Hoaxes & Rumors

Is This a Photo of the World’s Smallest Cat?

Is This a Photo of the World’s Smallest Cat?
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A photo allegedly shows the world’s smallest cat. Today we’ll look at this image, the story circulating with it, and the actual world’s smallest cat.

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The Image is a Digital Creation.

A story being associated with the image reads:

Smallest Cat Mr Peebles may look like a kitten, but he is actually 2-year-old. The tiny cat got its size from a genetic defect that stunts growth. At just 6.1-inch (15.5 cm) high and 19.2-inch (49 cm) long, he currently holds certification from The Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s smallest cat.

The Image

An artist known as TBA on the website Worth1000.com won the “Sickening Cute” contest about 10 years ago with this entry, showing a tiny kitten in the palm of a hand. The entry was titled, “World’s Smallest Kitten.” In the comments for the entry, the artist discussed some technical issues in creating the image, “I was dealing with a really grainy source photo and I just added the noise to the kitten to make it blend. (removing the noise looked worse to me) The compression just compounds the problem.”

We could find this photo on web pages as far back as 2006 such as this one in which the blogger claimed that the photo was real.

The Real Mr. Peebles

The real Mr. Peebles.

Although the image above is not a photograph of the world’s smallest cat, the caption is correct when describing a real cat known as Mr. Peebles. The real Mr. Peebles was reported in 2004 to be the “Smallest Living Domestic Cat” weighing in at 3.1 pounds, 6.1 inches tall, and 19.2 inches from nose to the tip of his tail. You can read a 2004 news story about Mr. Peebles here.

If you compare the two images, you can see that the real Mr. Peebles looks nothing like the cat in the Worth1000 contest.

Read more about Mr. Peebles here.

World’s Smallest Cats

In 2014 a new contender for the world’s smallest cat entered the public stage. Read our full story about Pixel, a 5-inch tall cat in California. Although Pixel was announced as a contender to be the world’s smallest living cat in mid-2014, it has not been confirmed by Guinness as of July 2015.

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According to the Guinness World Records, as of December 2014, the smallest cat ever was a 2.75 inch tall, 7.5 inch long Himalayan-Persian named Tinker Toy. Sadly, the cat died in 1997 at the age of six. Guinness has not posted a picture of this feline, and to fill this void, the fake Worth1000 image above is often used and attributed to that cat.

Guinness currently lists Lilieput, a 9-year old munchkin cat as the World’s Shortest Living Domestic Cat, measuring 5.25 inches from floor to shoulder.

Bottom Line

This is just another example of a real story being attached to a fake photo. And we think the real Mr. Peebles is certainly cute enough to feature alongside the story about him. In 2014, the title of World’s Smallest Cat was challenged by a 5-inch cat named Pixel in California, but it remains unconfirmed. The smallest cat ever was a feline named Tinker Toy who measured 2.75 inches tall when fully grown, and the shortest living cat is a 9-year old named Lilieput.

Updated January 14, 2016
Originally published February 2013

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