The Singapura cat originates, of course, from Singapore. They are small and dainty, usually growing to no more than 6 to 8 pounds. Packed with personality and love to play, these cats have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. They have a short coat and you can expect them to be generally healthy.
What’s In This Guide
Our readers’ most popular and frequently asked questions about the Singapura.
- Are Singapuras good family pets?
- How much do Singapura cats cost?
- How heavy are Singapuras?
- Are Singapuras hypoallergenic?
Singapura Breed Review: Contents
- Where do Singapuras come from?
- Singapura personality
- Singapura temperament
- Can Singapuras go outside?
- How big are Singapuras
- Singapura colors
- Grooming your Singapura
- Singapura shedding
- Are Singapuras hypoallergenic?
- Singapura health problems
- Singapura care
- Feeding your Singapura
- Are Singapuras good pets?
- Singapura breeders
- Raising a Singapura kitten
- Rescuing a Singapura
What is a Singapura
Unless you’re from the island nation of Singapore, chances are slim that you’re familiar with this small, beautiful and intelligent breed, but that’s all about to change!
This intriguing feline is so beloved in its native country that the Singaporean government declared it a “national living treasure” in 1991.
The muscular, beige and brown-ticked domestic cat is native to the streets of Singapore, with no cross breeding in its background.
Let’s start our exploration of this captivating breed by going back in time to where it all began for the Singapura (which means Singapore in Malaysian) kitty. The diverse streets on the Singapore landmass.
Some cat breeds are been immortalized in poetry and paintings for hundreds of years. In contrast, it’s hard to find much mention of Singaporean “drain cats” before the 20th century.
This all changed when American Abyssinian and Burmese cat breeders Hal and Tommy Meadow brought three cats home from Singapore at the beginning of the 1970’s and used them to found the Singapura breed. The Meadows were the original Singapura cat breeders!
The distinctive moggie was an instant hit in the U.S., with breeders racing to reproduce the sensational Singapura cat.
The Singapura was registered by the International Cat Association in 1979 and The Cat Fanciers’ Association began registering the breed in 1982.
Today the Singapura is gradually being recognized around the globe, with its popularity steadily rising.
Singapura cats: creation and contention
Like any good cat tale, this story has a bit more controversy and intrigue!
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Singapore Tourism Board started the process to recognize the Singapura as a national mascot. And an international cat breeding scandal broke out.
It transpired that the three founding cats the Meadows brought home had also traveled out to Singapore with them from the US, described as Abyssinians on their paperwork. Abyssinians, like Burmese cats, are not Singapura cat breeds.
It was alleged the Meadows had then re-imported them falsely as “new” cats.
What is a Singapura cat? The CFA investigation
The Cat Fanciers Association was called upon to investigate the issue. Was there an attempt to claim other breeds of cats were in fact Singapura cat breeds?
The Singapura cat breeders (the Meadows’) admitted that the three founding Singapuras had been born in Texas after all.
BUT, they also testified that those three cats were the grandkittens of four different native Singaporean cats. Those cats had been brought into the US following a previous trip to Singapore.
They had lied to conceal that earlier trip, partly because they had smuggled the first four cats into the US without paperwork. Ultimately, the CFA was convinced that the Singapura breed was a legitimate and distinct breed and the matter was officially closed.
Despite this, debate has never quite gone away. It is fueled now and then by evidence like this 2007 study from the University of California which found that Singapuras are genetically indistinguishable from Burmese cats.
However as one pragmatic CFA spokesperson put it at the time, in the world of cat fancy it doesn’t matter how a breed comes to exist, as long as it demonstrably meets its own unique breed standard now. Now we know there are no Singapura cat breeds, just one singular breed.
This breed loves to play!
Plenty of pleasing play toys and a challenging food puzzle will go a long way toward keeping your little Singapura busy.
Otherwise you may find that her energetic curiosity is turned toward mischief making!
The Singapura has a high energy level and loves to run and jump.
What kind of temperament can you expect from a delightful, soft-voiced Singapura kitty?
For starters, this pint-size fellow is a people-pleaser with a strong sense of curiosity. So don’t be surprised if your friend takes to following you around the house!
The Singapura is an extrovert with a high kitty I.Q.
So be sure that you want a constant companion, not just a showpiece cat, or an animal that makes for good “window dressing.”
Can Singapuras go outside?
As you now know, the Singapura was originally found on the streets of Singapura.
Although small and dainty, this is a cat that can look after itself in most instances. However, many owners suggest that this breed’s fear of loud noises and small frame mean it is best kept indoors for the most part.
There are of course dangers inherent of having an outdoor cat vs an indoor cat. But, there are lots of benefits to both.
Whether you want to have an indoors or outdoors cat it up to you. As an outdoors cat, your Singapura may track dirt back into the house but he will also find plenty to keep him busy.
As an indoors cat you can better keep an eye on any food or substances your Singapura comes into contact with. You’ll also be less anxious about the potential dangers your cat might come across in the big bad world.
If you want to know more, feel free to check out our article Outdoor Cat vs Indoor Cat.
Cats are relatively small domestic animals. But the Singapura has the distinction of being an exceptionally diminutive cat, with some cat fanciers describing it as the smallest known domestic feline.
But despite its small size, the Singapura is a muscular cat, even though it may look quite dainty.
Singapura kittens develop also slowly: in fact these moggies may not reach their full size until upwards of 2 years of age.
Sometimes this even causes them to be mistaken for underweight!
Exactly how big is the Singapura cat? Full grown males should average 6-8 pounds with females weighing in at around 5-6 pounds.
Singapura colors and coats
Appearance-wise Singapuras have ears and eyes that seem oversized on their petite frames.
They are a shorthaired breed, with small feet, and an average length tail that, unlike other moggie’s, does not taper to a point.
The Singapura cat has enchanting eyes, with colors ranging from yellow to green all the way to a blended hazel hue.
At first glance, the Singapura appears to have a light buff coloration.
But on closer inspection you will notice that its closely laying undercoat is a light beige with brown ticking.
Grooming your Singapura
The short hair on the Singapura is a low maintenance affair, and owners can get by with a weekly brushing.
Of course if you and your friend are so inclined, daily brushing is a great way to bond with your bestie.
Plus it gives you the opportunity to spot any potential health issues sooner rather than later.
If you’re looking for the best brush for your Singapura, have a look at this guide.
The Singapura is a low to medium shedding breed meaning you don’t have to worry too much about being inundated with fluff.
Shedding is a natural process that all cats with hair go through. If you want to lessen the amount of hair you find around your house then it’s best to adopt a grooming routine.
Are Singapuras hypoallergenic?
If you’ve been searching for ‘Singapura cat allergies’ I’m afraid this breed is not the hypoallergenic answer to your woes.
I’ll just come out and say it. No cat is truly hypoallergenic.
What does hypoallergenic mean? Well, as anybody with allergies will tell you, hypoallergenic means that something is unlikely to give you an allergic reaction.
Unfortunately, because A) all cats shed and B) all cats are covered in a protein called Fel d 1, all cats pose a risk to those allergic to our feline friends.
Although Singapuras aren’t particularly heavy shedders this doesn’t mean we can recommend them to those who suffer from allergies. Make sure you read up on hypoallergenic cat breeds here.
Singapura health problems
The Singapura cat breed is recognized as a generally health one, although its small gene pool is concerning for some.
Breeds with small gene pools can inherit fixed health issues due to the lack of genetic diversity.
The long term impact of Singapuras’ small foundations is as yet unknown.
And it will depend partly upon how much breeders embrace outcrossing with other breeds to increase genetic variation.
Meanwhile, there are a couple of health conditions to be aware of within the Singapura breed.
This is a prime example of a problem suffered by one of the Meadow’s founding cats, which became widespread among her descendants.
Uterine inertia is a condition that reduces a female cat’s ability to expel a fetus.
It is caused by weakened muscles and has been seen in some Singapura female cats.
In such animals, a Caesarean section delivery is performed.
Pyruvate kinase (PK) deficiency
Pyruvate kinase (PK) deficiency is an inherited condition known to affect the Singapura breed, and can result in anemia.
Look for symptoms of jaundice, lethargy, weight loss, diarrhea, and/or lack of appetite in your Singapura.
If you see them, do not hesitate to take her to the vet, as these can be symptoms of PKD.
One study that tested for PK deficiency among 38 domestic cat breeds concluded that several at-risk breeds should be tested for the condition. The Singapura is among those breeds for whom such testing is recommended.
Therefore, whenever you make inquiries about a Singapura kitten, the breeder should already know the carrier status of both the parents.
The importance of the right vet
Since Singapura cats aren’t widely owned yet, one of the earliest steps you can take to keep them healthy is finding a vet who is familiar with them.
This will stand them in good stead from day one, since an experienced vet will help you monitor the growth of a naturally slow-growing Singapura kitten. In particular, they will know the difference between small but healthy for the breed, and too small.
The enchanting Singapura cat enjoys an average lifespan of between 10-15 years.
Of course there are several things that you can do to ensure your moggie’s health and well-being.
Caring for your Singapura
Since Singapura cats are social extroverts and people-oriented, your furry friend will crave your attention throughout her lifespan. Giving her the relationships she needs will protect her from stress caused by loneliness.
Frequent handling and early exposure to other animals and people will help your little one to become a confident kitty, who not only wants to be with you, but is a friendly and mannered pet as well.
Your pet’s lifespan is further accentuated with regular attention to her body condition. Grooming sessions are a great way to stay on top of any changes to your cat’s health.
While you are grooming your little one, take a peek into her ears, and if they appear dirty gently wipe the insides with a soft cloth.
Singapuras don’t have any specific dietary requirements that you need to worry about. It is likely that if you rescue or adopt a Singapura, he will already be accustomed to a certain diet.
If you want to change their food, don’t do it straight away. It’s best to wean any cat off its food and slowly introduce the new food. It might be a good idea to consult with your vet before changing foods. They will be able to tell you about any food intolerance your Singapura might have.
When it comes to the debate between wet and dry food, you can find good arguments for both. Both contain lots of valuable nutrients but it’s worth finding out what exactly is in any food you buy for your cat.
If you want to know about the best brands of cat food, check out our article here.
Are Singapuras good pets?
This is an energetic and extroverted breed. Singapuras love company any attention. They should get on well with children, family members and even well socialized dogs!
So, where can you find a Singapura?
Cat breeders, rescue organizations, and shelters are all possibilities, although it is unlikely that you find one at the latter location.
Singapuras are still relatively rare after all, so it’s improbable, although not impossible, that one will turn up at a shelter. Your best bet for acquiring such a special cat is through a responsible breeder.
Responsible breeders will be happy to answer any questions you might have and should be able to provide you with results of all health tests. If your breeder is reluctant to answer questions then consider finding another breeder.
It is very important to mention that we don’t condone the practice of buying cats from pet shops. Usually the animals in these shops are bred in kitten farms where the animals have a very poor quality of life.
What is the typical Singapura cat price?
An online survey of adoption websites showed that the Singapura cat price can range from $550 to $1,000 and up depending on the type of cat (show or pet) you are looking for.
Of course show quality cats are more expensive and the price is dependent on bloodlines and markings.
A pet quality feline is a cat designated to have appearance faults which render it unacceptable for breeding or showing.
These will be considered minor cosmetic faults to most owners not interested in a show cat, and include physical qualities such as an incomplete nose liner, eyes that are set too close, or a head considered to be too long.
While everyone loves the joyful sight of a frisky kitten chasing its tail and racing about, committing to raising one can be a different reality entirely!
Before you acquire a Singapura kitten, ask yourself if you’re prepared to handle a non-stop bundle of energy while continually reinforcing good manners for however long it takes for the desired behaviors to stick.
Other cat owners will relate when I say that as a kitten my cat Fuzzy never saw a curtain he didn’t want to claw-climb, nor a full glass of water he didn’t want to topple over!
If you want to get a bit more in depth, then you might want to check out The Happy Cat Handbook.
Rescuing a Singapura
Rescuing animals is a great choice for a number of reasons.
Maybe a mature, adult Singapura would fit in better with your lifestyle or current household? An older cat still has loads of love to give, and on the plus side its temperament and health are more apparent with age.
In particular, Singapura cats are recognized for retaining their sense of active playfulness into adulthood. So you will still get that sense of feline friskiness, but without that maniacal edge that kittens can display.
If you think that a mature kitty is a good option for you, breeders will sometimes have a retired breeding or show cat available, or know of a mature cat who needs a loving home.
All it takes is a simple inquiry, and you may find yourself with a mature companion that you can love for a lifetime!
Pros And Cons of Getting A Singapura
- Fear of loud noises might be unsuitable for some households
- Unusual breed many vets may be unfamiliar with
- An active breed, may not fit in well in a passive house
- Because they are rare, they can be quite expensive
- Small gene pool may result in health problems
- This cat will make a fun companion from a kitten into old age
- Having a rare breed might be appealing to some
- Singapuras don’t shed excessively
- Singapuras will get on well with people and other animals
- Not known for being aloof, grooming should be relatively easy
Should I get a Singapura?
We have a few more tidbits of information as you consider whether or not the Singapura cat is right for you. First off, many Singapura owners advocate that these moggies should always be kept indoors.
Although they (probably) come from the streets originally and have a muscular body, they are small and just don’t have the brawny type of personality that lends itself to becoming a street-wise moggie.
You can read our guide to indoor vs outdoor cats to help you reach your own decision.
Secondly, Singapuras have a strong dislike of harsh or loud noises. If you have children (and children’s toys!) do you have enough space for a Singapura cat to find some quiet sanctuary elsewhere at home?
Next, while many consider the Singapura to be the smallest cat breed, its personality is definitely not on the timid side of things!
This is not an aloof cat who wants to watch the world go by from a lonely perch. This feline is a people-pleaser who will trail you from room to room, wanting to be acknowledged and in on the action.
If you have other pets and children the Singapuras extroverted and curious nature means that it should get along well with other “roomies.”
Choosing a Singapura cat
As you can see, there’s a lot of food for thought before you bring home one of Singapore’s cutest exports.
Now you know that all about the Singapura cat size, health concerns and much more. We hope we’ve helped you come a little bit closer to making that decision.
Singapuras are lively and friendly cats, who join in well with family life.
They are also still rare and expensive, and highly prone to some inheritable illnesses due to inbreeding.
It’s going to be interesting to see what the future has in store for these little cats!
Do you have a Singapura?
If so we would love to hear about your experiences with this exceptional feline treasure, in the comments section below! This article has been extensively revised in 2019.
Singapura Breed Rescues
References And Resources
- Gough A, Thomas A, O’Neill D. 2018 Breed Predispositions to Disease In Dogs and Cats. Wiley Blackwell
- Hawes et al. Factors Informing Outcomes for Older Cats and Dogs in Animal Shelters
- O’Neill et al. Longevity and mortality of cats attending primary care veterinary practices in England
- Grahn, R.A., et al, Erythrocyte Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency mutation identified in multiple breeds of domestic cats, BMC Veterinary Research, 2012
- Ekstrand, C., Linde-Forsberg, C., Dystocia in the cat: A retrospective study of 155 cases, Journal of Small Animal Practice, 1994
- Lipinski et al, The ascent of cat breeds: Genetic evaluations of breeds and worldwide random-bred populations, Genomics, 2008
- CFA – Singapura
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