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Alan Robinson, Animal Photography
Helmi Flick, Animal Photography
This cat stands out for his small size, black-tipped tail and subtle coloring. He’s said to have originated on the streets of Singapore and was developed as a breed in the 1970s. Singapuras are quiet, intelligent and active.
The SIngapura was once the Singapore Tourism Board's national mascot.
Even the smallest feline is a masterpiece, said Leonardo da Vinci. The Singapura is evidence of that truth. Known for being the smallest of the domestic cats (four to seven pounds), this one-time Singapore street cat is considered a living national treasure by that nation-state’s government. He is noted for his big ears; big eyes in hazel, green or yellow; a small muscular body; and a short, ivory-colored background coat with brown ticking that gives him the appearance of having stepped out of a sepia-toned photo.
Nicknamed the Pura, this cat is impish, inquisitive, intelligent and full of energy. He may be little, but he’s a powerhouse, leaping to high places—including your shoulder—and supervising everything that goes on in the home. When he’s not running along the top of the bookshelf or chasing after a toy, he’s seeking out a lap where he can relax. The Singapura is an extrovert and can usually get along with everyone, including other cats, friendly dogs and well-behaved children.
The Pura’s short coat is easy to groom with weekly brushing. Trim the nails and clean the ears as needed.
The Singapura is well suited to any home with people who will love him and care for him. Keep him indoors to protect him from cars, diseases spread by other cats and attacks from other animals.
Little is known of the Singapura’s history. He’s said to be a street cat from the island nation of Singapore that was brought to the United States and developed as a breed in the 1970s by American couple Hal and Tommy Meadows. The Meadows started with two females and a male. In 1980, another of the brown ticked cats, a female, was found in the Singapore SPCA and imported to the United States by Barbara Gilbertson, who was also interested in the blossoming breed.
The International Cat Association recognized the Singapura in 1979. The Cat Fanciers Association accepted the breed in 1981 and gave it full recognition in 1988. The Singapura is also recognized by the American Cat Fanciers Association. In 1991, the government of Singapore named the breed a national living treasure.
This is a highly active, curious and affectionate cat. He may be small, but he knows he’s in charge. Expect him to supervise everything you do and to bluff you into leaving him alone when there’s something he doesn’t want to do, such as get his nails trimmed or be nice in the show ring. He loves attention from his family so much that he sometimes has the reputation of being a pest.
The Singapura is usually cautious when it comes to meeting new people, but a few are friends with everyone. They can get along well with other cats—especially other Singapuras—and dogs if they are properly introduced at an early age. One thing they don’t like is a lot of loud noise, so screaming children can have them shrinking away in horror.
Pens, computer keyboards and anything on the kitchen counter are among the Singapura’s favorite playthings. When he’s not appropriating them for his own uses, he is carefully observing everything going on around him, wondering how he can turn it to his advantage. Although he might seem bossy, he is sensitive to the moods of the people around him and will try to make them feel better.
The Singapura remains playful well past kittenhood and is highly intelligent. Challenge his brain and keep him interested in life by teaching him tricks and providing him with puzzle toys that will reward him with kibble or treats when he learns how to manipulate them.
Always choose a kitten from a breeder who raises litters in the home and handles them from an early age. Meet at least one and ideally both of the parents to ensure that they have nice temperaments.
All cats have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on kittens or who tells you that her kittens are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons.
Singapuras are generally healthy, but they have a small gene pool, which can sometimes be problematic. It’s always wise to purchase a cat from a breeder who offers a written health guarantee.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new kitten into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Keeping a Singapura at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to protect his overall health. Make the most of your preventive abilities to help ensure a healthier cat for life.
The Pura’s short coat is easy to groom with weekly combing to remove dead hairs that would otherwise land on your floor, furniture and clothes and keep the coat shiny by distributing skin oils.
Baths are rarely necessary unless you plan on showing your cat. Even then, he’s a wash-and-go breed. Don’t bother blow drying him or you’ll fluff up his coat, which is supposed to lie close to the body and look as if the color is painted on.
The only other grooming he needs is regular nail trimming, usually weekly, and ear cleaning only if the ears look dirty. Use a gentle ear cleanser recommended by your veterinarian. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-recommended pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath. Singapuras are especially sensitive about having their feet touched, so start nail trimming (and teeth brushing) early so your kitten becomes accepting of these activities.
You want your Singapura to be happy and healthy so you can enjoy your time with him, so do your homework before you bring him home. For more information on the history, personality and looks of the Singapura, or to find breeders, visit the websites of the Cat Fanciers Association, Cats Center Stage, the Fanciers Breeder Referral List and The International Cat Association.
A reputable breeder will abide by a code of ethics that prohibits sales to pet stores and wholesalers and outlines the breeder’s responsibilities to their cats and to buyers. Choose a breeder who has performed the health certifications necessary to screen out genetic health problems to the extent that is possible, as well as one who raises kittens in the home. Kittens who are isolated can become fearful and skittish and may be difficult to socialize later in life.
Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include kittens always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any kitten, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Those things are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.
Whether you’re planning to get your feline friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and unhealthy catteries can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick kitten, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy kittens. Put at least as much effort into researching your kitten as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
Be patient. Depending on what you are looking for, you may have to wait six months or more for the right kitten to be available. Many breeders won’t release kittens to new homes until they are between 12 and 16 weeks of age.
Before you buy a kitten, consider whether an adult Singapura might be a better choice for your lifestyle. Kittens are loads of fun, but they’re also a lot of work and can be destructive until they reach a somewhat more sedate adulthood. With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health. If you are interested in acquiring an adult cat instead of a kitten, ask breeders about purchasing a retired show or breeding cat or if they know of an adult cat who needs a new home.
A breeder is not your only option for acquiring a Singapura. Adult Singapuras may be available from rescue groups. It’s unlikely that you will find a Singapura in a shelter, but it doesn’t hurt to look. Sometimes pedigreed cats end up at the shelter after losing their home to an owner’s death, divorce or change in economic situation. Check the listings on Petfinder, or Adopt-a-Pet.com the Fanciers Breeder Referral List, and ask breeders if they know of a Singapura who is in need of a new home.
Wherever you acquire your Singapura, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with “pet lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the cat from both understand your rights and recourses.
Kitten or adult, take your Singapura to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.
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