Categories: Dwarf Cats

Dwarf cats and Miniature Cats

I’m introducing this section on dwarf cats and miniature cats with a photograph (above) of a champion – Rosie Cotton Bar Maid from the KlassyKittens cattery owned by Deborah & Marc Mordente. The photograph is copyright Helmi Flick. Please respect copyright.

Click here to see visitors’ submissions

Below is a video I made on most of the Dwarf Cat breeds. It allows a quick skim through the breeds but there are links at the base of the page leading to more detailed descriptions. Update 31-10-08: The first cat in the video, the Elf cat, is not a dwarf cat – sorry. I knew this when I made the video but suffered “brain fade”.

Through the efforts of the Dwarf Cat Association and Terri Harris, Dwarf cats were exported to the UK and the Netherlands. On the 4th February 2008 Terri, who founded the Kinkalow dwarf cat breed, was in the UK (specifically Scotland) to deliver three Munchkins to be used in a breeding program by a TICA registered breeder.

Munchkinlane Milton P. Hershey – Milton is a Solid Cinnamon, longhair, male Munchkin cat. He is a TICA champion.He is now in The Netherlands. Great expression on his face – very wise, seen it done it.

Dwarf cat breeders are, it seems, eager to develop and promote their breed and I am sure that they are pleased to see the UK involved for the first time. I believe that there is talk of breeding a bobtailed dwarf cat. Not sure if that is correct though.

Of course dwarf cats and miniature cats are small. But not all small cats are dwarf or miniature. The Singapura is the smallest cat in the cat fancy. All Singapuras have a ticked coat with a delightful cream underbelly, rather like the coloring of mountain lion here in the US. They are curious and extroverted, intelligent and insist on helping you with anything you are doing. They are loving and playful. Singapura is the Malasian word for Singapore where they are found as street cats. They weigh 5 to 8 pounds, females being slightly smaller.” (quote & photograph by and copyright Helmi Flick)

The Singapura has another name, the “Drain Cat” reflecting the cat’s ability, due to her small size, to hide in drains in Singapore where they appear to be less appreciated.

Dwarf cats and miniature cats have a very endearing and unusual appearance making them popular and interesting. People can have strong views about their appearance. This is because some people think that this cat breed came about as a result of genetic engineering, which carries with it physical deficiencies. This is not true. The question is how to breed from the natural mutation or to breed at all.

There are a number of blogs and news stories on the internet in which people express their views on dwarf cats and miniature cats. There are also a number of advice websites where questions about dwarf cats and miniature cats are raised and answers given. Their views seem, on occasions, to be based on misconceptions about this breed.

For example, a number of Hollywood gossip writers have criticized Paris Hilton for acquiring a dwarf cat. They say she has too many pets already and say that the dwarf cat breed has too many health problems. They go on to say that they can’t function like ordinary cats, e.g. can’t jump properly because of short legs and can’t land from a jump properly for the same reason. Although they agree that dwarf cats and miniature cats are cute.

Perhaps, not in defense but by way of demonstrating their goals and “mission”, The Dwarf Cat Association says that they do not consider the gene mutation that brings about dwarfism a defect or result in a deformity. They say that the mutation shortens the all four legs, the front more than the rear legs.

The fact that the front legs are shortened more than the rear legs raises an interesting point that I have not seen referred to before. A dwarf cat is sometimes referred to as a “Kangaroo Cat” as she likes to sit on her rear legs and raise herself up, using the tail as a support (like a tripod). The leg conformation encourages this behavior.

When walking the portion of the rear leg below the hock (hock: the “elbow” half-way down the rear leg, equivalent to the ankle in humans) is more horizontal and, it seems, almost touching the ground along its length. More strain is probably placed on the front legs and shoulders.

The association makes it clear that they don’t consider the cat’s quality of life to be affected negatively. The association vows to not harm cats and to breed cats responsibly.

Received wisdom in respect of the health of dwarf cats and miniature cats is that they are generally healthy. Please though click here for a full discussion on cat health issues for dwarf cats. Also, I think it would be worth your while to have a brief look at this page as it looks a condition that may be more prevalent in dwarf cats. Dwarfism originates in a naturally occurring defective gene a dominant dwarfing gene that causes the legs to be shorter than usual. Dwarfism occurs rarely as for humans. Some people liked the appearance (different I suppose and “cute”) resulting in cat breeders (commercial businesses don’t forget) breeding dwarf cats to increase their numbers. They also created different varieties by cross breeding with other breeds. Click here to read about dwarf cat genetics. These are to be distinguished from “miniature cats” or “teacup cats” which have a normal “shape” and which have been bred small. This is achieved by taking a small cat (small because its “normal genes” have created it small) and breeding it with another small cat to try and produce an even smaller cat. Some individual miniature cats may display health problems.

Here is a list of dwarf cat breeds. The majority are linked to full page descriptions and Helmi Flick photographs. The links open up to a new window.

  1. Munchkin Foundation breed of dwarf cats from which other breeds have been developed. See a new page featuring a large format image and reference to TICA breed standard plus other views on the Munchkin cat
  2. Bambino – A cross between a Munchkin and a Sphynx – short legged and hairless, what else!
  3. Dwelf – A cross between a Munchkin, Sphynx and an American Curl – short, hairless with ears that curl at the tips.
  4. Fantasy Cats – Across between a Munchkin, American curl, and a natural short tailed female domestic tortoise shell. Short tailed, short legged and curled ears.
  5. Genetta – A cross between Munchkin, Bengal, Savannah, Domestic Short Hair and Oriental SH. – exotic, spotted/marbled cat like a wild African Genet.
  6. Jaguarundi Curl – A cross between the Highland Lynx and Munchkin or other dwarf cat.
  7. Kinkalow – A cross between the American Curl and Munchkin – curled ears short legs.
  8. Knooks – A cross between a Kinkalow and LaPerm – Skookam like curly coat.
  9. Lambkin – A cross between a Munchkin and Selkirk Rex – cute looking with soft curlycoat.
  10. Meerkats – The result of an accidental mating in the Jaguarundi cat breeding program – see above. Short tailed, short legged, normal ears.
  11. Minskin – A cross between Munchkin and Sphynx, Devon Rex and Burmese – fur pointed extremities and cashmere coat.
  12. Napoleon – A cross between a Munchkin and Persian. Appearance – long-haired cat with large eyes. Registered with TICA.
  13. Minuet – this is in fact a Napoleon cat. TICA directors changed the name in 2015. In the linked article I discuss how they might have selected the new name. It is interesting!
  14. Scottish Fold Munchkinread a note on this newish breed. A cross between the Munchkin and Scottish Fold. Super cute would describe this cat and the kittens are to die for 😉
  15. Skookum – A cross between the Munchkin and LaPerm. Appearance – short legs and curly coats and an interesting origin to the name.
  16. 11th September 2015: New dwarf cat breed, the Bambob (the link takes you to a page on the Bambob and the ShynxieBob), a hybrid of the Bambino and a bobtailed cat (probably a cat like the American Bobtail). This breed is yet to be recognised but the breeder wants the Rare and Exotic Feline Registry (REFR) to accept and register the breed in due course.

Click on this link to read about the origin of dwarf breed names. The names of dwarf cat breeds are I think, interesting and I believe that you will find the story behind their creation interesting too. Plus, you get the information from the “horses mouth”! I mean the mouth of the creator of the dwarf cat breed. If you want to visit the KlassyKittens cattery mentioned at the top of this page click on this link.

Visitor Pages (note: if you’d like to share please add a comment and upload a picture if you’d like too)

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page…

Meet Louie – Miniature Exotic Shorthair:)
I found your site when Googling for info about my new kitty Louie and thought you may like to see him. He is an Exotic Shorthair who just stopped growing …

My cat had kittens with her dad, I know, STRANGE!!! but when she had them she had 4. she had 1 MASSIVE still born, 2 normal size kittens, and one supposedly …

My cat had kittens with her dad, I know, STRANGE!!! but when she had them she had 4. she had 1 MASSIVE still born, 2 normal size kittens, and one supposedly …

I have a miniature cat called Tammi, how can I be sure she’s not a dwarf cat? I have a miniature cat called Tammi, how can I be sure she’s not a dwarf cat? Answer : Hi Andrew. Thanks for visiting and asking. This is an easy …

This is a memorial to my little kitty, lil’ lightning
I used to have this little dwarf kitten that I liked to call lil’ lighting, or LL for short. I got one because I recently went through a big breakup with …

From what I can tell, these comments about dwarf breeds (on this site) come from those that are upset that the dwarf breeds are creating more competition …

Angel My Miniature Kitten
My daughter volunteers at the Humane Society. We took in three tiny kittens that needed to be bottle fed. One was smaller and we just assumed it …

The Day My Dwarf Cat Died
I got my dwarf kitten about 2 years before it passed away. It was a gorgeous white and grey kitten. I named him Dwarfy because of his dwarfism, of course….

My Dwarf Cat “Samson”
We live on about 5 acres with a wooded back lot that is a haven to a lot of wild life. In May of last year a feral cat gave birth to about 6 kittens …

Dwarf Cat or Miniature Cat?
I have a cat that’s approx 2 years old. We found her outside in mid-winter. She was so weak she couldn’t walk. We took her to the vet and they told us …

I Love Him So Much
For my 15th birthday gift my mother and I went to a vet down the street from my house. There where many kittens in cages but one little guy seemed to be …

In Memory of Chloe
There will always be a place in my heart for our adorable little Chloe who passed away today. Born to a large but sadly unhealthy litter, she was one …

Went For A Job and Rescued A Dwarf Cat
Brand new to Florida. I walked into the local Sheriff’s office to apply for a job at Animal Control. While sitting their looking over the interviewer’s …

Six Little Dwarf Kittens
My cat Tibbles recently gave birth to a litter of ten kittens. As they started to grow I noticed six of them were struggling to keep up with the others …

Oh Kinkalow You Stole My Heart!
It was January 3rd that my heart was completely broken by the loss of my 9 year old domestic shorthair rescue cat. He was a simple boy, short black hair….

I Love My Small Cat!
I actually saved a kitten from being killed by a horrible woman that lets her cats breed uncontrollably. I named him Tamaki from a Japanese anime show….

Three Legged Dwarf Cat
I live with a dwarf cat and accept him for who he is. His name is Francis. Francis is a beautiful cat with only three legs due to a tragic scooter accident …

One of my friends adopted a dwarf cat (named Smurfie) from a local rescue organization. It was just a tiny kitten when she got it so, naturally, we assumed …

Is My Kitten a Dwarf Cat?
Hi. I have a normal house cat. To my surprise she went into labor one morning. Out of 4 only one survived after a lot of cpr. She was half the size of …

Melvin My Teacup Himalayan Kitten
I own a “primordial” dwarf Himalayan kitten. Meaning that he has dwarfism much like the Munchkin cat, but his body is proportionate and he’s just small….

Moon Lover a Miniature or Dwarf Cat?
Hello, all…A year ago, a lady was giving away kittens in front of a Walgreen’s. She had only one left, a female approximately 6 weeks old. She said …

Keno and Neko
I’m not sure if the orange cat is a “dwarf” or not. He was found as a stray and I’m not sure what breed he is other than domestic. Enclosed is a picture …

Miniature Blue Point Himalayan
I have a little boy who is now almost 8 months old and weighs 1.5 pounds. He is so sweet but stopped growing after about 10 weeks. At first the vet thought …

Our Dwarf Cat Sophie
In July of 2008, I took a friend of mine to get a kitten that was listed on Craigslist. The momma cat was a stray that had babies in his camper out back….

Dwarf Cats Have No Problem Running or Jumping
I have had several dwarf cats with short legs, Bambinos. They have no problem running or jumping. In fact, one of my Bambino girls could jump to a countertop …

Cruel !!! PERIOD!!!
It is cruel to breed a cat, an animal that loves to jump and run, with such short legs. This should be illegal and those who breed them must not have …

I think my two kittens are dwarfs because the are eight months old and look like a 2 month old kitten. I can hold them each in one hand yet they weigh …

Black and White Dwarf Persian Cat
I have a 15 year old female black and white dwarf Persian cat. She is the sweetest little girl ever. The only real problem that I notice is that she needs …

Having bred Sphynx cats I wanted to own a Bambino being a lover of the dwarf breeds. I found it virtually impossible to obtain a Bambino kitten or adult …

Dwelf Kittens Not rated yet
Noticed you didn’t have a picture of this breed, here’s one for you. Nancy Raber Hi Nancy…. thank you very much indeed for taking the time …

Is Belle a Dwarf Cat? Not rated yet
Hi. I have a 6 month old kitten named Belle. She is a spotted grey tabby with white paws, white tummy and eye makeup. She weighs three pounds, is about …

Is My Kitty Gonna be Alright
I am frightened that the very small cat I love might die when she gives birth to kittens. Please help.

Healthy Munchkins Not rated yet
I am planning on getting a Munchkin next year after falling in love with my aunt’s Munchkin – the breeder has been breeding for many years and has had …

Is My Cat a Dwarf Cat? Not rated yet
My mom was outside in her garden about a month ago and to her surprise this cute little calico cat popped out from under her garden shed and came right …

i love these cats Not rated yet
these cats are the cutest and i know they have health problems, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with them anyway! if they want a ledge to a window …I hope you enjoyed reading about Dwarf Cats and Miniature Cats.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

View Comments

  • Hello!
    I can help you get a kitten Dwelf. I am a breeder of Sphynx, but in February of this year, I brought a cat from America. (This is still the only cat in Russia). Now our girl is pregnant and we are expecting kittens born Dwelf.
    email me at Email newsletters

  • hello im goin to buy a mini himalayan (hope i spelled that right) I want to know How can I tell she really is a mini the lady told me that the mom is 4 3/4 pounds and that the baby wouldn't get that big once its fully grown HOw can I be sure? please let me know THANKS

    • Unfortunately you cannot wait to check when your mini Himmie has fully grown before adopting. As I see it that is the only sure way of adopting a miniature cat: Adopt an adult miniature cat. If you see (with your own eyes) that the parents are both small, then it is more likely that the offspring will be small. But, personally, I would not take the word of a breeder. That sounds tough but you are buying a cat for the life of the cat. You have to be sure. Check the parents of the kitten yourself and ask the breeder for two references from former customers. Even then you are taking a risk but less of a risk. Make sure you have a contract that includes a health check and vaccinations etc. If not have your vet check the cat out before buying - or a local independent veterinarian on your instructions.. Sounds very complicated and you may not want to do that but it is sensible. Good luck and thanks for visiting.

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