Singapura Breed Details
The original home of the Singapura is the island of Singapore, with the breed taking its name from the local Malay name for the island - meaning "Lion City". The breed is the result of mother nature's combination of genes indigenous to South East Asia - both the brown as in Siamese and Burmese and the agouti or ticked pattern. The area is the highest epicentre for the agouti gene, according to geneticist, Neal Todd, who has published articles on the migration of feline genes. This breed is the same colour as seal point cats or brown Burmese, but the difference is the agouti coat pattern and how it interacts with the sepia brown.
The first Singapura cats to appear were imported into America from Singapore by Hal and Tommy Meadow in the mid-seventies, having been found and adopted in the Loyang area by a geophysical work boat crew. The breed was carefully developed from Ticle, Pusse, Tes, George and Gladys, the latter two being offspring from Ticle and Pusse. In 1980 a further cat, Chiko, was imported from the SPCA (Singapore equivalent to RSPCA) into America. The look of the cat as determined by these early imports, remains unaltered today. In July 1990, the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board nominated the breed as a "travel mascot" and had a contest to determine its name. Kucinta, meaning "love cat", was the winner. Kucinta has since been the object of worldwide promotions and publications. She has even been named a National Treasure by the Singapore Government.
Singapuras were first imported into the UK from the USA in 1988 by Carole Thompson of Gloucestershire. She brought in a pregnant female called Imagos Faye Raye of Usaf, who subsequently gave birth in quarantine to three kittens, Muffy, Mimi, and Kuan. Shortly afterwards came Sricoberys Indah, a boy imported as a suitable husband to Faye, Muffy and Mimi. Kuan went back to Canada to become a Quadruple Grand Champion with the American Cat Fanciers Association.
Carole later sold some of her cats to Pat and Eddie Bell of Northumberland, and very soon afterwards Debbie Van Den Berg and her partner, Mal, fell in love with the breed. They purchased their first two girls, Tolgoblin Sweet Saffron (Saffie) and Tolgoblin Esmirelda Ofmine(Esme) from Pat and Eddie. Before long they had purchased an American import male called Changis Singing Purs Theo as a suitable mate for the girls, as well as Tolgoblin Elven Princess (Alice), a half sister to Saffy and Esme.
World Wide Development
The breed in America is recognised by all registering bodies including the CFA, with a large number having achieved top show honours. Singapuras are also being bred in Australia, Canada, several European countries, Russia, South Africa, South America, and Japan. An international network of breeders has been formed and the group is wholly dedicated to the uniform worldwide development and preservation of the uniqueness, beauty and healthy vigour of the Singapura cat.
In the early days of breeding in the United States some Singapura x Singapura matings produced solid brown kittens. An extensive test mating programme was begun in order to establish the genetic makeup of the breed for presentation to the registering organisations, and to establish which cats were carriers of the non-agouti gene. After extensive test matings to Siamese, Burmese, Abyssinian and blue cats in America, breeders have been able to determine accurately that the genotype for the Singapura should be AA BB cbcb DD ii TaTa. AA denoting Agouti, BB denoting black, cbcb denoting that the cat appears brown not black, DD denoting that there is no recessive dilute, ii denoting that there is no rufus inhibiting or silver gene, and TaTa denoting that the breed is tabby agouti in pattern. It is certain that no other recessive gene is carried with respect to colour and pattern. In test-mating Singapuras to Burmese, Siamese, and blue cats, the American breeders were able to ascertain not only carriers of the non-agouti gene but, because no agouti Tonkinese appeared, found that there was no Siamese gene being carried in the cats, and by breeding to blue cats found that no blue was being carried.
In 1982 the majority of American breeders opted for the wording in the breed standard to read "...warmer, lighter shades preferred" in reference to colour. Breeders had inadvertently selected against solid colour carriers by choosing the warmer, lighter cats from the beginning. As a result, after test mating, only seven cats were neutered because they carried solid colours and no blood lines were lost. The most effective method of testing for the non-agouti gene was found to be a Singapura-Burmese cross. It was established that if a Singapura were to give birth to seven ticked kittens after being mated to a Burmese cat, then the chance of the Singapura parent being clear of the non-agouti gene would be 99.2 per cent. (Statistics taken from Roy Robinson's "Genetics for Cat Breeders", 3rd edition, Pergamon Press.) All our British cats originate from this test-mating programme in the mid 1980's, and another later testing by Dr Bella Toga in France in the mid 1990's. And all our cats breed true to only one colour, which is "Brown Ticked". The Singapura Cat Club Rules state that Members are never knowingly to breed from Singapuras which originate from untested stock, and to re-test the line in question if any litter should contain non-agouti kittens, neutering any carrier cats from the breeding programme. Our objectives are to maintain the integrity of the Singapura breed through selective breeding only within the breed, keeping the physical appearance and only one colour of cat.
To be owned by a Singapura is like having another member of the family, a caring affectionate and sensitive friend. They have soft, gentle voices and love human company. Dribbling and fetching ping pong balls is mastered at a very early age. A great artist - the Singapura will take on many personas, they play and frolic, 'help' you read the paper by walking all over it (after all you should be fussing them), scale curtains, legs, cupboards and door frames, and love sitting on shoulders or curling up on laps. They also do an amazing hot water bottle impression when it is late and cold, and spend hours of vigil sitting on your chest when you are feeling unwell. Being vigorous cats they are active and lively, with a love of warmth. Their stature makes them gentle cats, but they are also playful, and remain so throughout their lives, even the older cats enjoying a wild game. They are mischievous, and inquisitive, meaning that they will investigate anything thoroughly - especially when they shouldn't - but that is part of their charm.