Last Updated: 2 years by Caitlin
There are big cats and small cats. And then there are the tiniest cats you’ll ever see. These smallest cat breeds are known by many names: teacup cats, miniature cats, toy cats and dwarf cats.
Although these names are often used interchangeable, they’re not all referring to the the same type of cats. Dwarf cats are in a category of their own and refer only to felines that are characterized by a condition of dwarfism, resulting in short legged cats.
But the other tiny cats? Well, this is where it gets a little complicated…
Mini Cats, Toy Cats and Teacup Cats (Oh My!)
Miniature cats, teacup cats, toy cats…these tiny kitties are known by many names. But they all refer to the same type of cat: one that is much smaller than the average feline. So, where does one get one of these pint-sized cuties
Well, the first thing you need to know is that there are no mini cat breeds that actually fit into a cup (or pocket or spoon) once they’re fully grown. But there are smaller-than-normal cats that remain small even after they reach maturity.
The average cat is around 8 to 12 pounds. But miniature cats are usually only a third or half of the normal size of their breed – even when they are full grown.
So does that mean every underweight, tiny cat is a miniature cat? Absolutely not!
Miniature cats are becoming increasingly popular which has led to many unscrupulous cat breeders charging top of the line prices for underweight, undersized and often unhealthy runts of the litter. There are even kitten mills that try to pass themselves off as breeding programs that keep kittens in subpar conditions to produce the miniature look in a way that’s harmful to the cats they’re raising.
You may pay top price for one of these kittens only to find that they grow into full-sized cats once they reach maturity!
Do Real Miniature Cats Exist
Genuine miniature cats are naturally tiny – it’s not a result of malnourishment, being underweight or a runty fluke. True miniature cats are a result of either genetic mutation or downsizing and come from carefully controlling breeding lines to limit the gene pool and/or downsizing strategically to produce true mini cats that stay small. Downsizing in this case simply means selecting the smallest cats from a breed to produce even tinier kittens.
If you’re looking for a miniature cat to complete your home, keep in mind that just because a cat is petite, it does not make him a true miniature cat. Choose a reputable breeder who pays careful attention to their breeding standards as well as the homes their kittens are adopted into.
The last thing you should know regarding miniature or teacup cats is that there are no official cat registries in the world that recognize these miniature cats as an official breed. The minute size of the popular Persian teacup cats might be a naturally occurring genetic mutation that can occur in the Persian cat breed but it is not known for sure.
The smallest officially recognized cat breed is the Singapura cat. This pint-sized kitty is as tiny as they come, but it is neither a dwarf cat breed nor a teacup cat.
Still, the Singapura is a super special cat breed so if you’re looking for a tiny cat, she might just be the purrfect one for you. Here’s a short introduction to this diminutive beauty!
Yes, I’m the world’s smallest cat. Even when I’m fully grown, I’ll barely weigh in at 8 lbs. But while I may be tiny, I am a big bundle of feline loveliness!
You’d never guess from looking at me but I’m positively bursting with energy and enthusiasm. Not shy at all, I’ll jump and pounce my way into the center of all household affairs where all eyes will be – and will remain – focused on me.
I love attention! And I’ll do anything for it, which is why I’ve been dubbed the ‘pesky people cat.’ Pesky, I may be, but I’m also unbelievably lovable. Read more about the Singapura.