tabby. ginger. tortoiseshell. It’s not uncommon to see different fur colors and patterns of stray cats all over Singapore, but how much do you know about these cats and why do they look that way?
related: identifying the birds of singapore
the original “singapore cat”
Believe it or not, Singapore has its own special, recognized breed of cat; It’s not the alley cats you’re thinking of, either. Nicknamed the “Singapura cat”, it was recognized as an official breed by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) in 1988, although it was thought to have mixed heritage from Abyssinian and Burmese cats. but it looks different than most of the cats you see in your empty deck.
Thoroughbreds have a long tail with a dark tip, with a short, soft coat that comes in a color called “sepia agouti” – an ombre effect of dark brown and light brown, sometimes with fine stripes on the legs, the face and tail. he is known to be very people-oriented. however, these cats are rare in that they require C-sections during delivery due to their small bodies.
fun fact: the cat was chosen as the official mascot of the singapore tourism board named “kucinta” in 1991, and today you can see 3 sculptures of singapore cats (a mother and 2 kittens) throughout the singapore river at cavenagh bridge.
ironically, you’re more likely to meet other feral cats than you are to see a purebred Singaporean cat.
the docked tails of the local cats
one of the most common traits of feral cats in singapore is that they often have tails that appear to be docked or crooked. According to the Singapore SPCA, it is a common trait among Singaporean cats as they are born that way.
The reason many cats have crooked tails is due to a recessive genetic trait, which belongs to the short-tailed cat family. the bobtail trait is believed to have originated in the Japanese bobtail cat, a historic breed with a docked or crooked tail, which interbred with the local “longkang” cats, resulting in the many bobtail cats we see today.
In a way, it’s a genetic abnormality similar to that of the stubby-legged munchkin cat.
the different coats of the local stray cats
our local feral cats come in a variety of coat brands (tabby, solid, tortoiseshell, colorpoint, tricolor, and bicolor) and colors, coming in a mix of two primary colors: black and red (which looks like orange) – any white that appears is caused by a masking gene.
their coat color and pattern do not indicate a breed, as they can be found in most breeds of cats.
tabby and redhead cats
The tabby is the most common type of coat you’ll see in Singapore, coming in stripes, spots, marbled, or spotted in colors like gray and orange.
Some cat colors are related to gender. Ginger or orange cats are nicknamed “ginger toms” because they are most likely male (about 80% of the time) due to genetics. plus, all the ginger cats sport tabby-patterned coats.
colorpoint coat refers to the pale body and relatively darker extremities (ie, face, ears, feet, tail) as seen in a Siamese cat.
The tortoiseshell coat has a dirty look mottled with black and orange. Nearly all tortoiseshell cats, nicknamed “tortis,” are female, because only the female carries the gene for the orange and black coat color combination.
Tri-color cats (also known as calicos) sport three colors (white, orange, and black) and are also almost always female due to the presence of the colors orange and black. although there are rare cases of male calicos or tortoise shells, they are mostly sterile.
coat color and personality
Some people say they can detect differences in behavior based on color, and some studies support the idea.
a study conducted by the university of california, berkeley found that orange and bicolor cats were friendlier than tricolor and tortoiseshell cats. another study in the journal of animal welfare applied sciences found that people often believed turtle shells had too much attitude.
so next time you see stray cats in your neighborhood, get to know our feline friends a little better!