Saturday, May 15, 2010
By Julia Williams
We recently profiled the largest domestic cat breed, the beautiful Maine Coon, so I thought it only fair to profile the smallest cat breed too. If you prefer itty bitty kitties over super-sized ones like the Maine Coon, the petite Singapura might be the perfect cat breed for you. The Singapura is the smallest of all the recognized domestic cat breeds. Females average 5 to 6 pounds, while males typically tip the scales at around 6 to 8 pounds.
Singapura is the Malaysian word for Singapore, which means “Lion City.” The plucky feral felines that became the foundation of the Singapura breed were sometimes called “drain cats,” because they often took refuge in the storm drains of Singapore.
Appearance of the Singapura Cat
The Singapura is a shorthaired cat with an angelic round face and noticeably large eyes in hazel, green or yellow. Singapura cats are only found in one coat color, a warm beige ticked with sepia brown. (Ticking refers to bands of color on the tips of the hair). Their silky coat requires minimal grooming; some say it resembles that of a cougar. The Singapura’s muzzle, chest, stomach and inner legs are an unticked, light ivory color.
Although they do have a petite frame, Singapura cats are not delicate creatures by any means. They are muscular cats with good bone structure and a moderately stocky build, yet even so, they have an irrefutable air of elegance about them. The Singapura is slow to develop, and may not reach full size until about 15 to 24 months of age. Because the Singapura is small compared to most felines, veterinarians unfamiliar with the breed might wonder if something is wrong with the cat or kitten.
Personality of the Singapura Cat
They may be small in stature, but the Singapura cat has a larger-than-life personality. It’s as if they are saying, “I may be little, but I am a force to be reckoned with.” If you like extroverted cats who have “purrsonality plus,” then the Singapura is a good choice. They are lively, curious, mischievous and intelligent cats that genuinely seem to enjoy the company of their human companions. Agile and active, Singapura cats love high places and are known to be climbers.
Singapura cats remain extremely playful well into adulthood, and some say they never truly abandon this endearing trait. These felines insist on being in the middle of everything, a trait that has earned them the label of “pesky people cat.” Rita Kay Bee, a breeder of Singapuras, describes their attitude as: “The world is my oyster. Get out of my way - I'm going for the pearl and you can't stop me.”
History of the Singapura Cat
Though there is some controversy over the origins of the Singapura, it’s generally believed the gene pool that created this rare breed came from Singapore, a result of mating between the Burmese and the Abyssinian. The breed was brought to the U.S. in the early 1970s, and today is found worldwide and recognized by most registration associations. Singapuras were accepted for CFA registration in 1982 and for championship competition in 1988.
There are relatively few breeders and exhibitors working with the Singapura cat, so the breed is still somewhat rare and hard to find. However, Singapuras have enjoyed considerable success in the show ring for such a young breed. In 1991, Singapore tourism officials erected statues of the Singapura along the river and featured the cat in various types of promotional material.
Read more articles by Julia Williams