Napoleon The Showstopper!
Without questioning if they are Munchkin or doll-faced Persian, Napoleons always stand out as champions at cat shows. Here’s more about the origin and salient characteristics of this showstopper cat breed!
The history of Napoleon cat began with a newspaper article that featured a drawing of a Munchkin. One fine Monday morning on the 36th floor of Melton Building in downtown Pittsburg, Pennsylvania in 1995, breeder Joe Smith noticed a short-legged cat appeared on the cover of Wall Street Journal. He grabbed the newspaper to immediately rush to his cubicle, dying to learn about the article’s content. After reading, Joe immediately sought information on Munchkin breed and was disappointed to learn they were not homozygous – there were always going to be non-standard (tall or normal leg lengths).
In his research, Joe found breeders who had been purposely breeding – by Terri J Harris Without questioning if they are Munchkin or doll-faced Persian, Napoleons always stand out as champions at cat shows. Here’s more about the origin and salient characteristics of this showstopper cat breed! Munchkins with unapproved outcrosess in order to acquire certain characteristics in the breed. In February 1996, he acquired a black standard female named Samantha and shortly thereafter, a cream point exotic named Typesetter was incorporated in his cattery that marked the foundation of the Napoleon breed. They were still called Munchkin with unacceptable outcrosses at the time as Joe had not given them the name Napoleon we call today. For several years, the breed was being developed quietly in the background with few appearances at cat shows.
In 2001, Napoleons were recognised with ‘experimental status’ and in 2008, the breed standard submitted by Joe was reviewed and a few minor changes including changing the coat from massive Persian coat to one that was more manageable. In 2011, Animal Planet’s Cats 101 featured the Napoleons and in the same year, at the spring TICA Board Meeting at Harlingen in Texas, the breed was on the agenda to further request to the advancement of Preliminary New Breed Status. The vote was six ‘yea’ and seven ‘nay’ and one ‘abstain’. Then I began working with TICA officials. With help from Nancy Parkinson, a revised breed standard was submitted (with letters and pictures from various Napoleon catteries) at the very next Board meeting at Philadelphia. Finally, the breed met with the approval of the majority of the board members.
As required by TICA, Napoleons should have unique look, without questioning whether they are Munchkin or doll-faced Persian. Their eyes should be perfectly round, not bulging, no flat spots on top. Deep eye colour that accentuates the coat is preferred. The ears are medium with preference given to smaller rather than larger rounded tips, and more to the side of the head than Munchkin, but not as small or as low as Persian. An elegant, flowing and luxurious coat, noticeably thicker than a Munchkin’s but nowhere near the
heavy texture or undercoat of the Persian is standard. The coat is dense and long enough that when you run your figures through its backward, it should leave a track.
The tail of Napoleon is medium in comparison to the body or a bit shorter, not longer than the body, with a full plume on long-haired cats and bottlebrush on short-haired cats. Napoleon should not appear to be small. Heavy boning of the Napoleon meant to support a well-muscled but not fat body. The legs should be straight and disproportionately short, but shorter legs are not always better. The cat’s back should be level from front to back, but there is no allowance for a slight rise from shoulders to rump. The temperament and intelligence of the Napoleon is a perfect combination of gentle laid back nature with naturally inquisitive tendencies, making for an active cat who enjoys lap time as equally as playing. With good socialising skills early in life, Napoleons adapt to the show hall easily. At championship shows, Napoleons and Munchkins will be right next to each others in the judging rings, with Persian not far behind, all will be able to see and appreciate the differences that each breed offers!
(Terri J Harris is currently the TICA Working Group Breed Chair for Napoleon Breed)