Many cat-lovers have heard of scornful-looking Grumpy Cat. Grumpy Cat (officially known as Tardar Sauce) became an internet sensation when a picture of her trademark scowl became a viral meme, but it didn’t stop there. Official art and merchandise, advertising deals, and even a bestselling book all helped turn a cat with a funny appearance into a feline celebrity. Even years after her death in 2019, her picture is still instantly recognizable.
If you’re a Grumpy Cat fan, you might wonder what breed of cat she is. But the truth is, she was just an ordinary Domestic Shorthair, the feline equivalent of a mixed breed. Although there isn’t one cat breed that has all her unique features, her unique set of genes has parallels in a few different breeds of cats.
Dwarfism in Cats
One of the most distinctive things about Grumpy Cat was her oddly proportioned body. At first glance, you might think she’s just a little short and chubby, but this unusual look is due to feline dwarfism. Cats with dwarfism generally have small, stocky bodies with shortened legs. This makes them look a little roly-poly, but most cats with dwarfism can get around. In fact, dwarfism has been selectively bred in a breed called the Munchkin.
Despite this, there are some health problems that make some breeders wonder if breeding dwarf cats on purpose is ethical. For one thing, their short legs make it hard for them to exercise. This can lead to all sorts of complications, from obesity to osteoarthritis. They also are at higher risk of curved spine injuries. Luckily for Grumpy Cat, she still managed to get around fine!
The Persian Gene?
In interviews, Grumpy Cat’s owners sometimes suggested that she might be part Persian or Ragdoll. That’s not a bad bet—in fact, Persian cats are one of the oldest and most common breeds. Many other breeds, like Ragdolls and Exotic Shorthairs, also have Persian ancestry. These cats share something important with Grumpy Cat—a short, flat nose. The shortened nose can vary from slight to severe, with the most extreme Persians looking more like a pug than anything else. Grumpy Cat’s nose wasn’t that short, but it was a lot shorter than average.
She also had a distinct underbite that may be related to her shortened nose or to her dwarfism. Those two features worked together to give Grumpy Cat her trademark sour expression.
Grumpy Cat’s Coat
The last thing that made Grumpy Cat distinctive is her brown-and-white coat. One of the most recognizable cat coat patterns is a colorpoint coat. Colorpoint cats have light-colored bodies and darker-colored shading on their paws, nose, ears, and tail. Most of the time, this shading is the main source of coloring, but not always. Some cats also have white spots that cover up the darker shading, leading to beautiful patterns. Grumpy Cat had white spots over her face and paws. These spots match the coloring of a Snowshoe cat—a breed developed from the Siamese.
As you can see, there’s not one breed that matches Grumpy Cat perfectly, but if you wanted to develop a line of lookalikes, you wouldn’t have to start from scratch. Breeds like Munchkins, Persians, and Snowshoes all share features in common with our favorite internet friend. But even if you managed to get all those traits into another cat, it’s hard to imagine that she’d capture the internet’s heart the same way.