If you ever had a small kitten, it probably felt bittersweet watching it grow. Even though you wanted it to grow big and strong, a part of you wanted it to stay a kitten forever. That’s not possible, but if you like the idea of small cats, you might want to learn a bit more about the Singapura breed.
If you have read my 12 Small Cat Breeds That Stay Small Forever article, you probably remember Singapura cats taking the first place. I think it’s time to explore this breed a bit more, and I hope you will join me!
Singapura Cat Characteristics
|Fur color||Sepia agouti|
|Eye color & shape||Large, almond-shaped eyes that can be green, yellow, or hazel|
|Weight||Males 4-8 lbs|
Females 3-6 lbs
|Expected lifespan||11-15 years|
|Temperament||Friendly, outgoing, active, playful, curious, affectionate, and “helpful.”|
|Kids and other pets||Friendly towards children and other pets.|
|Sociable and cuddly||These cats enjoy being petted and cuddled, even by strangers.|
Requirements & Traits
|Feeding||Meat-based food rich in animal protein|
|Grooming||Brushing the fur once a week, nail trimming, and dental hygiene|
|Shedding||Low to moderate|
History and Origins
When you take a look at such a small cat, it is hard to believe that its origins are controversial. Yet, that’s exactly the case with Singapura cats. Their name clearly suggests that they come from Singapore, but that fact about them has been under dispute for several decades already.
The whole story is full of contradictions and “he said, she said” claims, but I will try to keep it as simple as possible. So, the original story went something like this: Tommy and Hal Meadow were working in Singapore until 1975, when they returned to the USA.
They brought three cats with ticked furs from Singapore with them, claiming that they were local cats. These three cats were founding cats for the new breed, the Singapura cat. In 1981, another US breeder traveled to Singapore and accidentally found a local cat that almost perfectly fit Singapura traits. This cat was also taken to the US and included in the Singapura breeding program.
The Singapura breed was registered at TICA (The International Cat Association) in 1979 and at CFA (Cat Fanciers’ Association) in 1982. In 1988 Singapura cats were granted championship status. At that time, some Singapura pairs would produce solid-color kittens, so the breeders tried to pinpoint the genes that led to those deviations from the breed standard.
However, that wasn’t the only issue that this breed faced around that time. In 1987, Jerry Mayes, an American cat breeder, traveled to Singapore to find more local Singapura cats. But instead of finding more Singapura cats, he found papers that made the whole Singapura origin story questionable at best.
According to these documents, those three cats that were the foundation for the Singapura breed didn’t actually come from Singapore. They were brought to Singapore from the US in 1974. Mayes’ friend, Lucy Koh, tried to bring more attention to this detail and, eventually, correct the Singapura breed history.
Her efforts went unnoticed until 1990 when the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board wanted to use the Singapura breed as a mascot of Singapore. This brought more attention to Singapura’s origins and the whole controversy.
Since Meadows were breeders of Abyssinian, Siamese, and Burmese cats, it was speculated that Singapura cats were actually Abyssinian-Burmese crossbreeds. In response, Hal Meadow claimed that the three cats were actually the grandchildren of four local cats that they sent from Singapore to the US in 1971.
CFA Final Approval
CFA allowed Singapura cats to be considered a natural breed in spite of all the controversy and contradictory origin stories. However, DNA studies from 2007 showed that genetically speaking, there weren’t many differences between Singapura and Burmese cats.
Also, random-bred natural breeds have a lot of genetic diversity, while Singapura cats have one of the most narrow-gene pools among purebred cats.
Singapura Cat Personality
Don’t let their size fool you! Singapuras are playful, energetic, and active cats, so don’t expect them to be like cute little toys. Their bodies might be small, but their personalities are big, and Singapura cats certainly know how to assert their dominance.
They are also quite intelligent and curious cats with a tiny hint of mischief. Singapura cats are also loyal and devoted pets, and they will spend a good portion of their day perching and guarding over their owners.
These cats are also sweet, loving, and affectionate. They thrive on affection and attention. Also, if you like a vocal and chatty cat, Singapura is perfect for you. Singapura cats like to interact with their owners in any way possible.
Finally, Singapura cats are friendly towards children and other pets. After all, they need some good playmates!
Singapura Cat Appearance
Their striking appearance is certainly one of the things that make Singapura cats so unique. Of course, you should never choose a cat just for its appearance, but it is completely normal to have some preferences when it comes to how we want our pets to look.
Ticked or agouti fur pattern is one of the rarest fur patterns found in cats. This means not many cat breeds have ticked furs, but the Singapura cat breed does. These cats have short, soft, and silky fur. The ticked pattern means that every individual hair is covered in bands of different colors, and in this case, those bands are sepia and dark brown.
Sometimes, Singapura cats have brighter, almost white fur on their bellies, while the rest of the body is darker. Also, some Singapura cats will have fur that’s darker than sepia agouti, but keep in mind that CFA only recognizes sepia agouti Singapuras.
Singapura cats have large, almond-shaped, and wide-open eyes. Such eyes further accentuate Singapura’s small body size. Singapura’s eyes can be green, hazel, or yellow. No other colors are permitted.
Another defining characteristic of Singapura cats is certainly their size. Currently, they are the smallest cat breed in the world. As with other cat breeds, males are larger than females.
Male Singapura cats have an average body length between 9 and 12 inches, while females’ average body length ranges between 8 and 11 inches. Similarly, male Singapura cats typically weigh between 4 and 8 pounds, while female Singapuras weigh between 3 and 6 pounds.
Other Body Characteristics
Don’t let their small size fool you: Singapura cats might be tiny when compared to other breeds, but they also have stocky and muscular bodies. Their legs are strong and muscular, but their paws are small and oval. The tail is proportional to the rest of the body, and it is thin but not whippy.
The head is rounded and small, with a broad muzzle and blunt nose. The chin is well-developed, and the neck is short and thick. The ears are large and slightly pointed, serving as a stark contrast to the small head and body.
Daily Life With Singapura Cat
If you want a low-maintenance pet, Singapura cats certainly fit those criteria. However, there are still some basic requirements that you need to fulfill as a cat owner, regardless of the cat breed that you choose.
Since Singapura cats are smaller than other cat breeds, it is fair to assume their appetite is also smaller. However, since they are highly active cats, Singapuras still require enough food to sustain their energy levels.
Just like other cat breeds, Singapura cats are obligate carnivores, which means they should eat meat-based foods only. Commercial cat food is your best choice for providing your Singapura cat with all the necessary nutrients.
Try to buy cat food of the highest quality. Both wet and dry cat food are important for your cat’s health, so make sure to have both options. Wet food will keep your Singapura cat hydrated, and from my personal experience, cats prefer wet over dry food. However, dry food is also important because it keeps the cat’s teeth clean.
When it comes to feeding frequency, the instructions are quite similar for most cat breeds. Kittens should eat 3-4 times a day, while adult cats should eat 2-3 times a day. However, some breeds prefer to eat more frequently, and Singapura cats are among such breeds.
They are considered grazers, which means they like to come back to their food several times a day and eat it little by little. Basically, Singapura cats prefer free feeding. That’s another reason why dry cat food is such a good choice. It can be opened for a long time without getting spoiled.
Finally, don’t forget to provide your Singapura cat with fresh water. Cats don’t drink much water, but they still need to stay hydrated.
Singapura cats have short furs that are easy to manage. Weekly brushing will be more than enough to keep your Singapura’s fur healthy and good-looking. Apart from fur brushing, you should also clean your Singapura’s ears and eye areas. To do this, use a wet cotton cloth or a paper towel.
Nail trimming is also important, so make sure to trim your cat’s nails every two weeks. If you can’t do it by yourself, take your cat to a professional pet groomer. Finally, dental hygiene is crucial for your cat’s dental health, so don’t neglect it either.
Brush your cat’s teeth regularly with a toothbrush and toothpaste specialized for cats. Alternatively, offer your cat some teeth-cleaning snacks. These snacks aren’t as effective as regular brushing, but they are still better than nothing.
This is probably the most demanding aspect of owning a Singapura cat. They are hyperactive, energetic, and vocal cats that need your attention and affection, and they need a lot of it.
That’s why you should provide your Singapura cat with some cool interactive toys, a scratching tree, and a climbing tree. Singapura cats love high spots, so make sure to enable enough space for jumping and climbing.
Additionally, just throwing some toys at your Singapura cat won’t be enough to make it happy and entertained. You will need to take some of your time to play with your Singapura. You can try some hide-and-seek games, or you can play fetch.
Also, have you considered getting a second pet that would keep your Singapura cat company? If so, try to find a cat breed that will be as active as your Singapura. This way, your Singapura cat will have a worthy playmate, but keep in mind that you can expect all sorts of mischief when they aren’t supervised.
Finally, leash-training your Singapura cat might be a great idea. This way, you can take your cat for a walk or jogging session. That will be a great opportunity for both of you to stay active and fit while having a great time!
Most Common Singapura Cat Health Issues
Despite a relatively narrow gene pool, Singapura cats are generally healthy. Still, every cat breed and every cat, in general, can become sick, and some diseases are simply more likely to happen. Learning more about those potential diseases is a great way to be prepared in case any of those diseases actually befell your cat.
Knowing how to prevent or at least notice various health conditions can make a difference between life and death for your pet. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most common health conditions of Singapura cats.
This condition can affect any cat, especially if it has poor dental hygiene. Over time, a sticky layer of bacteria, called plaque, appears on the teeth’ surface. The bacteria continue to grow and reproduce, which can lead to inflamed and infected gums.
As the disease progresses, so do the symptoms. The gums start to swell and bleed, and eventually, they recede. This makes teeth roots exposed, which in turn leads to loose teeth. Finally, the cat starts losing its teeth.
Some of the symptoms of periodontal disease are bad breath, red and swollen gums, loose teeth, missing teeth, difficulty chewing, drooling, lethargy, and pawing at the mouth.
If you notice any of these symptoms, take your cat to the vet. The vet will be able to treat the existing symptoms and issues while finding the best way to prevent the further progress of the disease.
Progressive retinal atrophy
Retina is a part of the eye responsible for detecting light and sending visual signals to the brain. Progressive retinal atrophy is a condition that affects the retina and causes its gradual degradation. This leads to progressive vision loss and, eventually, to blindness.
It can be hard to tell if your cat sees well or not, but there are some telltale signs. If your cat is frequently bumping into surrounding objects, or if it is reluctant to move in unfamiliar or dark places, it might be suffering from vision loss. Some more obvious signs are cataracts that can develop in your cat’s eyes as a result of progressive retinal atrophy.
If you notice any of these signs, or if you have any other reason to suspect your cat is losing its sight, take it to the vet immediately. There is no cure for this condition, but your vet will be able to help you make your cat’s life a bit easier.
Feline lower urinary tract disease
This is actually a group of disorders that affect the lower urinary tract in cats. The lower urinary tract includes the bladder, urethra, and occasionally the ureters. There are several possible causes of this disease, some of them being bladder stones, UTIs, stress, obesity, and anatomical anomalies.
How to know if your Singapura cat has this disease? Some of the most common symptoms include urination difficulties, frequent urination, or blood in the urine.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should take your cat to the vet as soon as possible. The vet will be able to determine the best course of action to help your cat get healthy again.
Singapura female cats are sometimes prone to uterine inertia, a serious condition that creates difficulties in delivering kittens. This condition occurs when uterine muscles aren’t contracting properly, which can seriously hinder labor.
Another issue with this condition is that it can be noticed only when the labor has already started. If your cat is in labor for an unusually long period, has weak contractions, and is experiencing any other labor difficulties, it can be a sign of uterine inertia.
If anything like this happens to your pregnant Singapura cat, call your vet immediately. The vet will probably administer oxytocin that stimulates uterine contractions, and if that doesn’t help, they will have to carry out a c-section.
Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency
This condition is a deficiency of an enzyme called pyruvate kinase. Said enzyme is responsible for the metabolism and function of red blood cells in a cat’s bloodstream. Pyruvate kinase deficiency is caused by a genetic mutation, and it is hereditary.
Pyruvate kinase deficiency can cause many health issues, such as anemia. If your cat is suffering from lethargy, lack of appetite, weight loss, pale gums, or enlarged spleen, you should test it for pyruvate kinase deficiency,
There is no cure for this condition, but its symptoms can be managed quite successfully. Some of those treatments include blood transfusions, medications, and special diets that stimulate red blood cell production.
Singapura Cat Name Suggestions
Now that we covered some more serious topics, let’s move on to more cheerful subjects. Naming your new cat is certainly one of those subjects. However, finding a perfect name for your Singapura cat can be difficult, so I chose some cool options for you.
Buying or Adopting Singapura Cat
Singapura cats are relatively rare, and finding them in a shelter isn’t very probable. If, however, you happen to stumble upon a Singapura cat in a shelter, the adoption fee typically ranges between $75 and $150.
Still, the chances of finding these cats in adoption shelters are slim, and you will have much better luck in finding them at breeders. Buying a Singapura cat from a reputable breeder usually costs between $800 and $2000, mostly depending on the cat’s pedigree and physical characteristics.
Frequently Asked Questions
Singapura cats are relatively rare, with only a few thousand of them existing in the whole world. However, their numbers are slowly increasing, so they could become more common in the future.
Singapura cats are known for their clingy behavior, so leaving them alone, especially for prolonged periods of time, is not a good idea.
Yes, Singapura cats are intelligent animals that can be trained to learn several commands and even tricks.
Singapura cats don’t have any special requirements when compared to most other cat breeds. Meeting some basic cat grooming needs and providing enough cat food will be enough. However, keep in mind that Singapura cats are quite active, and providing them with enough activity is probably the most demanding part of caring for them.
All cat breeds exude Fel d protein from their skin, so none of them can be considered truly hypoallergenic. However, the Singapura cat is one of those breeds that produce less of this protein, which makes it a better, yet not perfect, choice for people with cat allergies.
Singapura Cat Alternatives
Singapura cats can be hard to find even at reputable breeders, or there might be another reason why you want to find another breed that’s similar to Singapura cats. No matter what your reasons are, you have several options.
If you want a cat that similar in size to Singapura cats, consider getting a Munchkin cat. Munchkins are not only almost as small as Singapura cats, but they also have similar personalities.
You can also choose Abyssinian or Burmese cats as great alternatives to Singapura cats. After all, there is some stark evidence that Singapura cats actually descended from these two breeds.
Finally, Siamese and Balinese cats are also great alternatives to Singapura cats, as they share a similar exotic appearance.
Singapura Cat Fun Facts
- Despite their small size, Singapura cats are excellent jumpers and climbers.
- Singapura cats are vocal, and their sounds are often described as chirping or thrilling instead of typical meowing.
- They are also sometimes called “drain cats” because their founders claimed they found the first Singapura cats in drains. Since Singapura’s origin story is quite controversial with many contradictions, this detail should be taken with a grain of salt, but it is still a great nickname.
Singapura cats may have a controversial background, but it’s not their fault. They are absolutely adorable and great pets, despite their shady origin story. After all, the only thing that matters is that this breed has a bright future.
So, if you like small cats with lots of energy and personality, Singapura cats are your best choice. Get yourself a Singapura cat, and you will never have a boring day again!
Featured Image Credit: Takashi Hososhima, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons