We dare you to resist the playful personality and big eyes of an adorable kitten — we certainly can't! Those vast, watery eyes are always guaranteed to melt any hearts they come into contact with. But, unfortunately, the kitten period never lasts as long as we want it to. If you want to preserve that kitten feel in an adult feline, small cat breeds are just what you've been looking for.
Perhaps you're looking for a teacup cat that will stay small and playful forever. We've compiled a list of cat breeds that will retain their kitten-like attitude and appearance well into the adult years, meaning you can treasure the precious, playful moments their entire lives!
What is Considered a Small Cat Breed?
Thanks to their compact size and adorable features, small cat breeds make popular pets. However, while the largest cat breeds may certainly tip the scales (weighing in at around 15 pounds or more), the feline family's smallest members often weigh 5 - 10 pounds.
In addition, since certain small cat breeds have exceedingly skinny legs, and others (like the Munchkin) tend to stand at about 10 inches or shorter, a cat's height may vary greatly depending on the breed.
The pint-sized variety of our feline friends tends to vary in appearance, with a wide spectrum of colors, coats, and unique features that make it a bit easier to distinguish one small cat breed from the next.
What Kind of Cats Stay Small?
We call the kinds of kitties that stay small "teacup cats." These teacup cats have been selectively bred to be as small as possible. They're just like slightly grown-up kittens! Smaller cat breeds are perfect for those who want their feline friends to stay pocket-sized forever.
But not all small cats are created equal. While certain animals and breeds are naturally petite, others may be stunted in size because of health problems, disease, or undernourishment. If a kitten is simply born as the runt of a litter, this is not the same as being a small cat breed.
There is a wide variety of small cats to choose from if you're looking to take home a new kitten-sized feline friend. Below we have provided a small list of a few cat breeds that tend to fly under the radar as they simply aren't as popular as the most well-known small cat breeds (such as the Singapura or the Munchkin).
Less Popular Small Cats
- The Napoleon
- The Colorpoint Shorthair
- The Dwelf Cat
- The Russian Blue
- The Sphynx
- The Snowshoe
Are Small Cat Breeds Common?
Yes, they are! People often breed smaller cats for the sole purpose of having a smaller than average feline friend that won't ever grow out of its kitten-like stature. Small cat breeds are extremely popular for several reasons, so it's no surprise that there is a variety to choose from when it comes to which tiny feline friend you're bringing home.
Miniature cats are 1/3 to 1/2 smaller than the normal size of a particular breed. Teacup cats are even smaller! Cats that are smaller than usual may occur for several reasons, whether they be hormonal, environmental, or genetic.
Mini cats are typically about one-third to one-half the size of an average-sized cat of the same breed. However, the true difference between the mini feline and the teacup cat is that a genuine teacup is born with genetic dwarfism.
Instead of just making the legs short, this condition causes the cat to be proportionally smaller all over. The semi-recent discovery of this particularly cute mutation has caused the teacup cat's popularity to spread like wildfire.
Dwarf cats are domestic breeds with a genetic mutation that causes dwarfism. The founding breed of the short-legged dwarf cat is none other than the Munchkin breed itself. A handful of dwarf cat breeds have been developed by crossing the Munchkin with various normally proportioned cats. Set by the Dwarf Cat Association, the major dwarf breeds are as follows:
- Minskin: A cross between Munchkin and Sphynx cat, with some Devon Rex and Burmese mixed in.
- Dwelf: American Curl + Munchkin
- Lambkin: Selkirk Rex + Munchkin
- Skookum: LaPerm + Munchkin
- Kinkalow: American Curl + Munchkin
- Bambino: Sphynx + Munchkin
- Napoleon: Persian + Munchkin
Are Small Cat Breeds Easy to Care For?
Care for small cat breeds is generally no different than the most important aspects of feline care. All cats require:
- Regular meals and a constant supply of clean water
- A clean and comfortable bed
- Outdoor access or a litter box
- Regular grooming
- A stimulating and safe environment
However, there are two primary nuances that tiny cat parents have to be aware of when it comes to small cat breeds. Let's take a look.
Conditions such as the slowing rate of mass muscle growth can cause weakness and may decrease limb use. In addition, the teacup versions of many animals are susceptible to heart murmurs and an enlarged heart, which can be potentially fatal for your cat later on down the road. Lastly, small cat breeds are also at increased risk for misshapen jaws, bowed legs, and shorter lifespans.
Suppose your darling Singapura escapes into the backyard one afternoon. Now, for most cat parents, this bit of exploration might not raise any red flags at all. But unsupervised roaming around the block could be a serious issue for the owner of a tiny, curious cat.
We hear you asking, "But why is it so dangerous outside?" When a cat gets small enough, it faces the same dangers that animals like rabbits face. This can include predators like large birds.
While a hawk may have difficulty lifting a 12 - 15 pound cat off the ground, it could easily snatch an adorable small kitty off the ground. It is crucial that we look after our small feline friends since they cannot easily defend themselves.
Most Popular Small Cat Breeds
Cat lovers don't always agree on a complete list of small cats since even larger breeds will occasionally produce a tiny kitty. Still, the fact remains that some cat breeds are naturally smaller in stature than others. Therefore, below we have provided a small list of five popular small cat breeds that have attracted lots of attention.
Commonly known to be one of the most miniature cat breeds globally, the Singapura is roughly half the size of the average cat. Their bodies are delicate and petite, and they usually don't weigh more than 5 pounds, meaning that they possess the proportions of a kitten throughout their entire lives.
But take care not to let their tiny statures fool you. Singapura cats make fantastic climbers and are unbelievably agile! Not to mention, they make the perfect companion for the cat parent wanting a cuddly kitty. The Singapura loves nothing more than having a good pet while snuggled up in your lap.
Named for the magical folk in The Wizard of Oz, the Munchkin is potentially the most famous small cat breed. Their tiny stature is primarily due to a gene mutation that results in little legs which are much stubbier than the average cat.
While their bodies are generally only slightly smaller than average, their shoulders are much lower to the ground than most cats, which causes the lovely little wobble that has become the signature walk of the Munchkin cat. These little guys may not jump as far or high as the average cat, but they are still very active and surprisingly fast.
The Siamese cat is incredibly lightweight, despite having a notably long body. The females of this breed are around 30 cm in height and often weigh as little as 5 pounds, giving them a graceful and sleek appearance.
These little guys are one of the few cat breeds that sport striking blue eyes. Their attractive coloring and glossy coats make them incredibly popular, not only in our households but in the show ring as well!
Due to its diverse gene pool, the American Curl comes in a wide range of sizes. However, the majority tends to be relatively petite. Their most notable characteristic is their ears which curl back toward the base of their skull, hence the breed's name.
They require a bit of extra cleaning compared to other breeds because of the curl to their ears, but other than that, the American curl is a generally low-maintenance cat breed. The American Curl is perfect for those looking for an affectionate cat. This teacup cat breed is also known for its incredibly playful attitudes and people-loving personalities, making them ideal for families.
The Devon Rex cat breed is often confused with their close relatives, the Cornish Rex. Only weighing between 5 - 10 pounds on average, the Devon Rex is known for its small stature, large round eyes, soft coat, and big ears. The combination of big ears and large eyes tend to give this breed an adorable cartoonish appearance.
This teacup cat breed always prefers to be the center of attention, with their favorite place to spend time being on the shoulders of their loved ones. However, the Devon Rex breed is extremely friendly and tends to thrive on human contact, so this small cat breed may only be a good fit for you if you spend a lot of time at home or possess the time and energy to give them all your love and attention.
The Cornish Rex is a tiny cat that is most commonly identified by its uniquely curly coat. The Cornish Rex is a hypoallergenic breed as it doesn't shed very much, and they only have down hair (the undercoat), which is soft to the touch.
While their bodies often look acrobatic and spry, they tend to keep their adorable kitten-like appearance and attitude forever and don't often grow larger than about 8 pounds throughout their whole lives.
Low Maintenance Small Cat Breeds
As is the case when comparing all cats, some small cat breeds are simply easier to care for than others. Maybe all you want is a chill cat that can get along well with your other animal housemates (some people call them pets), or perhaps you're looking to become a first-time cat owner.
On the other hand, maybe your job typically keeps you away from home most of the day, and you're looking for some animal companionship, but you want a pet that can amuse itself without destroying your home. Whatever the reason, we have provided three adorable low-maintenance small cat breeds.
Hairless cat breeds are a common first choice for aspiring cat owners concerned about allergens. While truly hairless cats are a thing of myth, the Sphynx's fur feels more like peach fuzz than actual hair. This unique trait also means that the breed has less dander (a common allergen), making it the perfect hypoallergenic housemate.
An active, independent, and lithe creature, the Sphynx is completely fine entertaining itself while you're out of the house. Although, investing in a cat tower may be in your best interest, as the Sphynx is anything but shy when it comes to jumping.
Similar to the British Shorthair, the Russian Blue has developed a reputation for its laid-back temperament. However, this easygoing feline friend is also quite independent. It won't demand cuddle time when you're doing dishes or follow you like a puppy from room to room. This will be a benefit to some and a drawback to others.
Instead, the Russian Blue doesn't mind if your work schedule keeps you out of the house all day, as it is completely content to amuse itself the majority of the time. In addition, the Russian Blue's beautiful smoky gray coat only requires brushing once or twice a week to maintain its thick, luxurious appearance.
The Scottish Fold is an adorable and low-maintenance addition to any home. Named for how its ears fold forward and lie atop the head, their stubby stature and calm personality make them unlikely to attempt any impressive leaps. Instead, their adaptable, tranquil demeanor makes them the perfect companions.
As a cat breed, the Scottish Fold is a real sweetheart that can get along wonderfully with kids, dogs, and other cats. In addition, their thick coat is surprisingly easy to maintain, only needing to be brushed once or twice a week.
What is the Smallest Cat Breed in the World?
Recognized as the smallest cat breed globally, the Singapura measures at about half the size of the average cat, functionally retaining a kitten's size throughout their entire lives. As a result, their bodies are delicate and petite, and they typically tend to weigh less than 5 pounds.
However, while the Singapura cat breed takes home the gold for the smallest cat breed in the world, the first place prize for the smallest individual cat goes to a male Blue Point Himalayan-Persian by the name of "Tinker Toy." This tiny feline resident of Taylorville, Illinois, measured at only 2.75 inches tall and 7.5 inches long when full-grown at the age of 2.5 years old.
Final Thoughts - Small Cat Breeds
Here at HolistaPet, we believe you'd be hard-pressed to find a precious little kitty cat that didn't prompt a drawn-out "awww!" Aside from being super tiny and super cute, each cat listed in this article has a unique personality that may make it perfect for a family — potentially your family!
Some of the breeds listed above happen to be the most affectionate cat breeds around! From fluffy and soft to short-haired and even hairless, one or more of these sweet kitty cats is sure to steal your heart.