Last updated: September 9, 2017
The Singapura is the smallest of the cat breeds. Despite his small physical stature though, he has a huge personality. Still fairly rare, Singapore’s national cat is another unique addition to the domestic cat family.
The Singapura is a small cat with little difference in size between males and females. They typically weigh between five and eight pounds. Although small, the Singapura is not rangy but rather proportionate. They have a square body with moderate bone that tends to taper to fin boning towards the extremities. The feet are small. The tail tapers to a blunt tip and is slender but not whippy.
The Singapura head is rounded, but not domed, and sits atop a short, thick neck. The ears are large with a deep cup. They are somewhat pointed with a wide base and furnishings. The eyes are large and almond in shape. They have mascara markings and well defined facial markings outlining the facial features. They can be green, copper, gold, celadon green, hazel, or yellow but never blue.
The coat is very short and silky. The Singapura only comes in one color. It is called a ticked tabby in a rich sable color. The individual hairs have an ivory base with alternating lines of light and dark on them, creating a ticked effect not dissimilar to that of a cougar coat. Despite their small size, they can be slow to mature and often don’t reach their full size until they are two years of age. Coat can take longer to mature as well with the colors becoming richer over time. They require little to no grooming.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the history of the Singapura. Some claim it is a natural breed that has evolved as an island cat found mainly in the sewers of Singapore, while others feel it is an Abyssinian – Burmese cross that is really a hybrid rather than a natural breed. The word Singapura means Singapore in Malaysian.
The natural breed proponents claim that the breed was found in the sewers of Singapore by Americans Hal and Tommy Meadows in the 1970s. Tommy bred Abyssinians and Burmese and was intrigued by the cats, bringing three back to the United States. The Meadows worked to develop the breed further and would return to Singapore to work again a few years later with grandchildren of the original cats. Eventually, they once again returned home to the United States with more breeding stock. Breeder Barbara Gilbertson would go to Singapore and bring another cat back to the United States.
The paperwork filed by the Meadows on their trips between the United States and Singapore were confusing and cast doubt on the idea that they weren’t bringing Abyssinian – Burmese crosses to Singapore that had been bred in the United States. Gerry Mayes, another American cat breeder, went to Singapore in search of more breeding stock and was unable to find any Singapura in the streets of Singapore but did find the paperwork that was not crystal clear.
The Cat Fancier Association (CFA) noted that both Abyssinians and Burmese can be found in the streets of Singapore and that it is not necessarily unlikely that a cross of the two breeds evolved on the streets of Singapore. They declared it a natural breed and most registries are maintaining the same line. Regardless of how the Singapura breed came into being, they are a unique addition to the purebred cat fancy.
The Singapura is a relatively new breed with a very small gene pool that only really came into prominence in the last half century. This may pose some problems in the future if things are not done to diversify it. Of what is currently known, there are no major diseases that seem to be more common in the Singapura although they do seem to be prone to uterine inertia.
Uterine inertia occurs when the uterus does not contract during queening. This may be a result of overextension of the uterine muscles, insufficient oxytocin being produced by the body, or exhaustion of the muscles after an extended queening. When the uterus fails to contract or contracts non-rhythmically then the kittens cannot be pushed through the birth canal and out into the world. This is a serious emergency and requires a trip to the vet. Sometimes, it can be overcome with an injection of oxytocin, the hormone that is involved in birth contractions. If that does not help, then a caesarian section may be needed to remove the kittens from the uterus.
If his size is small, the Singapura’s personality is anything but small. They are impish little cats that like to get into everything. They tend to be very involved with their families and like to “help” with all activities. Highly intelligent, they are curious and will explore every corner of the home. They love to play and remain kittenish well into their senior years.
Many describe the Singapura as having an otherworld quality that is almost magical. They love to survey rooms from high up and will make their way to the highest points in a room. They are excellent jumpers and love tall cat trees. They are willing to play with anyone willing to play with them and do well in homes with children although not all cats will enjoy overly rambunctious youngsters. Older children may be a better choice.
They are very affectionate cats and love to curl up in your lap for some cuddle time. They enjoy being with their families and will ride about the house on your shoulder if you allow it. They love to snuggle and seek out warm spots such as under your bed covers.
Like many purebred cats, the Singapura is happier with company than being left alone. They can manage on their own but are much happier with another cat or cat friendly dog for company if the household is empty for most of the day.
They are relatively rare and you can definitely expect to have to go on a wait list for a kitten. They are ethereal cats and make a great addition to any home. They are an excellent choice for a family that wants an active cat that enjoys being a part of and participating in family activities.