What Types of Cats Stay Small All Their Lives

Photo by Elfie, IG

Like dogs, cats come in all different sizes too. There are naturally large cats that can grow to the size of small, and even medium sized dogs.

But large cats don’t always fit everybody’s needs or wants in a kitty. Maybe your living quarters aren’t suited for a larger sized cat or you just simply prefer a dainty little kitty that stays small her whole life.

The most common small cat breeds are:

  • Dwarf
  • Miniature
  • Teacup (also known as pocket or toy cats)



albert cat
Photo by Albertbabycat, IG

The most popular cat in the Dwarf category is the Munchkin cat. The Munchkin is described as a short stature cat with short, squatty legs. The legs are shorter than the longer leg kitties due to a genetic mutation.

Despite its shorter stature, Munchkin cats are just as playful and loveable with a sweet disposition as regular height cats and never let its squattier stature hold him back from enjoying life.

Their loveable free spirit has made them one of the most sought after breeds of cats.

Concern was given to the mutation and the risks it may cause for a condition known as phenotype of homozygous also found in humans.

However, www.cat-breed-info.com quotes Dr. Pflueger who is known for working directly with Munchkin cats in a 1999 paper saying, “I have bred Munchkin to Munchkin, including very close inbreeding, without producing anything vaguely resembling the phenotype of homozygous achrondroplasia.

There is sufficient data at this point to suggest that abnormal homozygotes similar to human achondroplasia are unlikely to appear with future breedings.” She further states; “I believe that Munchkins are happy and healthy cats.”



Photo by Yodathekinkalow, IG

Miniatures are smaller version, or, better known as miniatures. Measurement-speaking, they are about ½ the size of their larger counterpart breed. Their tiny build makes them cute, cuddly and in high demand by so many people.

Miniatures are so small, many breeders will not release them to an owner until they are 5-6 months old, unlike regular sized kittens who typically wean at 6-8 weeks.

Unlike a dwarf cat that has a diversion from regular sized cats – short legs. Miniature cats’ features are all proportionate to their body size. They are simply the same breeds of larger cats, only they are intentionally bred with miniature features.

So if you have a favorite breed, such as a Persian, Siamese, Calico or Malaysian, you should be able to find a miniature version of the breed.



Teacup kitties are even smaller breeds of multiple breeds of cats. They are not mutated or inbred and according to Messybeast.com, something to watch for and be aware of is that not all teacups are true teacups.

Many teacup cats are sold as the specific line of cat when they are actually only runty cats, or undernourished or ill-cared for cats that makes them smaller than they should be.

True miniatures and teacups come from a specific line of the breeds and should only be purchased by licensed breeders.

The care are bred specifically to be small without mutations or health problems and you should always request to see their lineage before purchasing.


Other breeds that are naturally small

A list of other cat breeds that are naturally small cats their entire lives:

  • Oriental
  • Cornish Rex
  • Japanese Bobtail
  • American Curl
  • Burmese
  • Devon Rex








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