The Skookum cat breed arises as a result of a cross between Munchkin and LaPerm cat breeds. The former provides them with their short legs and the latter results in a curly-haired coat.. Skookum cats are affectionate, loyal, sociable and loving companions. They are also very active and playful, always looking to jump up on things despite their stubby limbs.
Skookums are very small cats, even being considered as one of the dwarf cat breeds. Despite their small size they are strong and muscular cats. The breed's origin is from the United States and it is a very recent breed. The first specimen only appeared in 1990. If you want to know more, keep reading this AnimalWised breed file to learn about all the characteristics of the Skookum cat, as well as their origin, care, health and more.
- United States
Origin of the Skookum cat
The Skookum cat breed comes from the United States and was created by Roy Galusha in 1990. Galusha was fascinated by both the Munchkin and LaPerm cat breeds, so he decided to cross them. From this point on, other breeders did the same in New Zealand, Australia and Europe.
It is not yet a consolidated breed in large cat associations, being considered as experimental breed in the dwarf cat association, the New Zealand cat registry and independent European cat registries. The TICA (the international Cat Association) is also aware of the breed, but they have not yet been approved for a breed standard. Being an experimental cat breed, the Skookum can be seen at some cat shows in Australia, the first champion being ‘Little Miss Moppet’, bred by Twink McCabe. However, they are not allowed to participate in most competitions.
The name of Skookum refers to their appearance and comes from the Chinook language. This belongs to an Emerindian tribe in the northwestern United States and means ‘powerful’ or ‘great’. Despite their diminutive appearance, they are very strong cats. The word Skookum was also used to refer to good health or good spirits and to show that something is to a person's liking.
Skookum cat characteristics
As we have already mentioned, the Skookum cat breed is small in size and has shorter bones than other cat breeds. They also weigh less than most cats. Specifically, males weigh between 2 and 3 kg (4.4-6.6 lb) and females between 1.5 and 2 kg (3.3-4.4 lb). This is practically equivalent to 50% of the weight of a standard adult cat. Among their main physical characteristics, we can highlight the following:
- Muscular, short and robust body
- Short legs, forelimbs longer than hindlimbs
- Small, rounded and wedge-shaped head
- Rounded and compact paws
- Rounded neck and chest
- Large, walnut-shaped eyes with great expressiveness
- Curly and prominent eyebrows and mustaches
- Large, pointed ears
- Long, hairy tail, rounded at the end
- Soft, curly, short or medium hair.
Male Skookum cats tend to have more hair than females. If you want to see similar specimens, take a look at our article on cat breeds with wavy hair.
Skookum cat colors
The Skookum cat breed can have various colors and patterns, including:
- Tabby or brindle
Find out more about feline coat patterns, take a look at our article on tabby cat breeds.
Skookum cat character
Perhaps because of its size, this breed of cat can make us think they are very delicate, have little energy and are skittish. The reality is quite the opposite. The Skookum cat combines the characteristics of the two breeds that gave it life, making them an active, intelligent, affectionate, athletic, sweet and confident cat.
Skookum cats are sociable and usually get along well with other pets. In addition, they are ideal for families with children. They are also cats that both show and demand a lot of affection, so it is not advisable to leave them alone for a long time. Skookum cats are also very playful and are capable of learning to walk on a leash.
Cats of the Skookum breed are very confident and sure of themselves. Despite their short legs, they do not hesitate to jump and climb. They are cats that like to hide and even misplace things by hiding them. Being strong and energetic, they love to have fun with any activity and will not hesitate to accompany their guardians in carrying out their daily tasks around the home.
Skookum cat care
The care of these cats does not generally differ from what any cat requires. They should have a varied and balanced diet with all the essential amino acids, high protein and the food should be of good quality. We can adjust the calories to their physiological and physical state. It must be remembered that food changes must be made gradually so as not to cause digestive disturbances. Do not give them too much as Skookum cats have a tendency to obesity. As with all cats, they need plenty of fresh water and will enjoy a water fountain.
With regard to brushing, it is a curly-haired breed, so frequent brushing several times a week is important. We will also need to create a good caregiver-cat bond so they will tolerate the attention. You also have to monitor the condition of their hair for the presence of parasites or infections and periodically check their ears, looking for the same.
Skookum cat health
The short legs of the Skookum cat can cause spinal or bone problems. This is because the size of the legs is due to a type of dwarfism called achondroplasia. This bone dysplasia is genetic and consists of a change in the genetic material (DNA) that creates alterations in the fibroblast growth factor 3 receptor. This generates abnormalities in cartilage formation, with the consequent alteration in the bone growth.
Because of their bone structure, the kitten must be kept active and we must ensure they exercise to keep their muscles strong. We also need to carry out veterinary checks to verify that everything is going well in their developing body. Although it seems that today it is not very common for problems to appear, raising a breed with this mutation that can condition the quality and life expectancy of a cat. Especially with these cats, it is very they do not gain weight until they become overweight or obese. If they do, these bone structure issues are aggravated.
Apart from the above, it is still a new and experimental breed. There has not been enough time to associate certain diseases. In saying this, it is thought that feline hypothyroidism and kidney problems may be linked to achondroplasia. The well-known Grumpy Cat who died in 2019 at the age of 6 had achondroplasia and prognathism (lower teeth in front of the upper ones due to a genetic deformation of the jaw). They died due to complications from a kidney infection.
Although a life expectancy has not been established, it is thought that if achondroplasia does not cause pain or consequences, the life expectancy would be the standard of any cat cared for and cared for correctly.
Where to adopt a skookum cat
Adopting a skookum cat is really difficult because it is a very recent breed. If we are interested in this breed, we can approach shelters, associations or protectors and ask. Usually, in the event that there is one available, they will not be a kitten and will probably be a mixed breed. It is much more common to find a Munchkin or LaPerm cat, but even these cats are not as widely available as other breeds.
It should be remembered that a kitten of this breed, despite their pleasant character, has a series of somewhat different care and health conditions. More care should be taken that they do not gain weight, as well as ensure they are exercised and active. If you are not sure of being able to deal with this and to be able to give them the best life, it is best to think about another breed or not to adopt directly. Neither cats nor other pets are toys. They are living beings that feel and suffer like any other. Our whims should not have a negative impact on them.