Singapura Cat: Big Things Come in Small Packages

Singapura Cat lying down
Steve Corelli
Written by Steve Corelli

With the way living spaces continue to grow smaller in urban areas these days, there is currently a high demand for toy-sized pets that do well in apartment settings. While cats, in general, are able to tolerate small living spaces better than dogs, some breeds still excel at this more than others, and the champion would have to be the Singapura cat.

They say dynamite comes in small packages, and that’s exactly what you’re getting when you choose a Singapura cat. Don’t underestimate the Singapura’s size, because small though they may be, they’ve got loads of playfulness and intelligence to boast about. It’s why children in the family will be fascinated by these cats. Show them a trick or two, and soon the playful little clown might be teaching the kids something too.

singapura-cat and kitting sitting close to each other

If you’re looking for a devoted pet who loves their human family, Singapura cat temperament will suit you. With their big eyes and ears and even bigger heart, this ball of feline fur is just waiting to be your friend.

You’re going to learn everything you need to know in this article about this interesting small cat—starting from their ‘rags to riches’ history and right down to their overall health, their personality, as well as how to make them prosper.

Breed Characteristics

  • Adaptability: High
  • Grooming: Low Maintenance
  • Health: Good; female cats may have trouble giving birth
  • All Around Friendliness: Very Good; friendly but not too demanding
  • Exercise Needs: Moderate; on the active side
Cat Breed GroupShort-Haired, Natural Breed
Weight3 - 7 pounds
Lifespan12 - 14 years

The tiny but muscular Singapura is the smallest of domestic cats. Starting out on the streets of Singapore, today this tiny creature is looked upon as a national treasure by the country’s government. This fascinating cat has big ears, large green or yellowish eyes, a muscular body, and a short, ivory-colored coat with brown ticking. Fondly nicknamed ‘Pura,’ this little cat is a bundle of energy and vitality.

The Pura is intelligent and inquisitive; they love nothing more than to leap onto high surfaces to explore. Although, they will come down to earth every now and then to settle on one of the family member’s laps. Your Singapura cat’s short coat is easy to groom. Brush your pet every week to remove the loose hairs and to keep the coat sleek and shiny.

Studio image of a Singapura Cat

What to feed cats is always a contentious issue. Cats are carnivores, but there are some cat lovers who believe in including vegetables. Most cat specialists and veterinarians agree that a vegetarian diet won’t provide your cat with the amino acids essential to feline health. Singapuras need meat, and by feeding them vegetables, carbohydrates, and fruits, they could develop serious health issues. Singapuras aren’t like people or dogs; their digestive system isn’t designed for foods that their human family eats.

Your pretty little Singapura cat has no particular genetic problems to deal with and also no specific health concerns. Although they are a generally healthy cat, one condition that you will want to be wary of is uterine inertia with the females. She’ll battle to give birth because of weak muscles.

Apparently, this particular condition was found in one of the foundation cats, and today it is still affecting some Singapura females. Also, look out for Pyruvate kinase deficiency as this can lead to hemolytic anemia with symptoms such as dull coat, lethargy, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

Main Highlights

  • There are conflicting stories surrounding the origin of the Singapura. However, there are reports of natural Singapuras being found in Singapore. The first documented account was of a cat known as Chiko who was found in a Singaporean SPCA in 1980 by Sheila Bowers and WA Brad.
  • Today, as a newish breed, the designation for the Singapura—which is currently known as a natural breed—may change to hybrid. This is to allow for outcrossing for the purposes of improving the health of the breed. If the Singapura is designated as a natural breed, no outcrosses are allowed to be mated with the cat.
  • The Singapura is a bundle of energy and playfulness. You’ll need to invest in toys for your fun-loving Pura. They love nothing more than to play with small soft balls or scampering after a toy-mouse.
  • Your Singapura cat is an amicable extrovert and gets along well with their human family, whether it be adults or children. The tiny cat is big on personality and doesn’t have any qualms about extending a paw of friendship to other pets in the home.
  • The cat isn’t as ‘outspoken’ as some other cat breeds and actually has a quiet voice.
  • Singapura cat personality is outgoing, active, inquisitive, and full of tricks. They are always ready to join in on any games.
  • Perhaps it’s their smallness that makes this cat breed want to leap up onto taller perches and look down on what’s going on around them.

Breed History

Who can believe that this gorgeous little cat from Singapore was once known as the ‘drainage cat.’ You may have a reason not to believe it, as there are conflicting views on the history of the cat. The cat’s history is indeed shrouded in mystery, but fortunately for them, their charms did not continue to go unnoticed.

Their smallness caught the attention of an expatriate couple—Hal and Tommy Meadows. They started breeding the cats in 1974, starting with three ‘gutter’ cats that survived a feral cat culling exercise in Singapore which they then brought to the United States of America. It is upon these three that a recognized breed was founded.

The Pura may well have lived in the gutters long ago, but they now have a proud ‘rags to riches’ story behind them. At first, they weren’t well-received. Abyssinian and Burmese crossbreeds, which looked so much like the Singapura, threw even more doubt over the cat’s origins and credibility as a natural breed.

Singapura kitten with an orange collar

The American-based Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) wouldn’t acknowledge the breed as a natural one, but rather as an established breed. After many inquiries, the CFA opted to keep the breed’s pedigree intact. The Cat Fanciers Association finally recognized the breed in 1988, followed by most other cat associations.

Today, the Singapura is one of the rarest cats in the world and also registered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s smallest domesticated cat. The fascinating little cat has also had an advertising campaign centered around them so as to promote tourism in Singapore. Controversies over the breed’s origin may well exist, but the mysterious little Singapura is sought after and beloved by cat lovers everywhere.


The Singapura is smaller than average. This short-haired cat breed is noticed for their large ears and eyes, light beige coloring, small feet, and their medium length, muscular body. The cat is a slow developer and only reaches their full size when they are about 18 months of age, or maybe even two years of age. Males and females don’t differ much in size and can weigh anywhere between 5 and 7 pounds.

Singapura Cat in a studio on a black background

While the Singapura looks like a dainty little creature, pick them up, and you’ll discover that this cat is actually quite heavy. The cat has slender legs with small, oval-shaped paws. Their back legs are slightly longer than their front legs. Their tail isn’t quite as long as the body and ends with a recognizable black tip.

Personality and Character

In contrast with the size of their body, their personality is big. Quietly spoken, this is a social, outgoing breed who loves their human family and is devoted and loyal to them. Energetic and active, the Singapura will need you to provide a time of play; not much, though—fifteen minutes every day should be enough.

close-up of a Singapura cat near window

This bundle of energy may surprise you with a few tricks too because this is an intelligent cat. Your feline friend gets along well with adults and children as well as other cats and dogs, but because of their small size, introductions to other pets should be done slowly and with caution.

Health and Potential Problems

The Singapura is a generally healthy cat with very few genetic health issues. Look after them well, return their love, and health issues will remain low. Having said that, every cat breed can develop health problems, and it pays to understand common cat illnesses such as diabetes, renal failure, and rabies.

Let’s look at some typical cat ailments you need to be aware of:

  • Diarrhea can be caused by a number of things such as spoiled food, an allergy or infection, as well as intestinal parasites. You’ll notice watery stools which can last for days or even weeks. Take away your pet’s food for about 12 hours—ensuring, however, that there is a constant supply of cool, fresh water. If, after a day or two, your cat hasn’t improved and is lethargic, get them to a vet.
  • Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease is something that vets see cats regularly for. Both male and female cats can get FLUTD. Watch that your Singapura doesn’t become overweight or unfit because this disease often occurs in such cats. Stress can also bring about this most uncomfortable disease in your cat. You’ll recognize FLUTD when you see your cat straining to urinate, if they cry when urinating, if they try to urinate in unfamiliar places, if they aren’t their usual chirpy selves, and they may even have bloody urine. Get your pet to the vet immediately as not being able to urinate is an emergency; it’s very painful.
  • Fleas can make your cat miserable. Mercifully, fleas are something that can be easily treated. Your cat will constantly be scratching; they’ll have irritated areas which they lick continuously, and you’ll also notice hair loss. Fleas regrettably can live for a year. If they are allowed to feed off of a host for a long time, they can cause anemia. Before your cat picks up fleas, go the preventative route first. If it’s too late, speak to your vet about flea treatment methods. Anemia needs to be taken seriously because if your cat has regenerative anemia from a parasite, then anti-parasite drugs will be required.
  • Halitosis or bad breath in your cat can be due to periodontal diseases caused by plaque bacteria. Your sweet Singapura isn’t meant to be offensive in any way, and if the cause of bad breath is a disease of the mouth, other symptoms may become apparent. These can be the inability to eat as well as excessive drooling. Metabolic disorders such as diabetes, inflammation of the sinuses, as well as gastrointestinal problems can all contribute bad breath.
  • Rabies is a viral disease. It will affect your cat’s central nervous system. The incubation of rabies is between 1 and 3 months, and once the symptoms have started, the virus progresses quickly. If you believe that your pet has been in contact with a rabid animal, take them to the vet immediately. Some symptoms to watch out for include fever, seizures, paralysis, the inability to swallow, irritability, excessive salivation, and aggressiveness. Rabies is a threat to you and your cats; it is imperative to get your kitten vaccinated. A kitten can get their first rabies injection any time from 8 to 12 weeks of age. Boosters will also be required to ensure ongoing immunity.
  • Vomiting is a common problem with cats. There are so many reasons why your cat vomits. They could have eaten something totally disagreeable or even something poisonous. Hairballs could be the problem, or it could be an infection or something more serious such as diabetes. Vomiting often brings relief, but if your small Singapura continues to vomit, get them to the vet, as ongoing vomiting can leave your cat dangerously dehydrated.
  • Uterine inertia is a condition where your female cat isn’t able to deliver her kittens because of a weakness in the muscles around the uterus. The vet will give your cat a physical examination to identify fetuses in the birth canal. A lack of the Ferguson reflex indicates uterine inertia, and then the vet may do a cesarean section if the fetuses are too large for a vaginal birth.

Don’t take your Singapura cat’s good health for granted. Take action when your lively little friend becomes downcast and lethargic. You want to make sure that you get to share at least 14 years with them, and hopefully even more.

Care Features

Your Singapura cat has lots of energy and is mischievously playful. To care for your wonderful feline friend, you will need to create a warm, loving home for them with nutritious food. Watch their health and never leave them alone for hours on end. If you work all day, the Singapura’s life can be enriched by having another cat to play with.

Singapura Cat in a studio looking up

Their coat is short and won’t require much maintenance, but it can benefit the coat to brush it at least once a week. Brushing your cat also builds up a strong bond between you; their bright eyes and shiny coat will be all the thanks you need. Your cat will just love the attention that comes with a grooming session.

Feeding Schedule

Your Singapura cat is a quality cat and therefore needs to have high-quality food which ensures good health. Cats are strictly carnivores, so you want to ensure your pet’s diet is mainly made up of protein. If you are going to feed them commercially-packaged foods, take a good look at the ingredient list on the packaging and make sure that meat or sea-foods are at the top of the list.

Buy age-appropriate food. Your tiny kitten’s food requirements will be totally different from that of an adult cat. During the first few weeks of a kitten’s life, their weight could double. To support this rapid growth phase, your kitten will require at least 3 or 4 meals a day.

Singapura Cat sitting on a table and her owner

Of course, it’s an excellent idea to consult your vet for suggestions on what brand and type of food to give your kitten and your adult cat. The food should be adequate to see your cat through every season of their life.

You can feed your kitty a homemade diet too, but to be on the safe side, check out what a nutritionist has to say about the ingredients. Always remember to provide your cat with plenty of fresh water because this is essential to keeping them healthy.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

With a dark brown ticked coat or an ivory base color, the Singapura’s coat is short and sleek with no undercoat. You can say your Singapura cat is maintenance-free, and a brush every week will ensure that their minimal-shedding coat is shiny and glossy.

Singapura Cat Sitting Down

Your feline cat won’t frequently require a bath, but they do need routine dental care. Keep their teeth clean by brushing them routinely—making use of a special cat toothpaste and brush. Also pay attention to earwax, eye discharges, as well as the length of their nails.

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

Both cats and dogs adopt similar habits and lifestyles as what their owners have. While genetics do play a role in the personality of a particular breed, the lifestyles and characteristics of their human family influence their behavior the most. That’s the theory, but it is said that Singapuras are better trainers of people than humans are of them.

a cute singpura kitten in a studio

The small Singapura cat is just bursting with personality and character. It is said that if their human role-models are moody and withdrawn, some of their charisma will rub off onto them. This makes them a great companion for kids—especially those who have trouble socializing.

The charming Singapura just wants to be a part of their human family; they are friendly with everyone. Although, when introducing them to other pets in the home, be very careful since their small size means they may not be able to defend themselves as well as some other cats.

Wrap Up

To wrap everything up, those who know and love Singapura cats can’t believe that this beautiful little feline was once known as the ‘gutter cat.’ Cat lovers can be grateful that American breeders discovered the ticked felines and had the insight to promote them as a new breed.

Singapuras are wonderful cats, and even though they are still a rare breed, the Pura ranks 22nd out of the 41 breeds that CFA accepts for the championship. Today, this tiny breed is bred and shown in many countries around the world.

singapura cat with kitten sitting close to each other

The Singapura cat is certainly a bewitching little creature, and there’s nothing these sharp felines miss. Intelligent, energetic, and playful, they can certainly become your best friend. They are always sensitive to the moods of their family.

Do you think that this gorgeous little cat is for you? If you prefer bigger felines, right here we’ve got a cat so big they even have some dogs beat. We’d love to hear from you if you’ve known a Singapura who has added zest to your life.

About the author
Steve Corelli
Steve Corelli

Steve Corelli is a Pet Nutrition Expert from Allentown, Pennsylvania. He is the author of many nutritional strategies for different breeds and a member of some Pet Food development teams. His Maine Coon Stephan, as you might guess, is always well-fed.