Are Cat World Records Sensible?

World's shortest cat. A Munchkin dwarf cat.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

World’s shortest cat. A Munchkin dwarf cat.

People like world records including ones to do with cats. There is a well known record holder on PoC – Magic. Magic is a stunning cat, perhaps the world’s most outstanding cat and, I believe, is a genuine record holder of the title, the tallest pet cat.  Although the language of the title is worrisome for me.

However, I have to ask the question, “are cat world records sensible?”. I don’t believe all of the records are true and I don’t believe that Guinness World Records concerning cats are necessarily good for cats. As usual they are all about people. People achieving fame vicariously through their cat.

The worst examples are the world’s fattest domestic cats, which are overfed monsters. That world record has been dumped for obvious cat welfare reasons.

Moving forward to the current situation, I’d like to refer the “The World’s Smallest Cat”. I have found two completely different examples of the world’s smallest cat. The one that is dubious is on the Guinness World Records website and the other is ridiculous and is found on the website of The Sun newspaper –  UK paper. Although the problem may be a silly typo.

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Guinness World Record

There is no picture of the world’s smallest cat “on record” that I can see. There is no picture on the Guinness website and if you do the ultimate image search using Google Images you don’t see this cat there either. You see some Photoshopped images (edited images using software called “Photoshop”). Without a picture it is difficult to take this record seriously. One person says that he wants to see a picture to prove it. I agree.

That said, we are told that, the smallest cat was a Himalayan cat – a pointed Persian. We are not told if the cat is male or female. I’ll assume that she was female. Her name was “Tinker Toy”. She was 2.75 inches tall and 7.5 inches long at age 2.5 years. We are not told how the measurements are done. I’ll presume the height is to the shoulder and that the length is head plus body but excluding tail. Tinker Toy was owned by Mr and Mrs Forbes of Taylorville, Illinois.

Tinker Toy died young at 6 years of age in November 1997. That is all we are told. Firstly, to die at 6 years of age is not good. But this is not unusual for such a small cat. Often Persians are used for breeding miniature or tea cup cats. It is not a good process. I don’t know if the Forbes’s bred Tinker Toy small but very small cats can have health problems. Apparently this cat was the runt of the litter.

Well, that is the Guinness record. That’s official, for what it is worth.

The Sun

The Sun newspaper, dated 23rd September 2011, have an article about a dwarf cat, a Munchkin cat as it happens, which is the founding dwarf cat breed. The reporter describes the cat in the caption to the photograph as “the smallest cat in the world”. This is obviously incorrect because the reporter goes on to describe the cat’s height to the shoulder as a reason why she is the world’s smallest cat.

The cat’s name is Fizz Girl and although she might be the world’s shortest cat to the shoulder she is not the smallest cat. Further down the page she refers the “shortest”. Confusing. To the shoulder Fizz is 6 inches. The world’s tallest to the shoulder is Magic at 17.1 inches.

It doesn’t take much imagination to realise that a dwarf cat is going to lack height to the shoulder but what is the point? I don’t believe it is sensible to refer to cats with a anatomical deficiency as record breakers because people breed dwarf cats. Records can encourage breeders to breed to extreme.

Cat world records can be dubious and are arguably not good for the cat. Cat world records can result in a subtle form of cat abuse. It isn’t always that way but they tend to motivate people to do what is good for them and not the cat.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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