A Guide to Choosing and Caring for Teacup Kittens
Teacup kittens are not your average kitten. For one, they are very tiny! In fact, their name comes from the fact that this type of kitten can literally fit its entire body into a teacup. Second, this type of breeding results in kittens whose bone and muscular structures are much more delicate than the full sized breed. If you are thinking of purchasing a teacup kitten, it is important that you research the different breeds available and educate yourself on the type of care that teacup kittens require.
Choosing a Breed
Teacup kittens make a wonderful pet for someone who doesn’t have a lot of space in their home or who simply likes the daintier look of these cats. A teacup kitten is not its own breed, but rather a size differential within breeds of cat. As with dogs, the temperament and overall attitude of cats vary from breed to breed and this should be remembered when choosing your teacup breed.
As the Himalayan is the most popular breed used to create teacup kittens, we are going to start off with it. This breed was developed in the 30’s by a doctor who bred a Siamese cat with a Persian cat. In the 80’s, the CFA merged this breed with the Persian breed and was listed as simply being a different color of Persian cat. Himalayans have large, round heads and large wide-set eyes. They have short, often rounded ears and short legs. The Himalayan cat has long hair which is oftentimes on the thick side. This breed of cat does require a great deal of grooming to prevent the fur from matting. As far as temperament goes, the Himalayan is a very laid back and calm breed. They are not lazy, but they are easy going and enjoy playing every now and then.
The Napoleon is another popular breed of teacup kitten. This breed is a cross between a Munchkin and a Persian or Himalayan cat. They can be either short or long-haired and come in a variety of colors. As this is a “dwarf” breed, it does have very short legs in contrast with a longer body style. The Napoleon breed has a round head with pointed ears and a short nose. This breed is typically a bit stronger in bone structure and thought to be one of the more hardy breeds. The Napoleon often has the laid back nature—which no doubt comes from its Himalayan/Persian counterpart—yet is very athletic and sociable to humans and other animals.
The last breed of teacup kitten we are going to talk about is the Lambkin. This is a cross between the Selkirk Rex and another breed of cat—usually a Munchkin, American or British shorthair, or Persian/Himalayan. The Lambkin has a characteristic curly coat which looks as fuzzy as lamb’s wool! This breed also has very short legs which means that while it won’t get around as fast as a typical sized cat, it can still live an active and healthy life. The shape of the cat’s head and the length of its neck largely depends on what kind of cat the Selkirk Rex was bred with, so some Lambkins have perfectly round heads with short noses while others look like fluffy miniatures of the typical shorthair. Most lambkins are said to be very calm and happy go lucky. The activity level and social skills of this breed depends on who the non-Selkirk Rex parent is.
Caring for Teacup Kittens
Caring for a teacup kitten is a little different than caring for the standard (full sized) breed of cat. Because this kitten will literally be the size of a teacup, it would be wise to create a box or bed for this kitten where it can keep out of harm’s way. The bedding should be made of an insulated material such as a warm blanket to help the kitten stay warm, as its size makes regulating its body temperature a little more difficult. Feed and water your kitten as you would any other type of kitten, but make sure that the food is of good quality and easy for your cat to eat. During the first few months that you have your kitten, you should monitor it very closely. Watch how often it eats, potties, and gets around. If your cat seems to exhibit signs of any kind of health issue, it should be taken to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Teacup breeds are frail to begin with, and this frailty and purposeful breeding for a smaller size can result in compromised health.
As your kitten grows, be sure to socialize it well with other humans and cats, if you have some. This will ensure that the kitten grows up well-rounded and doesn’t become reclusive when others are around. Be sure to keep wires, string, and other dangerous objects off of the floor, as your kitten could easily become entangled and harm itself. Ensure that anyone who interacts with your kitten is aware of its fragility and take the proper precautions with your kitten.