Last updated: November 8, 2016
Small is Beautiful!
If you have a big lump of a cat like mine, you may not understand the appeal of little cats; for some of us big is beautiful! But small, dainty, miniature cats make up for in cuteness what they lack in size. Here are some of the cat breeds that stay small.
The Devon Rex is renowned for its intelligence, playfulness, and affectionate nature. Yes, they may look a bit elfin or even alien with their big bat ears but they really are very loving little things – and they are the retrievers of the feline world! They will bring you back balls if you toss them – who needs a dog when you have a Rex? Their coat is curly and silky and doesn’t shed quite as much as other cat breeds, so if you’re one of those people who sneezes at the mere mention of the word “cat”, although no cat breed can be classed as totally hypo-allergenic, this may be the breed for you!
Wow! WHAT a cutie! The Munchkin is definitely one of the cat breeds that stays small. It’s still a relatively new and controversial breed – in fact, it wasn’t recognized as a distinct breed till 1994. It originated in Louisiana, U.S.A., and resulted from a spontaneous genetic mutation. Many in the feline fraternity feel that it’s cruel to breed a “flaw” into the gene pool but hey – the cats don’t seem to have a problem with it! Because their legs are so short, they aren’t great high jumpers although they get there eventually in baby steps! They can hunt and get the girls just as well as their taller pals and don’t seem to suffer in any way from being a little on the short side. They have been even called the Dachshunds of the cat world!
The Singapura takes its name from the Malay name for Singapore, where it has its origins. It was brought to the U.S. by two expatriates coming home from Singapore and careful breeding has ensured that it’s the beautiful cat it is today. It’s a slow grower and doesn’t get to its full size till it’s between eighteen months to two years old. Quite frankly I’m amazed it takes so long because this really is a tiny little cat, the smallest in the world, in fact, although its body is relatively muscular. This cat needs to be “helping” you with everything, and are very people friendly right up into their senior years. I’d have one in a heartbeat!
Want a cat with a difference? Look no further than the American Curl. It gets its name from the unique shape of its ears, the like of which is not seen on any other cat. The kittens are born with straight ears which then start to curl backward until at three to five days they are rosebud-shaped. After this, they unfurl slowly till at around sixteen weeks they are fixed in their permanent position. Curls are available in long and short haired types. They are particularly friendly with children and will often seek out their company (amazing – my cat runs a mile!) The breed is often called the “Peter Pan” of the cat world since even elderly cats don’t seem to realise they’ve actually grown up and can frequently be as active as kittens right into old age. They are very playful and can be taught to fetch – yes, really! This clever little so-and-so can open doorknobs so be careful not to put anything you hold dear within his reach.
The Cornish Rex looks a bit like the feline equivalent of a greyhound. The breed has only been around since the 1950s. It has long legs, a slim arched body, and great big ears. When I first saw one I was reminded a bit of a bat but of course it’s far too cute for that! They have very silky coats that are actually curly and just fabulous to touch. Among the most intelligent of all breeds, they learn very quickly and will stick their noses into any interesting thing that you’re doing. If you want a little quiet pet who wouldn’t say “boo!” to a goose, then don’t get a Cornish. If, however, you want a cat that is intensely curious and is the Einstein of the cat world then get one – you won’t be disappointed!
Teacup, Miniature and Dwarf Cats
These are meant to be small variations on normal cats, but are often the runts of litters sold as miniature breeds. There are some very unscrupulous types out there so be careful if you’re looking for a cat like this.
There are many reasons why ordinary cats which are not members of a miniature breed stay small; small cats could have stayed that way because they didn’t get enough of the proper type of food during early kittenhood and this could be the reason that the poor little thing’s growth was stunted.
They could be the “runt” of the litter, which means that they didn’t get enough nutrition in the womb because their siblings grabbed it all for themselves, greedy things. Another reason is because of the way cats ovulate, and because the queen can mate with many different males during her oestrus, some kittens can lose as much as 6 – 8 days in the womb compared to their siblings. When your mom’s pregnancy is only 64 – 67 days that’s a lot of growing time!
There is also a condition known as feline dwarfism, a genetic condition that affects bone and cartilage growth. (If you’ve ever seen the famous Grumpy Cat you’ll know what one looks like!) These cats typically have short thick legs. In America, a growing tendency is to breed from these cats, a practice condemned by many other countries. (See “Munchkin” above.)
Some people like cats who look like kittens and which are perceived to be extra cute! Well, human beings are funny that way, because we just love tiny things – they bring out our protective instincts! There is a myth that making your cat drink coffee will stunt its growth, but this is a fairy story. The coffee will seriously damage your cat’s kidneys, give it heart palpitations and potentially cause its death. Try getting a cat to do something it doesn’t want to do anyway. Well, all I can say is – good luck with that!
But it doesn’t matter how big or small your cat is really because they still need the same amount of love, and we cat parents, who will always be their devoted slaves, won’t ever stop giving it to them!