9 Flat-Faced Cat Breeds

Whether you find flat-faced cat breeds cute or weird-looking, one thing is for certain: these felines will catch your attention. If you have been considering getting a pet cat, here are nine breeds that you might want to add to your shortlist of potential cats to get.

Flat-faced cat breeds

1. Persian

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The Persian cat’s regal and dignified bearing is only matched by its gentle and sweet disposition, making it one of the most popular cat breeds.

The Persian is one of the oldest breeds, believed to have originated from Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia eventually became known as Persia, which in turn, is now called Iran.

The Persian is a medium-sized cat with a characteristically round face adorned by round eyes and chubby cheeks. Its body is stocky and its neck is thick. The legs are short but sturdy. The cat’s tail is proportionate to its body. The cat has luxurious fur which covers the whole body as well as the ears, legs, and toes. 

The breed is broadly categorized into two types: the Peke-face and the Doll-face. Peke-face Persians are renowned for their flat faces while the Doll-face Persians do not have extremely flat faces.

The breed’s fur comes in a variety of colors and patterns. But in general, there are seven main color divisions plus different shades and variations.

In terms of personality and temperament, the Persian is a sweet and loyal breed. It does not instantly warm up to strangers, preferring to shower attention to close family members. 

The breed dislikes chaos and loud environments. Instead, it prefers quiet homes that can provide its simple needs. 

When you are at work, the Persian is content to lounge around his favorite spot. You do not need to worry about him climbing up your furniture and causing trouble. 

When you are at home, your Persian will readily sit beside you or on your lap, serenading you with his musical voice.

But be forewarned: Persians need to be groomed regularly. Without regular brushing and combing, their fur can get tangled and matted. Plus, you should clean their faces regularly because their eyes discharge regularly.

2. Bombay

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The Bombay is a cat owner’s dream, scoring top marks in pet and kid-friendliness, health, grooming, and intelligence.

Although the breed’s name hints that it originated from India, the Bombay is actually developed in Kentucky, United States during the late 1950s. Nikki Horner is credited for developing the breed. 

Horner wanted to develop a black cat breed that is both friendly and muscular, like a miniature panther. To achieve that goal, she crossed the Burmese with other shorthair breeds with black coats. In 1978, the Cat Fanciers Association recognized the breed, and later on, other associations followed suit.

The Bombay is an adaptable breed, capable of matching the conditions of its living environment and his family. He can do perfectly well as a solo pet in an apartment but he can also thrive in a huge household with other cats and dogs.

The cat is intelligent, capable of learning how to walk on a leash, or even play fetch with his humans.

Grooming the Bombay is not that complicated. Because of its short coat, all you have to do is to brush or even just rub your hand all over the cat’s body to remove dead hair and distribute the feline’s natural oils all over its body.

You do, however, need to pay special attention to taking care of this cat’s teeth. The breed is susceptible to periodontal disease. This is why you should make sure to brush the teeth at least once a week.

Like other flat-faced cats, Bombays also tend to have eye discharge. A quick wipe with a moist cloth does a good job to remove discharge.

3. Munchkin

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Named after the small people from the movie Wizard of Oz, the Munchkin is one interesting, if not controversial cat breed.

Developed in the United States, the breed’s characteristic appearance comes from a mutation that has been found as early as the 1930s in England and other countries. However, the mutation was seen as a defect, and hence, breeders did not use mutated cats for their breeding programs. 

But in the Munchkin, breeders embraced that mutation as an appealing quality. The mutation was initially discovered in the United States in 1983. But because of the controversy surrounding the breed, the Munchkin is not recognized by some cat associations.

Some people say that the Munchkin is the feline equivalent of the dachshund with its small size, long body, and short legs. Other people even say that Munchkins are like ferrets in their appearance and movements.

The Munchkin is an energetic, playful, and intelligent breed. It can be taught to follow commands and even play fetch with its humans. In terms of personality, the cat is often described as being sweet and sociable. And do not let its short legs fool you, the cat can run fast despite its looks.

Due to its long body and short legs, the Munchkin is vulnerable to spinal and skeletal problems.

4. Selkirk Rex

Selkirk Rex
Image: istockphoto.com / Thomas Leirikh

Nicknamed the Sheep Cat, the Selkirk Rex is a cat with a medium to large build renowned for its curly coat.

The Selkirk Rex is a relatively new breed, originally developed in 1987. The breed is named after the original breeder’s stepfather.

The characteristic curl of the breed comes from a natural mutation that results from crossing white cats with blue tortoise cats. Like in the Devon and Cornish Rex breeds, the gene responsible for the curly hair of the Selkirk is dominant and not recessive.

The Selkirk is classified into short and long-haired variants. In short-haired Selkirks, the curls are shorter and tighter, while in long-haired Selkirks, the curls are longer. Take note that not all Selkirks have ringlets at birth.

The cat is a welcome addition to families with young children and even dogs. The Selkirk is a friendly cat that has the vigor and temperament to match young kids and dogs.

Although the cat can settle nicely in the role of a lap cat, it thrives best when allowed to exercise his body and intelligence. Although Selkirks rarely cause troubles when left to his own devices, he does get bored quite easily.

Although it may sound counterintuitive, you do not have to brush a Selkirk’s coat daily. A weekly combing is more than enough to keep the cat’s coat luxurious. Do not brush the coat.

When bathing the Selkirk, avoid using thick shampoos and be sure to rinse the cat thoroughly to prevent frizzies.

5. Himalayan

Image: istockphoto.com / Thomas Leirikh

What if you can combine the body and facial features of the Persian cat with the Siamese cat’s distinctive points? You will get the Himalayan.

The Himalayan was originally bred to achieve this goal. This initiative was started by three breeders, Clyde Keeler, Marguerita Gorforth, and Virginia Cobb during the 1930s. By the 1960s, the Himalayan was recognized as a breed.

The Himalayan is a medium-sized cat with a stocky build. Due to its thick fur, the cat can appear larger than it actually is. The cat’s stocky body is complemented by a round head, short tail, thick neck and legs, and round eyes.

Generally, the Himalayan is a peaceful cat that prefers sitting closely with his humans. But from time to time, he can run and roll around the room.

Unlike other cats that get stressed out when their living environments change, the Himalayan is quite adaptable and is capable of handling changes in his routine.

Owners of Himalayan Cats need to exercise their pets regularly. Due to their laidback nature, Himalayans are susceptible to weight gain. Left on their own devices, these cats would prefer lounging around. But they can be coaxed to play and exercise if you make it a part of their routine.

It should go without saying that the Himalayan needs regular grooming, especially combing and brushing its fur. Furthermore, you should wipe away eye discharge frequently to prevent deposits on the face and fur.

6. British Shorthair

British Shorthair
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The British Shorthair’s burly body, chubby cheeks, and round head belie the breed’s reserved demeanor.

The breed originates from England. Although the cat may have been around before the Victorian Era, it was only around that period that standards and pedigree-keeping became established protocols. During the early days of cat shows in England, other cats were only described by the color of their coats while the Shorthair was already established as a breed.

Although the Himalayan likes attention and affection, it is not needy. It is content in being around the members of the household. In terms of energy level, the Shorthair starts as a vigorous kitten. But as the cat matures, he becomes mellower although occasionally, he will have bouts of zoomies.

The British Shorthair is quite good with young children and will even tolerate dogs and boisterous toddlers. 

In terms of grooming, the British Shorthair does not require much. A weekly session of combing and brushing is enough to keep shedding at bay. It also rarely needs a bath.

You do, however, need to pay special attention to your cat’s teeth and eye discharge. As much as possible, brush your Shorthair’s teeth daily and remove discharge as soon as you notice it coming from the eyes.

7. Scottish Fold

Scottish Fold
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The story of the Scottish Fold’s origin begins with a cat named Susie who earned her keep as a mouser on a farm in Scotland. Susie had folded ears, making her look like an owl.

In 1961, Susie gave birth and two of her kittens had the same folded ears as hers. William Ross who lived nearby took one of those kittens. With the assistance of Pat Turner, a geneticist, began a breeding program using the kitten that he acquired. 

Within three years, Ross and Turner were able to produce 76 kittens. Of this number, 42 had folded ears.

Today, Scottish Folds are among the most-sought after cats, in part due to their unique appearance, and in another part, due to their personalities.

The breed is intelligent and enjoys interacting and playing with people. It is never a good idea to leave a Scottish Fold alone. The cat simply craves human attention.

As a highly social cat breed, the Scottish Fold enjoys the presence of children and even some dogs.

Grooming the Scottish Fold is relatively easy. Cats with short hair can do with weekly coat combing and brushing while those with longer fur need to be groomed at least twice weekly.

You need to pay attention to this cat’s ears, especially if the folds are tight. You can use either cotton balls or cloth moistened with a solution made out of warm water and cider vinegar.

Be aware that the breed is susceptible to degenerative joint disease and heart disease.

8. Burmilla

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The Burmilla is another relatively new cat breed, originating in 1981 in the United Kingdom. Its name is a combination of the breeds used in creating the Burmilla: the Burmese and the Chinchilla Persian.

The breed is a result of the accidental breeding between a Burmese and Persian. This pairing resulted in kittens that have black-tipped coats. 

The Burmilla has a medium-sized but muscular body covered in its characteristic silver fur. The head is rounded and has distinctive markings around the eyes, lips, and nose.

In terms of coat length, the Burmilla has two types: shorthair and semi-longhair. Shorthaired Burmillas have coats that look like those of the Burmese while semi-longhair ones inherit their coat length from the Persian cat.

Although the Burmilla is an affectionate and peaceful cat that does not much care. The cat enjoys being showered by his fur parent with attention and requires regular playtime.

Be warned, the cat likes to jump and climb. And as such, you should cat-proof your home and you might want to invest in perches and cat trees.

You should also watch the cat’s diet because it tends to put on weight especially if it leads a laidback lifestyle.

9. Exotic Shorthair

Exotic Shorthair
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The Exotic Shorthair cat was originally conceived with the idea of creating a new breed that looks like the Persian Cat but with shorter hair. 

During the 1950s, Persian Cat breeders wanted to create a shorthaired version of the breed. To achieve this goal, they crossed the Persian with shorthaired breeds like the British Shorthair. 

Eventually, the Exotic Shorthair became recognized as a separate breed in 1967.

Except for the short fur, the Exotic Shorthair is essentially a Persian. The breed has retained the Persian’s easy-going personality and affection for humans.

But the Exotic Shorthair is not just another version of the Persian. The breed is energetic and loves being surrounded by people and even other four-legged members of the household. 

In fact, the cat loves people so much that he is prone to bouts of separation anxiety. If you are planning on adopting an Exotic Shorthair, you should be aware of this fact. Simply put, you cannot leave this cat by his lonesome for extended periods.

Although the Exotic makes a good lap cat due to his calm demeanor, it does enjoy playing and is a capable mouser.

Unlike the Persian, the Exotic does not require much attention when it comes to grooming. The cat is a capable self-groomer although you will still need to brush and comb its coat at least once a week. 

Furthermore, you need to clean the cat’s eyes and face regularly to remove eye discharge.

What is brachycephaly?

Flat-faced cats are also called brachycephalic cats. Brachycephaly is a condition where the cat’s skull bones are shorter compared to other breeds. Due to the shortening of the skulls, the cat’s face and nose have a pushed-in look.

Apart from giving certain breeds their distinct appearance, brachycephaly is also the cause of the condition known as brachycephalic airway syndrome. The syndrome causes abnormalities in a cat’s airways and often leads to a host of medical problems. These problems include difficulty in breathing, dental and eye problems, digestive issues, sleep disorders, and problems related to regulating body temperature.

Usually, cats affected by brachycephalic airway syndrome do not need medical treatment unless they are visibly in distress.

Whether you are planning on adopting a flat-faced cat or if you already own one, you should be aware of these potential health risks and do everything that you possibly can do to make your pet live comfortably.

Caring for your flat-faced cat

Due to your pet’s facial anatomy, he may face a few challenges and daily struggles. To keep him happy and healthy, there are a few things that you can do to make him more comfortable.

Check his teeth

Flat-faced cats have smaller mouths compared to other breeds. This means that your pet’s teeth can be overcrowded due to limited available space. This can sometimes lead to dental problems like overlapping and rotating teeth.

Some flat-faced cats may also have underbites. While this is not necessarily a problem, you should schedule a visit to the vet if you see his fangs are exposed.

Clean eye discharge regularly

Another drawback of your cat’s shortened skull is that its shape pushes the eyes further out compared to other feline breeds.

In turn, this leaves the eyes more vulnerable to the intrusion of dust, debris, and even your cat’s fur. This causes the cat’s fur to discharge more frequently.

As such, you should make it a habit to clean the discharge as often as you possibly can. For this task, all you have to do is to wipe your feline’s face with a clean cloth that has been moistened with warm water.

Monitor his food intake

Your cat’s unique facial anatomy can make eating more difficult for him. 

Due to his flat face, your cat may have a difficult time picking up pieces of food from his food bowl. 

Furthermore, you should be aware that flat-faced cats tend to be messy eaters. Clean his face and eating area once he is done with his meal.

Provide your cat with a shallow drinking bowl

Because of your cat’s flat face, he may have a difficult time drinking water from a regular bowl.

Instead of using a deep bowl, swap that out for a bowl that is shallower and narrower. This will make it easier for your pet to get his fill of water and prevent getting his face and fur soaked with water.

Visit the vet regularly

Due to your cat’s predisposition to certain conditions, you must visit your vet regularly. This will help prevent minor issues from swirling out of control.

If you notice anything out of the ordinary, book an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian as soon as you possibly can.

Adding a flat-faced cat to your household

It is fairly easy to see why flat-faced cats have become popular in recent years. Their unique appearance makes them endearing. But before you go out and adopt one, be aware of the associated health risks and be responsible and ready to provide for your new pet’s unique needs.