Miniature cats (updated 2022)

Introduction September 1, 2022: this page was written and constructed around 14 years ago. That point is relevant because the only miniature cat breeder in America at that time was Pocket Kittys and the website is still there. Although it strongly appears to be inactive and inactive for years. I have emailed the lady and asked her whether she is still breeding cats. I will update the page when I have received a response. But clearly everything that follows is substantially dependent upon whether this breeder still operates. Other than that, this page is still relevant which is why I decided to update and republish it at today’s date.

Size comparison between miniature cat and standard sized rescue cat
Size comparison between miniature cat and standard sized rescue cat. Photo: Pocket Kittys.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

It is worth noting, too, that Sarah Hartwell, an expert on unusual cat breeds, states that the ‘American Miniature Cat’ is extinct. She said that breeding of this cat stopped in 2015. She also says that a variety of cat breeds were used to create the American Miniature registered at REFR which stands for RARE AND EXOTIC FELINE REGISTRY. She states that the American Miniature was about half the size of the average house cat and never exceeding 7 pounds at maturity. The picture above shows the size difference between a miniature cat and a standard-sized tabby rescue.

Remember, that the American miniature was a standard cat in miniature which means that the length of the legs were completely normal in relation to the rest of the body. A miniature cat was defined as being no more than 12 inches long from the base of the neck to the base of the tail and no more than 10 inches tall from the top of the paw to the top of the shoulder blade when at least 18 months of age.

I believe that was an issue with maintaining health is such small cats. The anatomy starts to lack functionality as for example in the flat-faced cat breeds.

miniature cat  miniature cat
Scooter

The following section was constructed around 14 years ago. It remains relevant.

Miniature cats – the thumbnail photographs above and on this page are reproduced courtesy Pocket Kittys, a cattery, and are their copyright. They are the only cattery breeding this cat with quality photographs. That’s a good sign. I have also used their photographs on the Teacup Cat page. These are very small Traditional Persian cats, meaning Persian cats that do not suffer from tear overflow due to the squashed face ultra-appearance. There is a link to Pocket Kittys at the base of this page. They seem to be based in the USA. I am not advertising the cattery simply returning the favour. Update: 2012 this cattery no longer trades as far as I remember.

teacup cat

Miniature cats weigh in the region of 3-6 lbs (perhaps a maximum of 7 lbs). Average size cats weight around 10lbs (7-12+ lbs). I would have thought cats at the 3-4 lbs range are extremely rare and may suffer health issues. It is likely that a very small cat, who would normally be thought of as a “normal” cat, could be classified as a miniature.

She or he may in fact be a miniature cat as there is no scientific definition as far as I am aware of this term. This is stating the obvious but kittens are not miniature cats. Some of the pictures that you see of miniature cats are miniature cats as kittens or plain kittens. I have built a page on Teacup cats as well. Once again there is no clear definition that I am aware of the term “teacup cat” –  hence an overlap. I have stated that “teacup cats” are at the bottom end in terms of size of cats in this class. Small cats are also referred to as “toy” cats.

miniature cat

These cats are usually bred small through a selective cat breeding program so that all the litter will be small as opposed to a single kitten being small within an average sized litter of kittens (see below though). Average sized cats typically weigh in the order of 5 to 12 lbs. Although there are some exotic cats that weigh a lot more (e.g. the F1 Savannah). It is difficult to classify by exact weight what constitutes a cat that has been miniaturized or indeed a Teacup cat. In practice due to the lack of precision in definition, there may be an overlap in size between a small “normal” cat, a “miniature” cat and a “teacup” cat.

Genuine miniature cats are still rare (see rare cat breeds). They are not necessarily a breed of cat. They are only available, it seems, in the USA. They have been bred through progressive downsizing since the ’80s.

Other Factors

The cat that you adopt from a breeder will be selectively bred as mentioned above. However, in addition to selective breeding to create a very small cat, there are other influences that can create a very small cat. These are:

  • The genetic mutation for a miniature cat can be introduced into any breed. The Pocket Kittys breeder (see above) says that a genetic mutation seems to have occurred in the Persian breed. They breed Persians.
  • In certain environments it is advantageous to be small (lack of food) so by natural selection the cats get smaller until the advantage is lost.
  • Even where it is not advantageous to be small, cats through lack of food at an early stage can suffer from stunted growth.
  • Sometimes miniaturization can occur spontaneously, in a generation, by the mutation of a gene which dictates size.
miniature cat

It is worth mentioning that the Singapura does not fall into this class of cat despite a similar weight. This is because the Singapura is naturally a small cat and is in fact the smallest cat in the cat fancy. An adult Singapura male weighs about 6lbs and the female about 4lbs. Neither does a dwarf cat fall into this category of cat. Dwarf cats have the dwarfism gene while miniatures don’t. Dwarf cats are normal sized except for their legs. Miniatures are normally proportioned. They do not remain “kitten-like” all their lives. They become adults like any other cat. It is not their mentality that makes them miniature but their physical size.

Considerations What are the considerations in buying such a small cat?

  • They cost between about $500-$3000 ( for the smallest) these are guideline figures only (at 2007).
  • You can only be sure of the cats size when he/she is mature.
  • Because the breeding of miniature cats is not an exact science purchasers may on occasion be dissatisfied.
  • This means the contract on purchase between breeder and buyer will contain provisions dealing with this uncertainty – it is essential to read it.
  • Six months may elapse before the breeder can be sure of the cat’s size and whether he/she is robust enough to be re-homed. That means a wait for the buyer
  • Normally, a deposit will be payable.
  • If you reserve a kitten their mature size may be different to that expected.
  • In Russia, a toy cat named “Russian Toy Bobtail” has been bred by Helen Krasnitchenko for many years.
  • They are fully in proportion and healthy.
  • The current position regarding this breed is not fully known.
  • Breeding of miniature Siamese was discontinued in 2002 due to health problems.
  • Breeding females should be of sufficient size to accommodate, at birth, the eventuality that their offspring may be normal size.
  • There is a recognized miniature breed, the American Miniature cat (new window). The criteria for this cat helps in deciding what is a miniature cat.
miniature cat

As mentioned in other pages of this website it is sensible to have your vet do the health checks. If there is no contract, I would be inclined to insist on one being drawn up. This is an expensive transaction that requires some thought. And the outcome has a degree of uncertainty. Most important of all though are your thoughts about your new companion. I am sure that provided you select a reputable breeder any anxieties that you might have will be dealt with. If you are searching for a breeder please try Pocket Kittys was the premier breeder but are no longer trading as far as I am aware. You might visit the Dwarf Cat Association website and start there. Look for registration.

Update: Toybobs are a miniature cat hailing from Russia. They have a bobtail. Read about them on this page. They are a miniature Siamese with a bobtail!

Sources:

  • Breeder Sites
  • Messybeast

Below some pages on rare cat breeds:

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

28 thoughts on “Miniature cats (updated 2022)”

  1. Happy New Year Michael! Turns out I got all the breed information incorrect. I have an updated History and standard on the “Scyth-Toy-Bob” known as simply Toybob here in the States, as well as England, Denmark, France and Japan. I also currently have the smallest adult male in the US!

    Reply
    • Gigi, I hope that you had a good Christmas and I wish you the very best of luck for the New Year. I would love you to write some more about your cat, the smallest adult male in the US. If you would like to do that, you can email me at mjbmeister@gmail.com. in fact, you can write anything you like about miniature cats for this website if you wish by emailing me as mentioned. Good luck in 2016.

      Reply
  2. Hi, I currently own two “Toybobs”, they’re a rare imported breed of miniature bob tailed cats from Russia. They range from 2-5 pounds full-grown. My 1 1/2 year old is slightly under 4 pounds and my one year old is a little over four pounds. I attached a picture of my one year old.

    Reply
  3. Hello.
    My neighbor brought me 6 kittens of one of the feral mommas we weren’t able to trap last year. I had just taken in another tiny kitten that animal control was going to take and euthanize that another person in the neighborhood had heard crying in their shed. The dad’s of these kittens are a huge, gorgeous, orange, long-hair and a beige, long hair.

    The six kittens are just now at 6 weeks. We thought this tiny little boy was about two weeks when I got him. I’ve fed him with a syringe as he was too weak to suck the nipple of the bottle or either it wasn’t letting enough milk come through. I think he is about 4 1/2 weeks now. The thing is he is mentally really ahead of these other cats that appear to be older than him because of his size. It could be that he is just a gifted little fellow mentally though.

    I read something about miniature cats possibly being bow-legged and their cheeks being a bit under-developed. He is a little doll to look at because he is so tiny. When he runs he sort of gallops and his legs are a bit bowed. His eyes are really big for the size of his head and then underneath them it is just a bit more hollow than full like the kittens in this other litter.

    When I took him to the vet the first day there was a flakey white substance stuck to his back that she thought might be parasites. She gave him a bath and then shaved that off of him. He has been on Clavamox and another antibiotic. He is a little fighter and runs all over the place even slugging it out with the biggest kitten in this other litter. He is so tiny that I have to look down every time I take a step for fear I will step on him.

    He has normal size legs and is in proportion all over but I just wanted to see what you thought. Can you suggest any literature I could read?

    I’ve been feeding him mother’s milk substitute. Then I got wet kitten food and started mixing it with this milk substitute. He is now able to lap this up on his own. I found him trying to eat my adults’ cat food kibble pieces. I was worried he could choke on this. Could you tell me at this point what you think I should feed him and how many times a day. I think I fed him too much the day before yesterday as his little tummy was huge at the end of the day and he seemed miserable. I gave him 5 tsps. full in the morn., mid day and evening. I was using the syringe that day. I let him eat out of the bowl today so he could take what he wanted.

    I would really appreciate a response to this…or if you would prefer to call I have free long distance. You can email me your number. Thanks so much. Best Wishes! Anneliese

    Reply
    • Hi Anneliese, I have read your comment and published it. Thank you for visiting and sharing your experiences. If you have a photo of the little fella please upload it to the site. You’ll see a button below the comment box (“browse”). Click on it and select the image from your computer then click “Post Comment”.

      Please give me a little while (a day) to respond to your comment fully.

      Reply
    • Hi Anneliese,

      Pediatrics is a big subject and I am not a vet but I will do is mention some key bits of information and refer to a page or two on PoC. It seems he is just a small kitten so all the normal rules apply but he is more vulnerable because of his size.

      Over and underfeeding are the common problems. Over = diarrhea. Under = dehydration + no weight gain. Weight gain is vital. 10 grams per day and normal stool (firm and light brown) = OK. Overfeeding is more likely.

      Weight gain is important: This page on kitten weight may help. Healthy, normal weight kittens who are nursing properly should gain 7-10 grams per day.

      Body temperature: Chilling is very dangerous. Kitten box = 85 degrees F to 90 degrees F for first few weeks. Then lowered to about 70F at 6 weeks. Humidity = about 60 percent.

      Calorie input: This rather complicated page may assist.

      Newborn kitten care – try this first.

      Page on newborn kitten care.

      Hope this helps a bit. But a vet is the only real answer. I am just a person who knows a bit about cats. You are doing well by the sound of it and good luck. Please ask more questions (specific would help) if you like.

      I don’t think kibble is best at this time. High quality wet designed for growing kitten is best.

      Weaning: 25 days to 10 weeks. “In general kittens can be started on weaning when…about 25 days old”

      Reply

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