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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
- Breeder Sites
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.