When it comes to pets, one size doesn't fit all. We're all familiar with the tiny dogs that literally fit inside a teacup, but what about cats? If you find yourself wishing for an adorable cat that would forever remain the size of a tiny kitten, one of the smaller feline breeds may be the perfect new addition to your family. Consider choosing your new pet from one of these 8 smallest domestic cat breeds.
1. Napoleon Cat
The Napoleon Cat breed was created by a Basset Hound breeder in 1996 by cross-breeding the Persian and Munchkin cats. It bears the name of the short French Emperor Napoleon Bonapart who rose to fame during the French Revolution.
Affectionately called Naps this cat breed has the sweet face of the Persian and is short-legged like the Munchkin. It is a sturdy cat with firm, well-developed muscles. Its short legs don't seem to hamper this cat's mobility.
The head is rounded and the nose short but not snub. The small to medium ears are set wide apart. Its brilliant eyes often match its coat color.
The Napoleon may be longhaired or shorthaired. The short coat is soft and dense, and the long coat has a thick undercoat.
Naps have a warm and sociable personality. They make great pets if you love to cuddle with your cat. They don't like to be alone and do well with other cats and dogs that are used to cats.
They are active and playful but are not great jumpers since they have such short legs. Instead, they find ways to climb on furniture to cuddle with their owners.
The Napoleon breed may share some genetic diseases of the Persian and Munchin breeds. They may be prone to the following conditions:
- Peritoneopericardial defect
- Polycystic kidney disease
- an inward curvature of the spine called Lordosis
- and pectus excavatum (sunken chest)
Average weight: 5-9 pounds
Life expectancy: 9-15 years
The Singapura breed was developed in the 70s, but it is believed cats like them existed at least a decade earlier. The breed is thought to be a result of mating between the Abyssinian and Burmese cats.
The Singapura became a recognized breed in 1988 by the Cat Fanciers Association. It has been Singapore's travel mascot since 1990.
The tiny Singapura is mischievous and active. They will keep you entertained by chasing small balls and performing antics like climbing and jumping on your shoulder. They remain playful into adulthood.
The Singapura is affectionate, loves being a lap cat, and is never shy around new people. He is comfortable around other animals, great with children, loves to play fetch, and can learn tricks.
The Singapura's eyes and ears are large in proportion to its body. His sepia-colored coat is short, fine, and silky. The hazel, yellow, or green eyes have dark lines that extend to the bridge of the nose. The nose leather is salmon-colored, and the paw pads are brown.
The Singapura has a muscular body and legs and a thick neck. The tail is slender with a dark tip.
The Singapura's only known genetic health issue is pyruvate kinase deficiency (PKD). The condition is caused by a deficiency of an important enzyme that results in hemolytic anemia.
A test is available to determine if the cat is either affected by or a carrier of PDK. Even so, affected cats can live a normal life.
Average weight: 6-8 pounds
Average life expectancy: 13 years
Aptly named, the Munchin cat resembles any other cat except for its very short legs. Energetic and extroverted, he is playful around other cats, cat-friendly dogs, and children.
This cat breed comes from natural genetic mutation. The mother cat was a stray found in 1983 in Louisiana.The Munchkin's coat can be short or long and in any color or pattern. Both long and short haired varieties are easy to groom.
The Munchin is a highly intelligent cat. Challenge him with puzzle toys and play interactively with him.
Generally healthy, the Munchin has no known genetic disease. Do not let your Munchin become obese.
Average size: 5 to 9 pounds
Average lifespan: 13 years.
4. Bambino Cats
The Bambino is a cross between the Munchkin and Sphynx breeds. Its origin is the United States.
Bambino cats have a wrinkled, hairless appearance. They can be any color, but are usually, white, black, or cream-colored.
The medium-boned body is longish, and the front legs are slightly shorter than the back ones. The tail is proportionate to the body, and may have a puff on the end or "lion's tail."
The Bambino's head is slightly longer than it is wide, whiskers are sparse, the chin firm. Eyes are large and wide-spaced, and the ears are rather large and set upright.
Bambino cats make good pets for people who like to travel and take their cat with them because they adapt to new environments readily. They are easygoing, friendly, and intelligent.
This cat breed does well with children as long as they treat them with respect. They get along with other pets after a proper introduction.
The only genetic health concern is dwarfism. It is a good cat for you if you worry about medical costs for pets.
Average size: female, 4-7 pounds; male, 5-9 pound
Average life expectancy: 12-14 years
5. Sphynx Cat
The hairless Sphynx is the result of a genetic mutation. Once called Canadian hairless, the cat was renamed in honor of the Egyptian statues worn smooth by time.
The Sphynx come in all colors and patterns. His muscular body is covered with a fine, soft down.
The Sphynx body is muscular; the head is wedge-shaped, whiskers and eyebrows are sparse. The tail is whip-like and may have a tuft or "lion's tail" on the end.
The Sphynx is high sociable and loves the company of people and other pets. Some have even been used as therapy pets.
Generally healthy, be aware of the following two genetic diseases:
- Urticaria pigmentosa (skin disease causing crusty sores) causes crusty sores on the body.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a form of heart disease)
Average weight: 6-12 pounds
Average life span: 8-14 years
6. Bombay Cat
Resembling a miniature black panther, the Bombay is a cross between sable Burmese and black American Shorthairs. The name has nothing to do with the city of Bombay; the breed was created in Louisville, Kentucky in the 1950s.
Friendly and highly adaptable, these cats will "talk" to you in a friendly tone. They like to play fetch, and some have been taught to walk on a leash.
The Bombay gets along well with children and other pets, but he likes to be "top dog." He is fastidiously clean in his bathroom habits.
The Bombay's coat is a dramatic black, but a few rare sable kittens have been born. Otherwise, the Bombay closely resembles the Burmese cat. He has a rounded head, medium ears set wide apart, a medium length tail and eyes of gold or copper.
Generally healthy, craniofacial defect, a genetic disease may occur in newborn Bombay cats.
Average weight: 6-11 pounds
Average life span: 12-16 years
7. Korat Cats
The Korat is a native of Thailand where he is considered to be a good luck charm. Based on ancient literature, they may date back to the 14th century.
The Korat has a beautiful silver-blue short coat and emerald eyes. The head is heart-shaped, the expression is alert, and the nose leather, lips, and paw pads are blue or lavender.
Korats are quiet and like a quiet environment. They make their needs known with a chirp or scream, and they like to cuddle on your lap.
Korats can be possessive with toys. They are intelligent and can be taught tricks or even how to walk on a leash.
Genetic health concerns include:
- Neuromuscular Degenerative Disease
Originating in Oregon in 1982, the La Perm gets its name from having a curly coat.They are outcrossed to domestic short-haired and long-haired breeds to maintain genetic diversity.
The LaPerm is clever and clownish, sure to be entertaining to its owner and their guests. He is independent but still loves to sit on your lap and have your attention.
LaPerms get along well in households with children and cat-friendly dogs.
The LaPerm has bouncy curls with tighter curls around the neck. His whiskers are long and curly as well.
The LaPerm's coat may be long or short and comes in any color or pattern, with red or tortoise shell being the most common. The head is slightly rounded, ears are medium to large and slightly flared, and the expressive eyes can be any color.
LaPerms have no known genetic problems but are prone to fleas and vomiting.
Average weight: 5 to 8 pounds
Average lifespan: 10-15 years
These eight small breed cats are all well suited to any home with people who love cats. Research the cat you are considering to adopt or purchase to make sure his temperament and needs can be met in your household. Keep your small breed cat indoors to prevent him from diseases carried by other cats, other animal attacks, and thieves. You will be rewarded with years of loyalty, entertainment, and love.