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Napoleons, also known as Minuets, are short-legged cats that were bred for their small stature and baby-doll face to distinguish them from the Munchkin cat.  

History: In 1995, Basset Hound breeder and American Kennel Club judge Joseph B. Smith was inspired by the Munchkin cat to develop a new hybrid cat that would set it apart from Munchkins, which didn’t necessarily have their own unique look other than their short legs. He wanted to develop an appearance in a cat that would give the breed a distinctly purebred look, and he decided to use the Persian breed group to do that.  

Breed: The Napoleon cat began as a hybrid breed bred from Munchkins with any member of the Persian breed group. The Persian breed group includes Persians, Himalayans, and Exotic Shorthairs.  This was and is still being done today to expand the gene pool of breeders who display the best qualities to pass on to future generations of Napoleons and to cement desirable traits in new Napoleons.  Eventually, the breed will reach the point where the Persian breed group will be fazed out and purebred Napoleons will come from Napoleons only.  However, at this point, a Napoleon is a true Napoleon if it has three generations of only acceptable outcrosses in its pedigree.  Those include Munchkins, Persians, Himalayans, and Exotic Shorthair cats.

The Napoleon is currently accepted by Cat Fanciers Federation (CFF) and The International Cat Association (TICA) in the United States. They are also recognized in Catz, Inc. in New Zealand and Ancats in Australia.  All these organizations have advanced the Napoleon breed to championship status, which means the Napoleon can show in championship.  TICA recognizes the Napoleon under the name of Minuet.

Standard versus Non-standard: A true Napoleon comes in two versions: the standard and non-standard Napoleon. However, only the standard Napoleon can be shown in championship in TICA.  CFF will allow non-standard Napoleons to show in championship.  The standard Napoleon is the short-legged version of the breed, while the non-standard Napoleon has long legs.

Temperament: Napoleons are generally sweet, loving, and easy-going cats. They are mostly attentive and easily adaptable to different environments, and have a tendency to adjust to other people and animals as they come into the house  They are not known to be overly loud or demanding, and often show an intelligence evident of a problem-solving mind. At the same time, they are very curious and capable of developing strategies to work out problems. They are puppy-like in their demeanor, but also retain their cat-like dispositions. However, they also exhibit an air of dignity and grace that sets them apart from a puppy.  Overall, the Napoleon is an adorable cat that will be a constant source of delight for either a single person or the entire family.  Note: Not all cats will follow the temperament standard of its breed.

Physical traits:  The Napoleon takes traits from both its parent breeds, the Munchkins and the Persian breed group. The Napoleon takes its good health from the Munchkin breed and has a strong immune system. Its various array of coat colors and patterns also comes from the Munchkin, as well as its short legs. Coming from the Persian breed group, the Napoleon adopts its luxurious coat texture and dignified look.

Having a Munchkin background created a manageable coat for the Napoleon, which is different than the high maintenance of the Persian cat.  That means the long-haired Napoleon has less of an undercoat than a Persian, and it is not so cottony where it appears like a puff ball.  The Napoleon’s coat still stands slightly away from the body, and is soft and flowing.  Although it requires maintenance, the long-haired Napoleon is not difficult to keep up. The short-haired Napoleon has a slightly longer coat than a normal short haired cat, with a plush, soft texture to it.

The key to the standard for Napoleon traits is being round.  The Napoleon cat should appear round from every angle, starting with its head.  It should have a round forehead that leads down to round cheeks and chin.  The eyes should be large, round, and expressive, and set apart; however, they should not have a bug-eyed look or exhibit excessive tearing.  The nose should have adequate leather with nostrils that present no difficulty in breathing, and a slight upward lift at the very tip.  The top of the nose leather should not reach the bottom eye lid, which gives the Napoleon its noted “baby doll” face. The facial structure of the Napoleon should be healthy with adequate eye orbits, correctly aligned jaws, and good tooth occlusion.  The ears should be medium to small, with rounded tips.

Napoleons are considered medium sized cats, and their bones should be medium to heavy.  The Napoleon should be of a short and sturdy build, with a body that is moderately long and rounded. The back should be straight along the spine; however, the rump of the standard version (short-legged Napoleons) may be slightly raised due to its longer back legs.  The Napoleon’s tail should be in proportion to the its body, reaching to its neck, with a flowing plume.

About Napoleon Cats (Also known as Minuets)