To many Singaporeans, the mention of the Singapura Cat probably brings to mind one’s encounters with the community cats of our neighbourhoods. While to others, particularly in the West, it holds the distinguished honour of being a pedigree cat that is recognized as the smallest cat breed according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Also known as the Kucinta, a hybrid of two malay words: Kuching (cat) and cinta (love), these cats along with the many other strays in Singapore number close to 80,000 (according to AVA) across the island, and have taken refuge in the many places like void decks and playgrounds that many humans like ourselves once occupied on a regular basis.
Yet one look at the pedigree Singapura Cat, and many will find it hard to imagine ever coming across this breed on our streets in recent time. History however does indicate that it was indeed popular back in the 1960s and 70s, where it had the dubious honour of being known as a “drain cat “, roaming around the kampungs and newly built HDB void decks before it was supposedly brought to Texas, USA in 1974 by Hal and Tommy Meadows and became a pedigree sensation.
In fact, looking at Singapore’s community cats of today reminds me very much of how much we have evolved as a country in such a short time. From perhaps a distinguished ‘pedigree’ that has set features and characteristics, we have grown to become as different and as unique as the many friendly community cats that bring much needed character into our neighbourhoods.