by Marilyn Leisure (Ashland, Ohio USA)
I would like to adopt a teacup cat. I am a grandma, living alone in an apartment building for elderly. I would like to have a teacup cat to keep me company. I think this size cat would be perfect for me as I have a small apartment. Are these cats expensive? Is there a place that I could adopt one that would not charge a lot of money?
ANSWER: Hi Marilyn and thanks for asking… I’ll attempt to answer your question on the basis that you are looking for a cat for a small apartment (a wider subject). Note: this was written about 15 years ago. The page has been updated. It remains a very relevant topic perhaps more so today in 2023.
More about the caregiver than the cat
Having considered the question it is clear to me that the answer is more about the caregiver than the cat. How much time is dedicated to interactions and play and what is the quality of those interactions in stimulating the cat and making their lives as natural an enjoyable as possible? The smaller the environment, the harder it is to make it natural and acceptable to a domestic cat. But if the owner is there all the time, they can dedicate their time to cat caregiving.
I don’t believe that a person working full-time away from a small apartment from 8 am to 7 pm is suitable. Nowhere near. It would be very unfair on the cat to be stuck in a one bed apartment all day without companionship and no chance to act naturally. They’d just snooze all day but be stressed. The caregiver has to be retired in my view. It is about standards.
Miniature or teacup cats – USA
Breeders of teacup cats are rare as far as I can see and they are more or less only available in the USA (someone will correct me on that, I am sure!). UPDATE 2023: Although in 2023 you will rarely find some small domestic cats available for adoption, Pocket Kittys which bred miniature cats is no longer functioning. The lady has retained her website to provide advice. There was a time, about 12 years ago when there was some interest in miniature, teacup cats, but it has faded probably because of potential health issues. The breeder said she stopped because she was disappointed with her clients.
Pocket sized cats are almost always Persian cats as it seems that a mutation occurred in purebred breeding of these cats that produced a smaller cat. These smaller cats have formed the foundation for teacup cats and the breeding of them is relatively recent (in contrast to the dog world where miniature dogs have been around for a long time)- hence their scarcity.
I feature a teacup cup breeder (Pocket Kittys) on the page where this article will be published so I would contact them first and ask. I really think that the lady who runs Pocket Kittys will provide you with good and realistic advice.
By my standards they are expensive. I think the prices are similar to those of high quality purebred cats in the USA meaning from say about $1000 upwards depending on the type of cat you are buying.
I am sure you have read the information on the Pocket Kitty’s website. There is a link at the top of the teacup cats page to this site. And she provides some useful warnings about dealing with people running scams asking for money to be sent through escrow services or Western union. Watch for those.
Small cat more suited to small apartment?
A question that interests me (and the reason why I changed the title – hope you don’t mind), is whether a small cat is any better than a normal sized cat in a small apartment.
I am not sure it is as it might be that the defining criterion is not size but levels of activity. What I am saying is that the most suitable type of cat for a small apartment (and therefore a full-time indoor cat) is a passive cat that is “part of the furniture” and which has low levels of inquisitiveness etc.
I really believe that if a cat is to be kept indoors in a small apartment it needs to be mentally adapted as well as possible to that type of lifestyle, which to be totally honest is unnatural. This is more important I feel than the size of the cat.
Such a cat is the Persian and they are cheaper and you are likely to be able to find one in a rescue center. If you go this route, I would adopt the traditional Persian as they are healthier and you clearly don’t want to go to a vet more than you have to (they can be a bit greedy).
In fact, you may be lucky and find a smaller than average Persian cat that is not a teacup cat but fits the bill.
So, in my view (and it is only my view) a small cat for a small apartment may not be the complete answer. Although I see the logic.
Other breeds and moggies
I have selected one breed, the Persian, as a possible full-time, indoor, apartment cat. There are other potential breeds such as the British Shorthair or American SH to name two. Also, there will be individual cats with a temperament more suited to small apartment living (see below).
Elderly cat suits elderly care caregiver
Bearing in mind that Marilyn is retired and probably elderly, it might make sense to adopt an elderly rescue cat. They are less active and less demanding in terms of the need to mentally stimulate. And there is a nice symmetry between elderly cat owners and elderly cats. It also means that the owner won’t die before the cat leaving the problem of rehoming which is problematic for the cat and executor to the will of the deceased.
Marilyn, the lady who asked the question about miniature cats is retired. She has lots of time to entertain her cat. That seems to me to be more important than anything else in making a success of a cat living in a small apartment. Plenty of play and human-to-cat interactions will lessen the problem of stimulating an apartment cat of whatever size,
I hope this helps. A cat can be a great companion to elderly people and the lifestyle of elderly people allows them the time to better care for their cat.
I am thinking of a cat rescue center in the UK who more or less insist on re-homing with older people. I made a page about Persian cat rescue in the USA, which may help.
Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.