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The Bambino is a breed of cat that was created as a cross between the Sphynx and the Munchkin breeds. The Bambino cat has short legs, large upright ears, and is usually hairless. However, some Bambino cats do have fur.
The first litter of Bambino kittens was registered in 2005. It was registered by TICA in 2005 as an experimental breed, and Experimental Bambino, in 2006. "Bambino" means "baby" in Italian, as to the cat's appearance of making it look like a kitten.
The Bambino has short legs it inherits from the Munchkin, and huge upright ears. It has the hairlessness of the Sphynx, with skin of white or pink. With no fur to absorb the cat's natural oils, the Bambino needs regular bathing with water and mild soap. The Bambino's hairless skin means that the cat is vulnerable to cold, strong sunshine and skin injury.
Bambinos are currently accepted for registration in the Rare and Exotic Feline Registry (REFR). They are also recognized as an experimental new breed by The International Cat Association (TICA) and can be shown as Sphynx, New Trait.
The wrinkled hairless appearance and short legs are the breed's two most distinctive features, though they can be coated, this, however, is referred to as a "coated bambino". The back legs can be slightly longer than the front legs. The body is medium to long, with a broad chest and a well-rounded abdomen. Boning is medium. The whippy tail is in good proportion to the rest of the body. Some Bambinos can have a "lion tail"—a puff of hair on the tail tip. The head is a modified wedge with rounded lines, slightly longer than wide. As well as in the Sphynx, the cheekbones and whisker pads are very prominent. The whiskers are sparse and short. The chin is firm. The eyes are large, rounded, and wide spaced. The large ears are set upright, neither too low nor too high. The cat's size and unique physical qualities do not hamper its movements. The weight is 5 to 9 pounds.
Coat and grooming
Even though some Bambinos appear hairless, they can be covered with a short, fine down. Their wrinkled skin feels like chamois to the touch. Regular grooming is necessary to remove sebaceous secretions from the skin. Weekly or Bi-weekly baths are also recommended. When started at a young age, Bambino cats do well with bath time. If grooming and bathing aren't done on a regular basis, the Bambino can become excessively dirty, oily, and sticky to the touch and/or develop skin problems. Shedding is very little in these cats. Contrary to popular belief, Bambino cats are not hypo-allergenic. Though most people with allergies can tolerate the Bambino because it produces less dander than that of other cat breeds.
Genetics and health
Bambino is called a mutation breed because it is a breed that requires both recessive mutations for the hairless gene, and dominant mutations for the dwarfed limbs. Mutation breeding can be disastrous to the health of the produced kitten, if not done by an experienced breeder.
Typically Bambino litters produce both short-legged and long-legged kittens. Since the Bambino genetics are heterozygous for the short leg gene. Bambino litters can not produce furry kittens since the hairless gene is recessive, so each bambino has two copies of the hairless gene.
Since the breed is new, more research needs to be done to confirm the presence or absence of possible genetic health issues. However the related Munchkin breed of cat has had known health concerns, the most common being an above higher average of lordosis (excessive curvature of the spine) and pectus excavatum (hollowed chest).
- Cat coat genetics
- Minskin, a breed of cat derived from crossing the Munchkin with the Sphynx and often confused with bambino cats.
- Sphynx cat, a breed of hairless cat
- List of experimental cat breeds, which includes other short-legged cat breeds like Dwelf and Lambkin
- "Bambino". CatBreedList. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
- "The Bambino Cat". CatBreedJunction. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
- The Cat Breeders Handbook (2 ed.). Oroville, California: TIBCC. 2009. pp. 36–37. ISBN 978-0979280726 – via Google Books.
- Raiford, Tiffany (2014-11-12). "Controversial Munchkin Cat Health Problems and Misconceptions Addressed". Kittentoob. Retrieved 2019-03-24.
- "Munchkin Cat Health Problems". VetInfo. Retrieved 2019-03-24.
Munchkin kittens, however, are vulnerable to lordosis, a rare spinal condition in which the spinal muscles grow short, allowing the spine to sink down into the body. Lordosis may be mild or severe, and if it's bad enough, the kitten won't live past three months of age. Many breeders feel that lordosis is a genetic disorder, but it's not specific to the Munchkin cat; many other breeds of cat suffer from lordosis.
- Hubler, M.; Langley-Hobbs, S.J. (2009). "Hereditary and congenital musculoskeletal diseases". ScienceDirect. Feline Orthopedic Surgery and Musculoskeletal Disease. Retrieved 2019-03-24.
There may be a familial tendency to thoracic wall deformities (pectus excavatum, unilateral thoracic wall concavity) in Bengal kittens, and chondrodystrophic Munchkin cats may also have an increased incidence of pectus excavatum and spinal lordosis.