One of the smallest of all pedigreed cats, the Singapura is everyone’s best friend. Remarkably intelligent, this is a cat that learns to do things that can be maddening to owners, like picking locks and eavesdropping on telephone messages.
"Puras" are not quite as active as Abyssinians, but they are very high-spirited nonetheless. They are extroverted, curious, and innocently playful. Almost too intelligent, they seem extremely perceptive about their favorite humans' moods. Insistent about being your helpful assistant, they must investigate everything you touch from the pen in your hand to the keyboard on your lap! Their voices are quiet and unobtrusive, and they trust their humans implicitly. From the standpoint of personality, they are the epitome of warmth and affection.
The Singapura possesses the dominant ticked tabby gene “ta,” which produces the alternating bands of color on each individual hair. This is the same gene that gives the Abyssinian its distinctive ticked coat. The coat color is modified by the Burmese gene “cb,” which results in a warm sepia brown color, alternating with a warm "old ivory" base. This gives the coat a very refined and delicate coloration. Both of these genes are believed to have originated in Southeast Asia. Unlike the Abyssinian, the Singapura's standard calls for some barring on the inner front legs. Adult male Singapuras weigh in at around 6 pounds (2.7 kg), and females tip the scales at approximately 4 pounds (1.8 kg), making them the smallest of all pedigreed cat breeds.
Singapura is the Malaysian word for Singapore. Originating on the streets of Singapore, this breed is disparagingly referred to there as a "drain" or "sewer" cat. They embody nature's combination of both the ticked-coat pattern and the dark brown color, both of which are indigenous to Southeast Asia. The breed was brought into the U.S. in the early 1970s by expatriates Hal and Tommy Meadow, who were moving home. Much controversy arose when claims were later made that these early cats had actually been imported to Singapore from the U.S., but careful investigation by the various breeders' associations for years proved this not to be the case.
Careful development has led to small numbers of diversified pedigreed cats, and a lineage that is widely desired and accepted. Today the breed enjoys worldwide prevalence and is recognized by most feline associations. Within the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA), Singapuras were accepted for registration in 1982, and for championship competition in 1988.
The Singapura is much smaller than the average cat. It is a short-haired feline with notably large eyes and ears, and a very fine coat. On first impression, you might think you were looking at some new color of small Abyssinian. The ticked pattern is very nearly the same, but on closer inspection, you can note that the only other similarity is the large ears – everything else about the cat is different. The light beige coloring is unique to the breed and reminiscent of the color of wild cougars. Although the feet are quite small, the tail is of normal length with a cropped end. This cat has a small, mediumlength, muscular body. Eyes may be hazel, green, or yellow in maturity with kitten eye color somewhat deceptive.
Slow to develop, the Singapura does not attain its full size until about 15 to 24 months of age. Additionally, litters tend to be very small, ranging from one to four kittens. Females with only one kitten often must be subjected to a Caesarian section, since they tend to have weak uterine muscles.
Kittens are commonly restricted from sale until they have reached at least twelve to sixteen weeks of age when they have had their basic inoculations. It is also important to allow time for them to gain physical strength and social recognition to be ready for a new home, the show circuit or shipping by air. To ensure maintenance of a long, vigorous life, it is also recommended that you protect this uniquely wonderful jewel of a pet by keeping it safe inside where it has appropriate outlets for its natural need to scratch.
One owner’s amusing experience with Singapuras included the cats’ habit of pushing the "snooze" button on an alarm clock to stop the sound they disliked. In order to assure getting up on time, the only solution was to put the clock in the drawer in the nightstand so that the cats couldn't get to it.
Some also tell how their Singapuras have learned to play back the messages on an answering machine. Having also mastered just about every kind of kitchen cabinet hardware imaginable, these same cats now have free run of the house!
Other Singapuras reportedly could sit on command, shake hands, and even knew how to use the human toilet. While endlessly entertaining, these are not the right cat for someone who wants a laidback lap-sitter.
Friendly with just about everyone and everything – cats, dogs, or children, this is a cat that is easy to care for and easy to love.
Barron's Enclyclopedia of Cat Breeds