Cat Dog

"Teacup" Dogs and Cats

Carrying dogs and cats around in cute little handbags has become more popular and “fashionable” in recent years. At the same time, our electronics and cellular phones have been getting smaller and smaller. The joining of these two fads was inevitable. It has created several new “breeds” of dogs and cats that can confuse and trick a potential owner and is costing money and lives in search of an increasingly stylish new pet.

If you are looking for breeders or where to buy a Teacup Poodle or Kangaroo Cat or Squitten or Teacup Yorkie, let me start by saying that these breeds do not exist! Dogs and cats under these names and several others are typically sold for well over $1,000 as extremely rare cross-breeds or specially bred versions of their normal namesakes. Teacup dogs (most commonly Yorkshire terriers, Chihuahuas, and Poodles, along with a few other less common varieties) are generally under four pounds while their “normal” relatives are usually at least twice that, depending on breed. Miniature versions of Singapura, Munchkin, Keuda, and Siamese cats are all bred from their normal size relatives while Kangaroo cats and Squittens are genetically mutated cats with short front legs.

All of these animals are sold as miniaturized versions of the parent variety or in the case of kangaroo cats and squittens, crosses between a cat and a completely unrelated animal like a squirrel. In reality, they are genetic, environmental, or hormonal mutations possibly relating to mutations similar to different types of dwarfism in humans. This stunted growth may come from malnutrition or damaged pituitary or thyroid glands, a chronic illness affecting growth, or a developmental mutation. These animals are usually the runts of the litter and are out-competed for food, stunting their growth. Some breeders may selectively breed for smaller offspring from smaller parents. Genetically, however, dwarf parents may give birth to a normal sized puppy or kitten which can be killed or kill the mother during birthing if the baby is too large to fit through the birth canal.

Regardless if it is an accidental or planned dwarf offspring, its small size makes it very vulnerable to health risks. Body temperature and blood sugar levels in these small animals can change easily and cause diabetic shock, hypothermia, or any other related condition. These smaller pets can be extremely sensitive to anesthesia and require extensive and expensive testing before even mild dental procedures. Their small size makes them easy to be accidentally stepped on, sat on, or attacked by another animal who might mistake them for prey. The high demand and prices for teacup pets can also tempt disreputable breeders to attempt to mass produce miniaturized animals in puppy/kitten-mill-like conditions or dwarf healthy animals by keeping them in small spaces or altering their diet to stunt their growth. The tiny puppies and kittens are also sold as rare breeds or are advertised as always remaining puppies or kitten-like. Regardless of size, an adult will typically behave as a adult.

Some breeders may control conditions carefully, manage pedigrees, and control the number and frequency of breedings but overall, teacup and miniaturized animals are the result of poor breeding practices to capitalize on the market before them. The deformed animals are extremely expensive and come with an additional cost in precautions, special food, and costly veterinary care. Before considering these animals, ask yourself carefully why you want one. If it is because they are cute or trendy or small, you may want to reconsider your motives and choose a different investment. Teacup animals are not family pets or fashion accessories – they are physically and genetically distorted animals with even more needs than their full-sized relatives.