Singapura



Singapura
Singapura is the Malaysian word for Singapore. The streets of Singapore are the origin of this breed. They are nature's combination of both the ticked coat pattern and the dark brown color, both of which are indigenous to South East Asia. The breed was brought into the U.S. in the early 1970s by Hal and Tommy Meadow, expatriates moving home. Early Singapura breeders quickly went to work to establish purebred characteristics such as breeding true, uniformity of appearance, and above all, health and disposition. This careful development of the breed has lead to small numbers of diversified pedigreed cats but one that is widely desired and accepted. Today the breed is worldwide and recognized by most registration associations. In CFA, Singapuras were accepted for registration in 1982 and for championship competition in 1988.

The Singapura's disposition is that of a "pesky people cat," an extroverted, curious, playful but nondestructive cat that insists on helping you with everything. They are very intelligent and interactive with people and remain so even into old age. Disposition is one of their most endearing attributes. If you want a cat geared to "four on the floor," don't consider owning a Singapura.

Noted in the Guinness Book of World Records as the smallest breed of domestic cat, Puras, as they are affectionately called, are gaining fans for their appealing personalities and affectionate natures. While still rare, partly because of the controversy surrounding their origins, these feisty little mouse warriors are the cat's meow, say fanciers.

The Singapura is a small cat and a newer addition to the United States show ring. There is much confusion as to its origin. The base stock of all the Singapura cats in the United States is just four cats. They all belong to one American breeder. The future of these cats is in question because the gene pool is small. The breed is still being developed in the U.S. The Singapura was recognized in championship standing in 1988. In its second season of show it realized an amazing triumph. It won 22 grand championship titles.

This cat has coloring unlike any other breed. Although small, he has a somewhat stocky body that is muscular. When he stands, his body, legs and the floor form a square. The only acceptable eye colors are hazel, yellow, or green. The eyes and ears must be large. The legs of this cat are thick and muscular. His coat is silky, fine and short. The only grooming required is a combing occasionally.

The only color variety is sepia with ticked fur and you will only see the Singapura as a shorthaired. This is an active cat that loves to be with his humans. He gets along great with other animals and the female is very loving and maternal with her litters.

Singapura - Current - Small, muscular cat with ticked coat in brown-ticked ivory or tabby-ticked with white (very similar). Looks like small, ticked Burmese. Said to be native to Singapore but controversial as the originator took her Burmese cats to Singapore (possibly also some Abyssinian heritage). Native Singapore cats are of Asian type, all colours, mostly bobtails and reclusive (in the past, cat has been eaten). Also called Singapore Drain Cat (feral cats may hide in storm drains) and Singapore River Cat; it became a Singaporean tourist emblem "Kucinta".

Singapura Bobtail - Variant - A bobtail kitten appeared in a Singapura litter, tracing back to part-tailed foundation cat; inbreeding can cause traits to reappear. Appeared tailless, but proved to have stumpy tail similar to Japanese Bobtail. There are bobtails in Singapore, also isolated reports of Abyssinian Bobtails (there is possibly Abyssinian heritage in Singapura, Wild Abyssinian is from Singapore).

History

Singapore, an island spanning 226 square miles (585 sq. km) perched off the tip of the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia, has scores of feral felines, as do many seaports. These cats make their livings off the leavings of the fishing trade, and in the past were not paid much attention unless they became nuisances, and then they were picked up by the cat police and summarily dealt with. It is a hard life for these nomads and, far from being praised as pedigrees, they were disparagingly known as "drain" or "sewer" cats by the denizens of the island.

Small brown cats with ticked coats have been observed on the isle since at least 1965. This variety, however, is not the only kind of cat found on the island; other varieties include solid-colored cats, deeper-colored ticked cats that often have short, bobbed tails, and cats that display the white spotting factor.

The Singapura breed as we know it in North America has made the Guinness Book of World Records (as the smallest breed of domestic cat), has had an entire advertising campaign centered around it (to promote tourism in the Republic of Singapore), and has had the dubious distinction of being the center of a cat controversy.

In 1975 Tommy and Hal Meadow returned from Singapore with three ticked, sepia-colored cats by the names of Tess, Tickle, and Pusse. Tommy Meadow, a former CFF judge and Abyssinian and Burmese breeder active in the cat fancy since 1955, wrote a standard for the breed and began a breeding program to weed out undesirable traits and produce consistency in color, coat, pattern, and disposition. The breed was promoted under the name Singapura, the Malaysian name for Singapore. In 1980 another breeder obtained a fourth cat from the Singapore SPCA and that cat was also used in the breeding program. Tommy Meadow founded the United Singapura Society, whose stated goal was to protect, preserve, and promote the Singapura. The CFA accepted the Singapura for registration in 1982, and granted Champion-ship status in 1988.

Controversy arose in 1990, when Singapore reporter Sandra Davie interviewed Tommy Meadow for The Straits Times. Tommy admitted that Tess, Tickle, and Pusse had been born in America and transported to Singapore when she and her husband Hal moved there in 1974. Tommy said Tess, Tickle, and Pusse were the grandchildren of Singapore cats that Hal had sent to Tommy in Galveston, Texas, via a company ship when he was in Singapore on business in 1971.

Tommy explained that after she allowed the cats to mate, she became convinced that the cats could be the foundation of a breed unknown to the United States cat fancy, and decided to promote them as such. However, because of the confidential nature of Hal's work (collecting information for the geophysical company for which he was employed), Hal insisted that Tommy not tell the true origin of Tess, Tickle, and Pusse. Since she did not keep records of the matings of those first three cats, Tommy maintains that, for all practical purposes, the breed began in 1975.

In February 1991 Tommy and Hal Meadow were invited to appear before the CFA board to explain the discrepancy, and they reiterated this story to the CFA board of directors. Hal produced several passports and visas to document his visits to Singapore and said that, since the cats originally came to the United States via a company work ship, no import or export papers were filed for the cats.

The CFA board found no probable cause of wrongdoing and took no action against the Meadows; nor did any other association revoke recognition of the breed. The Singapore tourist promotion board apparently came to the same conclusion since they continued with an advertising campaign featuring the Singapura as their national mascot, importing two Singapuras from the United States to serve as models for statues to represent "Singapore's National Treasure."

Other fanciers and breeders, however, were not willing to let the matter go, believing that the Singapura was actually the product of Abyssinian/ Burmese crosses produced in Texas and transported to Singapore as a money-making scam. They pointed to the similarities in type and ticking.

Proponents pointed out that the Singapura ticked pattern resembling the Abyssinian's does not necessarily prove anything more than a common ancestry, since the Abyssinian is thought to have originated on the Malay Peninsula, swimming distance (if you're a really strong swimmer) from the island of Singapore. The Burmese originally hails from that part of the world as well. However, skeptics pointed out that someone wishing to perpetuate a scam-someone familiar with those breeds-would have chosen the breeds for that reason.

Some Singapura breeders not affiliated with the Meadows' United Singapura Society also were concerned about the breed's reportedly small litter sizes, which they believed was an indication of inbreeding resulting from the four-cat foundation and the unwillingness of the Meadows to allow other Singapore cats to be imported to widen the gene pool. Because of these and other disagreements, they formed other breed clubs, such as the International Singapura Alliance. Additional Singapore cats were imported as early as the mid-1980s by breeders to provide a basis for the additional Singapura bloodlines.

Personality

Singapuras, happily unaware of the controversy surrounding them, go right on being what they are: pesky people pleasers. At home in any situation, Puras love to be the center of attention and they don't seem to understand the word "stranger"-they want to be there with you to welcome your guests. They're curious, people-oriented, and remain playful well into adulthood. Their voices are quiet and unobtrusive even when they're in season, and they trust their humans implicitly.
Puras are not quite as active as Abyssinians, but they are spirited nevertheless. They're curious, affectionate, almost too intelligent, and seem very much in tune with their favorite humans' moods.

The Singapura is a smaller than average, shorthaired cat with noticeably large eyes and ears. On first impression, you might think you were looking at some new color of Abyssinian. The pattern is nearly the same but on closer inspection you will note that the only other similarity is the large ears, everything else is different. The light beige coloring is unique and thought by some to be similar to cougars. The tail is normal length, the feet are very small, the body is smaller, of a medium length and should be muscular. Eyes may be hazel, green or yellow but mature eye color is not predicable in kittens. Many veterinarians seeing a Singapura for the first time are apt to think something might be wrong with the kitten since it is so small. The Singapura is slow to develop and will not attain its full size until about 15 to 24 months of age. There isn't much difference in size between mature males and females, females weighing approximately 5 to 6 pounds and males 6 to 8 pounds.

A pet quality cat will usually have cosmetic faults that make it unsuitable for showing or breeding. Some of the most common faults are head length (too long), eyes too close together, visible or non-visible tail faults, lack of complete nose-liner (the dark line around the nose leather), and markings on the outside of the front legs which should be clear of any markings. Additionally, only a limited number of male cats can be used in the breeding programs so only the best male kittens are retained for breeding. Regardless of the reason for a Singapura to be offered as a pet, you will find this cat's intelligence, playfulness and unique appearance captivating from the first time you meet one.

Conformation

The Singapura possesses the dominant ticked tabby gene Ta, which produces alternating bands of color on each individual hair, the same gene that gives the Abyssinian its distinctive coat. The coat color is modified by the Burmese gene cb, which results in a warm brown color (sepia), alternating with a warm "old ivory" ground color. This gives the coat the appearance of refined, 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 a flyweight of around 6 pounds (2.7 kg), and females tip the scales at approximately 4 pounds (1.8 kg).

GeneralThe appearance of an alert healthy small to medium sized muscular bodied cat with noticeably large eyes and ears. Cat to have the illusion of refined delicate coloring.
BodySmall to medium overall size cat. Moderately stocky and muscular body, legs and floor to form a square. Mid-section not tucked but firm.
HeadSkull rounded front to back and side to side with rounded width at the outer eye narrowing to a definite whisker break and a medium-short, broad muzzle with a blunt nose. In profile, a rounded skull with a slight curve well below eye level. Straight line nose to chin. Chin well developed.
EarsLarge, slightly pointed, wide open at the base, and possessing a deep cup. Medium set. Outer lines of the ear to extend upward at an angle slightly wide of parallel. Small ears a serious fault.
EyesLarge, almond shaped, held wide open but showing slant. Neither protruding nor recessed. Eyes set not less than an eye width apart. Color hazel, green or yellow with no other color permitted. Brilliance preferred. Small eyes a serious fault.
NeckTends toward thick and short
Legs/FeetLegs heavy and muscled at the body tapering to small short oval feet. 
TailLlength to be short of the shoulder when laid along the torso. Tending towards slender but not whippy. Blunt tip.
CoatFine, very short, silky texture, Iying very close to the body. Springy coat a fault.
ColorSEPIA AGOUTI only, color to be dark brown ticking on a warm old ivory ground color. Each hair to have at least two bands of dark ticking separated by light bands. Light next to the skin and a dark tip. Dark tail tip with color extending back toward the body on upper side. Spine line NOT a fault. Muzzle, chin, chest and underside to be the color of unbleached muslin. Cat to show some barring on inner front legs and back knee only. Allowance to be made for undeveloped ticking in kittens. Hair between toes to be dark brown. Facial markings: dark lines extending from brows and outside corner of eyes, dark lines extending downward alongside nose bridge from inner corner of eyes (cheetah lines), and cheekbone shading are all desirable. Eyeliner, lips, whisker apertures, noseliner to be dark brown. Nose leather: pale to dark salmon. Paw Pads: rosy brown. Salmon tones to the ears and nose bridge NOT a fault.
PenalizeColdness or gray tones in the coat, gray undercoat next to the skin, barring on outer front legs, necklaces, non-visible tail faults, lack of nose liner.
DisqualifyWhite spotting, barring on tail, top of the head unticked, unbroken necklaces or leg bracelets. Very small eyes or ears. Visible tail faults. Blue eyes. Any color other than sepia agouti (dark brown ticking on an old ivory undercoat).
Allowable OutcrossesNone