The teacup kitten isnít a true breed but more of a description of a group of cats with a smaller than average body size. Teacup kittens are available in a range of different breeds. The smallest cats of one breed are bred with the smallest cats of another breed to progressively product these tiny kittens.
An average female cat weighs between 10-14 pounds while an average male cat weighs between 12-17 pounds. A teacup female will weigh between 3-6.5 pounds with a male weighing between 3-7.5 pounds. Weight is a good way to measure if a cat is a true teacup cat. Some sellers may try to convince you a small kitten will stay small but that is not always the case. Just because a cat weighs less than 10 pounds doesnít make it a true teacup.
There are two forms of dwarfism that causes their miniature size. The first is anchondroplastic, where the dominant gene, through mutation, affects the bone growth hormones. The second is primordial dwarfism which occurs naturally.
The MiniPer is the most popular of the teacup breeds. They were developed by Cher Simmit in California by breeding Persians and Exotics. This produced a primordial dwarf with a proportionate body size smaller than the standard Persian or Exotic. The MiniPaw is a hybrid and carries both the anchodroplastic and primordial gene. The combination of both dwarfism genes produces a cat with small proportions and shortened legs which are somewhat deformed.
The Lambkin was developed by breeding a Munchkin with a Selkirk Rex. This is still considered an experimental breed and are very rare. They have a soft curly coat that resembles the coat of a lamb thus their name. Regular grooming is needed to keep them looking good. They have an easy-going personality and are very affectionate. With a long tail and body with short legs, they are generally very healthy.
The newest breed is the Napoleon. Named after Napoleon Bonaparte, this is a hybrid of the Munchkin and the Persian. They combine traits from both breeds to create a unique look with short legs, large round eyes and a colorful coat. Often referred to as small, round and sweet, this kitten is very playful and loving. Regular grooming will depend upon the length of their dense coat. A shorter coat should be groomed weekly while a longer coat requires more frequent brushing.
Some health issues can arise from the inbreeding used to create these adorable kittens. They range from neurological and cardiovascular problems to deformities and even a shortened lifespan. Professional breeders are careful to match pairs to produce healthy cats. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous breeders are not as thoughtful so be sure to purchase from a registered breeder.
Most of the teacup kittens are cross breeds of the Persians and Exotics. These are the most sought after of the small breeds. The toy versions of these breeds have the same physical traits and characteristics of the standard breed. As they mature, they will lose some of their more kitten-like behavior but will still be loving and affectionate.