Teacup cats are fascinatingly delicate creatures. Humans like the appearance of “jewel like” animals and these sweet, very small cats are certainly that.
The primary source of information for this page comes courtesy Sarah Hartwell, general research and the PocketKittys cattery (http://www.pocketkittys.com/). A link is not in place at 31-1-10, as this site has be classified as dangerous by Google. I have had a link for over 2 years until now. The situation might well change. Update 31-10-10: The site is working, please click here (new window).
The photographs (except for Pete) also come courtesy the PocketKittys cattery, who have kindly agreed to allow me to publish their copyrighted photographs on this page.
So down to business.
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What are teacup cats?
Teacup cats are simply very small, miniature cats (meaning a size smaller than the category of “miniature cats”). Miniature cats are usually about one third to one half the size of normal size cats of the same breed. As a guideline teacup Persian females weigh 2-4 lbs while the males are 3-6 lbs. The smallest cat breed is the Singapura which weighs about 6+ lbs as a comparison –see cat breed size. Teacup cats are traditional Persians.
At least one cattery sub-classifies by referring to “Palm Sized Pocket Persians” as well. Female palm sized weigh 3.5lbs or less and males 4lbs or less.
They are normally less than 9 inches tall or less when mature. Miniature kittens are more vulnerable than normal sized kittens. Being miniature poses health problems to pregnant cats so the breeding females must be 4-8 lbs in weight and breeding males are 4-10 lbs. It seems that they are friendly cats (to humans and dogs!).
There is a nice story on the Internet about a person called John Antrobus, who used to breed teacup cats (he may still do it but a search proved fruitless).
He first discovered miniature cats in Argentina. He says that he found them surviving in a refuse dump, in a back alley. He decided to bring 7 home to Canada and 6 survived the trip (one died due to the sedative needed
for the journey).
He bred them successfully. He says that a “trade off” for the small size is that they are short lived (although this probably only applied to the breed he was dealing with).
Note: The above story about John Antrobus is I am told a joke.This is a message left by a visitor who wishes to remain anonymous – thanks
for the contribution. Can anyone confirm?:
You do realize the John Antrobus story was an April Fool joke?
Update: Dec 2009 — Sarah Hartwell tells us about the John Antrobus story.
Due to their small size it seems that it is impractical to home them before 5 months old. Otherwise they are normal healthy kittens. Sarah Hartwell, an expert on cats and particularly cat genetics, says that you should take care when acquiring very small cats.
Teacup cat Calvin – photo © PocketKittys
This is because not all teacup cats are in fact miniature cats or dwarf cats (although a dwarf cat is readily distinguished by his/her short legs). A cat’s normal size is around 7-12+ pounds. So, some normal cats at the bottom end of this scale may have the appearance of a miniature cat but will not be because the cat’s genetic make up is not that of a miniature cat but a normal sized cat. Although, this raises a philosophical point.
It seems that some unscrupulous breeders (and remember breeders are in this for commercial gain ultimately) pass off normal/small cats as miniature cats as miniature cats being rare can fetch higher prices.
A genuine teacup cat has been bred small by the selective cat breeding of those cats with the miniature trait (i.e. very small cats).
This fixes the genetic make up. Or the genetic make up is already fixed through genetic mutation and this cat is then bred
A good breeder (and I have no reason to know that PocketKittys cattery is not a good breeder) limit the number of litters to ensure that the queen stays healthy and makes sure the gene pool is wide to avoid inbreeding (damaging the immune system) resulting in health problems and defects in offspring.
Teacup cats are great pets but ensure that you get the following when you buy:
- Health Certificate stating that the kitten is free of diseases, that they have had their “shots” (FVRCP), that they have been de-wormed and de-fleaed, that they have been spayed or neutered.
Micro chipping so that you can identify them if and when they get lost.
- a signed contract which ideally includes a health guarantee that your kitten is free from congenital defects (no genetic problems).
- get your kitten checked by a vet within 72 hours of purchase.
- after one year ensure that you get booster shots to those given by the cattery. After that no more shots
for 3 years particularly if the cat is an indoor cat. Shots can apparently contribute to the occurrence of cancer, it seems.
Bear in mind that there are some unscrupulous breeders of small cats and also please note that if a cat is selectively bred too much and/or is unnaturally small there may be health implications. The health of your cat is very important to you for obvious reasons.
Update Dec. 2009: Here are some pictures and a commentary on a very small, indeed Miniature Blue Point Himalayan.
Update 29th May 2009: There is a little Teacup Himalayan Kitten called Melvin (I think he is also called Mouchois) who is becoming a bit of a star on the Internet mainly because his human companion has started a blog about him and posted a video to YouTube about him. He also kindly shared some of his thoughts about the health issues that can accompany such small cats. Here are the links and the video:
The Blogger Blog about this cat can be seen here: Mouchois (new window)
And the post submitted by Melvin’s human companion can be seen here…….: Melvin My Teacup Himalayan Kitten. Thanks for sharing, we appreciate it.