumpy Cat’s mother was a Calico Shorthair, and she had a Tabby father.
Grumpy Cat’s unique face was due to a genetic condition called feline dwarfism, and she also suffered from another congenital condition known as an underbite. It is characterized by the misalignment of teeth or malocclusion.
So, what exactly is feline dwarfism, and what did it mean for Grumpy Cat? Feline dwarfism, or achondroplasia, is the abnormal development of cartilage and bones caused by a genetic mutation. It leads to stunted growth, and cats affected by the genetic mutation generally have small, stocky bodies with shortened legs, underbites, and abnormally large heads.
While dwarf cats have been known to lead perfectly full and happy lives, the condition can lead to medical issues. Despite this risk, dwarfism has been selectively bred in Munchkins because the cute characteristics and tiny size are attractive to breeders.
It has some other breeders wondering if the practice is unethical. Short legs can make it harder for dwarf cats to climb around, leading to complications like osteoarthritis and obesity. Grumpy Cat was not a result of selective dwarfism; thankfully, she could get around just fine.
The Munchkin mutation was first spotted in 1983 in a litter of stray kittens in the United States. Of course, short-legged cats had been seen several times since the 1940s, but it was the first time the kittens were bred to recreate the accident. Few cat registries recognize them as pedigree cats because of the controversy surrounding them. TICA (The International Cat Association) and the Southern Africa Cat Council are the only registries that recognize them as a breed.
Grumpy Cat probably has one of the most famous faces of the past decade. However, her popularity sparked a debate about the controversy of breeding health problems into cats because we find the characteristics charming. Thankfully, Grumpy Cat was not bred to look like she did, but many cats are. So, even though she’s gone, Grumpy Cat continues to affect the world around her.