Paris Hilton set a huge pet trend when she started carrying her pet chihuahua, Tinkerbell, around in her purse. Now, another one of her pets - Shorty the munchkin cat - is making a new kind of designer animal popular.
Munchkins are just like regular cats except for one small difference: their stubby legs only grow to about three inches tall. This special kind of dwarfism first showed up in the 1980s, and since then breeders have been selling these cute cats to owners looking for a unique pet.
But vets say breeding these cats is cruel, and people should stop buying them.
Adult munchkins look a lot like wiener dogs, with long bodies and short, stubby legs, and just like that breed munchkins have a bunch of health problems linked to their unusual bodies.
Munchkin cats can't run or jump like regular cats, and their feet are often turned out at an angle, which can cause joint pain. They weight just 5-9 pounds, about half as much as a normal cat, and their short legs put extra strain on their back.
These cats can't groom themselves, because they're not very flexible, and two munchkin cats can't even breed with each other, because their kittens usually won't survive.
There are so many complaints about these cats that some breeder's organizations won't even recognize them. Cat Fancy, Britain's biggest kennel club for cats, refuses to list any munchkin cats.
While vets agree that these health risks make it cruel to buy a munchkin cat, people are still paying as much as $1,100 to get their hands on one.