The teacup kitten isn't a breed so much as a description of a group of cats that have a much smaller than average size. This can be for a number of reasons and some who are born very small don't always remain that way. For some people, their tiny size is a big advantage, especially to those with smaller homes. But there are also health considerations to take into account. Here we look at the pros and cons of the smallest size cat.
What is a teacup?
The standard size for a female cat is between 11-14 pounds while a male will weigh between 12-17 pounds. A teacup female will be from 3-6.5 pounds in weight and a male between 3-7.5 pounds. Weight is a good way to tell the difference between a true teacup cat and a cat that was simply small at birth but may grow to be normal sized. Just because a cat is under 10 pounds in weight does not make it a teacup.
Teacup kittens come in a range of different breeds and are bred specifically for their size. The smallest cat from the litter is mated with the smallest from another litter, constantly reducing the size in each new litter until teacup kittens are born. It is also a type of dwarfism and comes in two main forms. These are anchonrdroplastic, where the dominant gene due to mutation will affect the hormone controlling bone growth and primordial, which occurs naturally.
The most popular of the teacup breeds are those combined with Persians and their related breeds. Known as the MiniPer, these were developed by Cher Simmitt in California and are primordial dwarves with proportionate bodies that are smaller than normal cats. Another version is the MiniPaws who are a hybrid and carry both types of dwarfism in their genes. They have shortened legs that can be somewhat deformed but are otherwise proportionate.
The Napoleon was created by breeding a Munchkin with a Persian, have the longhaired coats, and face structure of the Persian. These are the newest of teacup breeds. The Lambkin was a crossing of the Munchkin and the Selkirk Rex to get a cat with a soft, curly coat similar to that of a lamb.
While these kittens are adorable when little, they do grow to be adult cats despite their miniature stature. This means that their behaviours change just as a normal adult cat would and they often loose many kittenish ways.
The inbreeding used to create these breeds can lead to other health issues. These range from neurological conditions and cardiovascular problems to physical deformities and even a reduced lifespan. Caring and professional breeders are very careful about their pairings to produce healthy cats but there are unscrupulous breeders simply seeking to make money from a trend. Therefore, only purchase from breeders registered with one or more of the big cat registries to ensure the quality of the kittens as well as their adorable looks.