Cats come in all shapes and sizes, but, somehow, the smallest of the small are especially endearing.
There are several breeds of tiny kitty across three main groups (teacups, short-legged dwarfs and miniature cats), and, while some occur naturally in nature, the others have been created by very selective cross-breeding.
Teacups: Everyone’s Cup Of Tea
Teacups, toys and miniatures are tiny versions of larger breeds like Persians, Himalayans and Chinchillas.
Known as Minipers (Mini Purrs) and Minipaws, these tiny long-hairs are perfectly proportioned – and utterly gorgeous – and their extreme smallness is caused by their having the cat version of primordial dwarfism.
Munchkin: Good Things Come In Small Packages
This breed is the result of a natural genetic mutation that manifests as extremely short legs, and, although it was originally feared that this mutation would result in serious health problems, this has not been the case.
It is also a Munchkin from California named Lilieput that has the distinction of being named the world’s smallest cat!
Minskin, Bambino, Genetta, Skookum, Lambkin, Kinkalow and Napoleon: The Seven Dwarves
The Munchkin has also been crossbred with other breeds to create seven derived breeds including the curled-eared Kinkalow, which is the Munchkin/American Curl mix.
The Minskin has a stocky hairless or short-haired body and is the Munchkin/Sphynx mix, as is the Bambino, which is either completely hairless or down-covered.
The Genetta is a Bengal/Munchkin cross bred to resemble an African genet, while the Skookum gets its fuzzy coat from the LaPerm and its short legs from the Munchkin.
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The Selkirk Rex/Munchkin combination is called the Lambkin because of its extremely curly coat, and the Napoleon, or Minuet, mixes the Persian’s roundish head with the Munchkin’s short legs.
Dwelf/Dwarf Cat: Rumpelstiltskin Come Alive
There is nothing cuter and more odd-looking than this tiny hairless cat, and not for nothing has it been likened to an elf!
Dwarf Cats are the result of a cross between three breeds: the hairless Sphynx, the short-legged Munchkin and the American Curl, whose characteristic curled-back ears breed true in this tiny feline.
Singapura: Smallest Of The Small
The Singapura has the distinction of being known as the world’s smallest natural breed.
It originated in Singapore (although there has been some question about exactly where these cats came from!), and these miniature cats sport short, ticked coats, are extremely affectionate and adults can weigh in at only 4lbs!
Serrade Petit: The French Connection
Hailing from France, this miniature natural breed is extremely laid-back and adjusts easily to new circumstances or surroundings, even if those surroundings include dogs!
Adults vary between 6 and 9lbs, and the breed is known for the softness of its fur and its wide, expressive eyes.
Devon Rex: The Butterfly Cat
The Devon Rex is a naturally occurring mutation that first appeared in 1950s England.
These highly vocal miniature cats range from 6 to 9lbs, and they’re known for their large, butterfly-like ears, their wide-open curious gaze and their softly curling short fur.