7 Flat-Faced Cat Breeds to Love

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Flat-faced cat breeds are some of the most sought after, not just because of their unique looks, but because many of the top breeds, like Himalayan and Persian cats, fall into this category.

This unique characteristic is genetically inherited – caused by a trait that is intentionally bred in that involves a cat’s skull shape, giving them a shortened and broad skull that is found in only a few cat breeds, similar to dogs, like the pug and bulldog.

» You might like 7 Most Asked Questions About Cats and the 9 Most Expensive Cat Breeds in the World.

A flat faced cat laying in a cat hammock, Flat-Faced Cat Breeds

The scientific term for a flat face is called brachycephalic. It means “shortened head” actually because the whole facial structure is smooshed or pushed in.

Flat-faced cats are known as brachycephalic cats, due to the smooshed face, a genetic trait that has been a focus in the cat-breeding industry for quite some time. Because cat owners love their short, upturned muzzle and big eyes, it’s become typical. However, flat-faced cat breeds can experience a number of health consequences due to this genetic trait.

Note of Caution

While these flat-faced cats are highly sought after, their shortened head can make it difficult to breathe and leads to a number of health issues. They are very cute, but you should be aware of the potential for these cats to suffer from more illnesses and respiratory problems.

Flat-Faced Cat Breeds

1. Scottish Fold 

Fat Faced Cat Breeds

Often likened to owls thanks to their round faces and tucked-in ears, the Scottish Fold is a popular cat breed for its adorable facial characteristics. While their faces aren’t as flat as some of the other cats on this list, their faces also don’t follow the exact mold of a normal cat.

Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift might’ve also had something to do with the rise in popularity of Scottish Folds, thanks to frequently posting her adorable cats of the same breed on social media. 

Scottish Folds have characteristically round faces, which is only emphasized by their small, tucked ears, short nose, and big, round eyes. These cats are actually born with straight ears, which then flop once they reach 3-4 weeks old. Despite this gene, they can still hear perfectly well!

Scottish Fold cats are a friendly and intelligent breed that makes for an ideal addition to a household, especially when paired with another furry friend. If you love this breed you should check out the Scottish Fold Munchkin.

2. Persian 

Fat Faced Cat Breeds

Persian cats are known for their docile and dignified nature.

However, they are most commonly known for their flat faces, which is exemplified by their squished noses and wide eyes. They look something like a cat version of a Pug,

The upkeep of a Persian cat is fairly high maintenance due to their long fur and squished facial features. Owners will have to regularly brush their long hair to prevent matting, and will also need to wipe their faces daily to remove tear stains from their leaky eyes. 

These cats come in a variety of coat colors, which are complemented by the long silky fur of this breed. Persians are popular family pets due to their quiet, and lazy yet affectionate nature which is ideal for families with kids.

3. Himalayan 

Fat Faced Cat Breeds

Known affectionately as a Himmy, the Himalayan cat breed is actually a cross of the Persian and Siamese cat, which explains their facial features – they possess a round, flat face with typically bright blue (or green) eyes. 

These cats are surprisingly chunky despite being only classed as a medium-sized breed. Their thick legs and thick necks are only exaggerated by their excessive fur, which needs to be groomed often to prevent tangling and matting.

Like their Persian ancestors, Himalayans also need their eyes to be wiped often due to the teary nature of their watery eyes. Their eyes are worth it however, Siamese and Siamese mixes are famous for their rare blue eyes.

4. Exotic Shorthair 

Fat Faced Cat Breeds

A cross between the Persian and the American Shorthair, the Exotic Shorthair is a classic flat-faced cat breed. These were specifically bred to be a look alike for the Persian cats, but to also be short-haired and therefore easier to take care of.

These cats are short and stocky, with a round head that is rather large in proportion to their bodies. Their round eyes and downturned mouths make them look permanently grumpy. This trait is offset by their calm and friendly demeanor.

The best thing about Exotic Shorthairs is that, while they derive from Persians, they are incredibly low-maintenance in comparison. As the name suggests, these cats have short hair that doesn’t need to be groomed. However, they will still need their eyes wiped to prevent infection. 

5. British Shorthair 

Fat Faced Cat Breeds

The British Shorthair is a stocky cat known for their chunky faces and heads. These cats are a pedigree version of regular British domestic cats, most well-known for their namesake short hair that is very easy to maintain. This breed is actually the most popular pedigree cat breed in the UK!

British Shorthairs are known for their flat and round faces, which is exemplified by their large, round eyes and short muzzles. They also have prominent jowls and widely set ears, making their heads appear even larger.

Although they are shorthaired, their hair thickness or thinness of coat changes with the season. It’s best to brush these cats daily because of this. British Shorthaired cats are often mistaken for Scottish Folds, but Scottish Folds have folded ears rather than pointed ones. 

6. Selkirk Rex

Selkirk Rex kitten

The Selkirk Rex has one of the most interesting stories out of new cat breeds. It’s cousins the Cornish and Devon Rexes are famous for their curly coats and less shedding. Both of these breeds are hard to cross with other breeds because the genes that give them their famous curly locks are recessive.

The Selkirk Rex has a dominant curly haired gene, meaning it can be easily bred with other cat breeds. This breed was created from a Rex and a Persian being crossed. It has a distinctive look from each side: the Rex’s curly hair and the Persian’s flat face.

These cats need a lot of brushing but are friendly and good companion cats. Being a relatively new breed, the Selkirk Rex can be hard to get your hands on if you’re considering getting one.

7. Burmese

While their features aren’t as distinct as the Persian or Himalayan cats, the Burmese breed definitely deserves a spot on this list. Their face is flatter than your average cat, with a delicate short nose and a friendly look to them.

These cats have their origins in the east, being traced back to the Thai-Burma border. Those cats were brought to Britain and America and further developed into the breed we know today. The original cats were bred with American Siamese cats for their distinctive round and short features.

Burmese cats are more low maintenance than the rest of the cats on this list. They have short hair, and require less brushing than long haired cats. Their faces are also less squished than the rest of the cats, meaning the health issues usually associated with flat-faced cats aren’t as prominent in this breed.

Flat-Faced Cat Problems 

While they certainly look adorable, flat-faced cats come with a list of potential health issues as a result of their face shape. It’s not so much about the size of their faces or heads – instead, the problems arise from the shortened muzzles and large, weepy eyes. 

As with flat-faced dogs, cats with short muzzles are prone to developing breathing issues from a young age. This is because their noses are flattened to their faces, meaning they can’t breathe properly. 

Likewise, while the large eyes look beautiful and make their faces appear even rounder, these eyes have a tendency to leak. Without properly wiping their eyes daily, these cats can be prone to eye infections. 


So, there you have it! The six fat-faced cat breeds in this list are undoubtedly adorable and offer the perfect temperament to introduce them into any home.  

The key to taking care of fat-faced cats, as with any cat breed, is to make sure you do your research about the specific breed.

Some breeds are prone to specific health conditions more than others and will have their own maintenance requirements to prevent this.

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