Vital Stats:Life Span: 11 to 15 years
The Singapura was developed in the 1970s from cats found in Singapore — the Lion City — by cat fanciers Hal and Tommy Meadow. Their cats Ticle, Pusse, Tes, George and Gladys, plus Chiko, adopted later from a shelter in Singapore, were the foundation of the pedigreed Singapura, although cats like them had probably lived in Southeast Asia for at least a decade if not longer.
Brown cats and cats with agouti, or ticked, coats are common in the region, and there is likely some relationship to Siamese and Burmese cats. The ticked tabby gene is dominant to all other tabby patterns and is frequently seen in Southeast Asian cats. Small cats with a brown-ticked coat were known in Singapore from at least 1965. The Singapura as discovered by the Meadows may have resulted from matings between cats with the Abyssinian ticked tabby gene and the Burmese gene (which gave the brown color). A DNA study published in 2008 showed little to no difference genetically between the Burmese and the Singapura.
The Cat Fanciers Association recognized the breed in 1988, and it is also recognized by most other cat associations. In 1990, the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board adopted the Singapura as the island nation’s travel mascot.
The Singapura weighs 4 to 8 pounds.
The tiny Singapura has a tiny little voice, but this mischievous and active cat makes his presence known in other ways: chasing small balls down the hall, tapdancing on keyboards, climbing curtains or anything else that will place him on high, or jumping on your shoulder as you walk by to go for a ride. He retains his playfulness well into adulthood.
The Singapura loves people and isn’t shy about meeting people. He likes being a lap cat and is an excellent bedwarmer on cold winter nights. Despite his busy nature, he is a gentle friend who will put aside his activities to keep you company when you’re feeling under the weather. The rest of the time? Watch out — he is as curious as cats come and will be into anything that looks interesting. The Singapura does best in a home where he will have plenty of company — human or animal.
Both pedigreed cats and mixed-breed cats have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic in nature. Singapuras are generally healthy, but one problem that has recently been discovered in the breed is pyruvate kinase deficiency.
Known as PKD for short (not to be confused with polycystic kidney disease in Persians), the inherited genetic disease is caused by a deficiency of an enzyme important for red blood cell energy metabolism and results in hemolytic anemia. A test is available that can determine whether a cat is affected, a carrier, or clear of the disease. Fortunately, Singapuras with PKD can usually live a normal life.
The Singapura's short, smooth coat is easy to care for with a quick weekly combing. Polishing it with a chamois will make it shine. A bath is rarely necessary.
Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Trim the nails every couple of weeks. Wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection.
Check the ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear.
Keep the litter box spotlessly clean. Cats are very particular about bathroom hygiene.
It’s a good idea to keep a Singapura as an indoor-only cat to protect him from diseases spread by other cats, attacks by dogs or coyotes, and the other dangers that face cats who go outdoors, such as being hit by a car. Singapuras who go outdoors also run the risk of being stolen by someone who would like to have such a beautiful cat without paying for it.
Coat Color And Grooming
The Singapura has three distinguishing characteristics: his small size of 4 to 8 pounds, big eyes and ears for his size, and his sepia-toned coat that gives him the look of having stepped out of a 19th-century photograph.
The short, fine coat has a silky texture. Its color is called sepia agouti, described as dark-brown ticking on a background color that resembles warm old ivory. Each hair has at least two bands of dark ticking separated by light bands, ending with a dark tip. The fur on the muzzle, chin, chest and belly are the color of unbleached muslin.
On the face, the Singapura looks as if he’s been playing in the makeup box, with dark lines extending from his brows and the outside corners of his hazel, green or yellow eyes, dark lines extending downward from the inner corner of the eyes along the bridge of the nose — called cheetah lines — and dark brown lines around the eyes, lips and nose. In contrast, his nose leather is a pale to dark salmon color, and his paw pads are rosy brown.
The Singapura may be small, but he’s by no means delicate. His body is stocky and muscular, and his neck is short and thick. Heavily muscled legs taper to small, short, oval feet. His tail is short and slender with a dark tip.
Children And Other Pets
The Singapura is playful and smart and can be a good friend to a child who treats him nicely. He’s one of those cats who enjoys playing fetch and learning tricks, and his energy level means he won’t wear out before the child does. He is happy to live with other cats and cat-friendly dogs, too, thanks to his amiable disposition. Introduce pets slowly and in controlled circumstances to ensure that they learn to get along together.
Singapuras usually get along well with other animals and seem to prefer living with some kind of company, not thriving when left alone all day.