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Dwarf Cats – The Origin Of The Names Of The Breeds

The pygmy cat has some interesting breed names. Dwarf cats are unusual and popular. People care about them. What is equally unusual and fascinating are the names of the various dwarf breeds and, more specifically, how these interesting names came about. Here are the stories of how they were created.

The stories about the creation of the name come from the person who created the tribe and coined the name. Matching, sometimes the name, just like the pygmy cat, is a hybrid itself.

Genetta: This is a pygmy cat created and named by Shannon Kiley of Pawstruk Cattery in 2006. Genettas are registered as an experimental breed with The International Cat Association (TICA).

Shannon coined the name “Genetta” as is the breed “Making the model of the African Genet and part of the scientific name of a gene is ‘genetta’. So I thought it would be very appropriate and unique” (Shannon Keeley). The African Genet it is feline in appearance and habit but not a cat. It has a long body and widely spaced black spots. It is a member of the Viverridae family, which includes mongooses.

To achieve the look, Shannon developed Genetta using breeds including munchkins, Bengals, Savannahs, DSHs and Oriental Shorthairs.

Skookum: This dwarf cat breed was developed Roy Galusha through the deliberate reproduction of Munchkin in LaPerm. When I asked him how he came up with the name for this dwarf cat breed, he gave this full and interesting answer, which is reproduced here with his permission:

“I can tell you the answer to Skookum since we created the breed.

When the breed first started (our first accidental cross), we (not just us, several people in our circle who knew about them), jokingly referred to them as LaMerms (taking the M from Munchkin and replacing the P in LaPerm. ) When we looked for recognition as a breed, we wanted to find a good breed descriptor and came up with the name “Poco Chino” which means short and curly in Spanish. However, someone at UFO who knew Spanish pointed out that it also means “Little Chinese”, so we scrapped it. After much discussion and brainstorming, we decided to give him a Native American name. My wife is part Cherokee so we researched Cherokee names. However, the descriptor names did not flow well. We then decided to go with a local Northwest Native American name (since we lived in Washington state). We looked at several names and researched the meanings. A local Native American word derived from the Chinook language that was part of the Chinook trade language was Skookum (pronounced Skoo Kum). The word Skookum means mighty, powerful or great. It is also used to denote good health or good spirits. If someone really likes something, they might refer to it as really skookum (“Boy that apple pie is skookum”) or if you really like a horse (“that’s a skookum horse). So we figured it was the perfect name for Some officials of TICA used the name to oppose its acceptance as a breed claiming that the word Skookum means a scary monster like a big foot.This is partially correct in that the spelling Skookum is also used to describe Big Foot, the pronunciation is completely different. Here’s an explanation from Tony Johnson, Chairman of the Cultural Commission for the Chinook Tribe.

“According to our discussion this morning, the Chinuk Wawa language has two words that differ only in their tone that are widely written as ‘skookum.'” We write these two words the same, except for their accent: “sku’ kum” for something strong, hard, brave, or impressive, and “skuku’m” for something scary or “monster.” Usually English speakers stress the first syllable of a word, and your spelling (which is typically historical) reflects this. The word “skookum” for your use is not both “demonic” and is actually appropriate. Further discussion of the word “skuku’m” seems unnecessary as it is not the term you use. As I noted, the word that use can also be used in a context to mean something like English “healthy”. In this case it basically means that (your body is) “strong”. I hope this helps and I can see where this confusion is coming from .The confusion is based entirely on hero in the problematic nature of people who write native words and then other people who read them and have never heard the actual pronunciation. In our language you could never confuse these two words or their related meanings.’

hayu masi (many thanks), Tony A. Johnson Chinook Indian Tribe / Chinook Nation Culture Committee Chairman

The person who I believe started the whole discussion at TICA about the name Skookum would know the difference as her husband is one of the leading big foot experts in the entire country and I understand he has written many books and manuscripts on Big Foot , include a passage about the use of the word Skookum in the Chinook language and how it relates to Big Foot. They would know the correct pronunciation of Big Foot as used by local locals and know the differences in meaning. However, he used it to bypass the registration process. Skookum has also been referred to as the Shirley Temple cat because it is short and curly. This was a marketing strategy when Cat Fancy first allowed us to advertise them. We came up with this slogan as the best descriptor of the cat. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.”

I can’t add anything to it! Great answer.

Napoleon: This small dwarf cat was developed from the deliberate mating of the Munchkin with the Persian or Exotic Shorthair, from Joe Smith. Napoleons are currently registered as experimental with TICA, but are recognized as a breed with TDCA (The Dwarf Cat Association).

I confess that I have yet to receive an answer to my questions about this name. However, a little rational and logical thinking leads me to this conclusion. This cat is a dwarf cat that has a small stature. Napoleon Bonaparte (the French general during the French Revolution) was short by today’s standards (5 feet 6 inches). Also most of the napoleons I’ve seen are white and Napoleon Bonaparte rode a white horse (is there a connection there?). There is probably no connection there, and the name simply came from the short, stocky profile of this dwarf cat that mirrored Napoleon Bonaparte.

Kinkalow: The dwarf kinkalow cat results from the mating of an American curl with a Munchkin. Terri Harris developed this breed and has this to say about the name:

“The name Kinkalow was decided while I was at Kinkos download some copies. Kinkalow has kinky ears and low legs, Kink+low = Kinkalow’. Although Terri doesn’t mention this, there is a cat-like animal named Kinkajou (a honey bear or cat monkey) and I wonder if that name influenced her decision.

Residence: This is simple! He is a mix of dwarf cat and elf. Being a cross between Muchkin, Sphynx and American Curl. This dwarf cat is short, hairless and has ears that turn back at the tips.

Munchkins: In 1983, a music teacher Sandra Hochenedel discovered two cats hiding under a vehicle. He saved them. both had short, sticky legs. He called them Munchkins after the little men in the Wizard of Oz. This is the founding pygmy cat.

Babino: Stephanie and Pat Osborne of Holy Moly Catering organize this dwarf cat breed. As Pat is of Italian extraction and as the cat retains her kitten like appearance and character throughout her life, she was named ‘Bambino’.

lambkins: A straight dictionary definition, I think, gives the answer. Lambkins means “very young lamb”. Lambkin cats are a new breed of dwarf cat that comes from crossing a Munchkin and a Selkirk Rex to produce curly-haired kittens, just like a little lamb.

Knook: Knook is a type of immortal being or fairy in his work L. Frank Baum. Knooks are the guardians of the animals. They had a crooked appearance. (source: Wikipedia). I confess that a search for the name of this dwarf cat breed turned up nothing.

However, if a knook is a fairy that gives the item. A fairy is thin and small. The knook is a Kinkalow with a curly LaPerm/Skookam type coat and that means this cat will be quite thin and small….

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