The smallest cat breed in the world

Just about everyone who's ever owned kittens at one point or another has said the words, "I wish they'd stay little forever!" Well guess what, if only you'd bought yourself a Singapura (Get it? Singa-PURR-a?), then your cat would literally have stayed little forever. 

At half the size of the average housecat, the Singapura is the world's smallest domestic feline. According to Purina, the breed originated in Singapore, where it was locally known as the "drain cat" because of its habit of sleeping in drains and gutters. So not only is this cat adorable, it also has a tragic origin story. 

The Singapura's ancestors were feral and in the 1970s authorities tried to have them all exterminated. The program was so successful, in fact, that by the mid-1970s the people who finally decided that the breed was worth saving could only find three individuals still living in Singapore. In 1980 a fourth lonely specimen was rescued, and all four ended up in America, where they officially established the Singapura breed. All modern Singapuras are descended from those four individuals.

Munchkin kitties

With their huge eyes and endearing personalities, Singapuras are like kittens that never grew up, but they're not your only choice if you're looking for a cat that's small and adorable. The munchkin cat is smaller than average but looks even tinier than it is because a genetic mutation has given it super stubby legs. According to The Spruce Pets, the gene that gives munchkins their short stature is similar to the one found in short legged dog breeds like dachshunds and Welsh corgis, but because the spine of a cat is structurally different than a dog's spine, these munchkins don't tend to have back problems the way their canine counterparts do. 

The gene is dominant, which means a cat that inherits one copy will always have short legs. But if an embryo gets two copies of the gene (one from each parent) it will die before birth. For that reason, munchkins are only bred to domestic cats that lack the mutation. Clearly, it's not easy being that adorable.