The Singapura Cat takes its name from the Malay name for the island of Singapore, which means Lion City. It is known locally as the "Drain Cat of Singapore" because it is reputed to take shelter in the city drains during the dry season.

The first Singapura cats to appear in America were imported in the mid 1970s, having been found and adopted in the Loyang area by a geophysical work boat crew. The look of the cat as determined by these early imports remains unaltered today. The breed is one of the smallest of all the pedigree breeds. It is a muscular cat with a very short, fine, satiny coat that lies close to the body. The base color of the breed is ivory, each individual hair being ticked with two or more bands of dark brown.

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. In 1993 the Singapura cat became the official symbol of Singapore, and two pedigree specimens were returned there to act as models for statues of Kucinta that will be positioned on the Singapore River, where the breed supposedly began its existence. The breed has even been named a National Treasure by the Singapore Government.

Some describe Singapuras as outgoing, but this is denied by others who say they are shy, demure and reserved. They have also been called "aggressively affectionate."

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