Monday, August 29, 2016

Cat Breeds: Singapura

Like the name suggests, the Singapura originates from Singapore. In that area, cats with ticked coats of a deep brown color have been common for centuries. But it wasn't until the 1970s that married couple Hal and Tommy Meadow brought the first of these little sweethearts to the United States. They would eventually start a breeding program to establish the Singapura in the US.

Because they had so few cats to start with, they were naturally concerned with inbreeding. They consulted with a British geneticist on how best to proceed. This slowed down the breeding program a bit, but it made for a stronger, healthier breed all around. When other breeders began working with the Singapura, they all benefited from the care taken in those early days.

Occasionally, despite all the careful breeding, solid brown kittens were born into Singapura litters. By 1985 it was suspected that some Singapuras carried a recessive gene for solid color. This didn't sit well with breeders at all and it was decided a test-mating program was the best way to identify cats with the recessive gene. By 1988 a total of seven cats with the unwanted gene were identified. These cats were adopted out as pets, never again to be used in the Singapura breeding program. This solved the problem of brown kittens, but it also narrowed the gene pool a bit.

Though there were few purebred cats at the time, the Singapura was recognized as a unique and distinct breed by TICA in 1979. But to continue the breeding programs in the United States, more cats were necessary. In 1987 Singapura breeder Gerry Mayes travelled to Singapore, bringing back more cats that could be registered with TICA. The breed is still rare and expensive, but at least the gene pool is relatively wide today.

The Appearance of the Singapura

Weighing in at no more than 8 pounds, the Singapura is the smallest purebred cat in the world. It can take up to two years for this little cat to reach maturity, and when he is grown he is still a tiny thing. His compact body and powerful legs make him an excellent jumper, even among cats. He can and will leap up anywhere.

The rounded head and large ears give the Singapura an alert and even surprised look. The eyes are beautiful and look as if they're decorated with eye liner. Eye color can range from hazel to copper to gold. Some cats even have green eyes.

There is only one allowable coat color for a Singapura. The cat should be ivory with rich sable brown ticking. Some cats have a slightly yellow tone, but this should be mild and is not preferred. Bars of sable should be present on the legs and a noticeable "M" should appear on the forehead.

The coat is always short and easily managed. A quick brush once a week and a buff with a chamois cloth is more than enough to keep your Singapura looking and feeling his best.

The Personality of the Singapura

This breed is a people-loving extrovert at heart. He will follow you around the house and poke his nose into everything you do. He's the cat who will lay on your papers and jump on the keyboard. Are you baking? Watch the cat. He'll leap right into the middle of it all just because he likes to be in on the action.

He also loves heights, so expect to find him on top of fridges and cupboards. The tops of curtain rods are also common spots for this athletic breed. Or he might just sit on your shoulder so he doesn't miss anything. Either way, he gets a bird's eye view.

This little guy gets along well with other cats, even if they're not Singapuras, but he doesn't really like dogs. They tend to be too big and loud for such a tiny cat. He also would prefer older children to younger children for this same reason. Loud people are not his favorite thing, so teach everyone to be quiet and calm around your Singapura kitty.

The Singapura will play with you, but he'd prefer to snuggle and chat. While this breed isn't as vocal as the Siamese, he'll still occasionally chirp and meow and purr to get your attention. Talk to him and he might speak up more.

If you're looking for a tiny cat who always wants to cuddle, the Singapura might be the right cat for you.

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