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Lilieput, the world's shortest house cat

Napa resident Christel Young's cat, Lilieput, has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's shortest domestic cat at 13.34 centimeters (5.25 inches) from the bottom of the paws to the top of the shoulders. The newest edition of the annual reference book appeared in September.

How can something small stand tall? By being the shortest of its kind on the planet – like Lilieput, a Napa house cat who now has a place in the Guinness World Records book.

Standing but 5.25 inches (13.34 centimeters) from the floor to her shoulders, the 10-year-old black-and-mocha Munchkin, who is owned by Christel Young, is listed as the world’s shortest domestic feline in the Guinness book’s latest edition, published Sept. 9.

Young first contacted editorial staff for the annual reference book of superlatives last year, believing Lilieput to be closer to the ground than Fizz Girl, whom the publication had measured at just under 6 inches (15 cm) in 2011. After a Napa veterinarian measured Lilieput in July 2013, Young shared her pet’s story with the Napa Valley Register, though Guinness publishers did not allow her to officially confirm the record until the book’s publication last month.

Lilieput’s place in a bestselling book alongside the tallest buildings, fastest eaters and all manner of the world’s extremes is a far cry from the stretch of Old Sonoma Road where Young first discovered her as an abandoned castoff eight years ago.

After adopting and naming her new four-pawed housemate, Young, a professional pet-sitter, stuck by her as the cat endured a near-fatal pregnancy, the August earthquake, and even scorn from passers-by she said belittled her ankle-high pet as a “freak” or “weirdo.”

Strangers who once may have thought the half-pint cat a misfit now give her a friendly welcome, Young said – possibly with an assist from videos of Lilieput her owner has posted to YouTube since gaining Guinness World Records’ seal of approval.

“I’m getting more astonishment from people like, ‘Oh, look how cute!’ or ‘She’s adorable!’ I’m getting a lot nicer comments about her,” said the 59-year-old Young, who also shares her Napa home with two other cats. Quite a few know of the record now. “I get more comments on Facebook every day, people saying ‘Oh my God, is that your cat?’”

Recognition of her pet’s uniqueness has come not a moment too soon for Young, a 35-year Napa resident, who worried about being able to confirm Lilieput’s record-breaking smallness in the animal’s lifetime.

“She’s 10 years old now, and that’s actually near the maximum age for a Munchkin. She’s started getting pancreatitis. She’s moving a bit slower. … I don’t want her to go through any stress. She’s being a good pet; that’s all she’s really wanted to be and that’s all she is.”

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City of Napa/Town of Yountville Reporter

Howard Yune covers the city of Napa and the town of Yountville. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.

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