Cat have captivated the world — and won over the Internet with their adorable antics. So how could they get any cuter? Look no further than flat face cats. Thanks to their pudgy cheeks and big eyes, they’re smushed faces are absolutely irresistible. Yet, there’s more to a flat face cat than meets the eye. Take a look below to see just how cute these kitties can be! And keep scrolling for more information about the history of the breeds and what to know before you commit to having one join your family.
These flat face breeds are the cat’s meow
Here’s good news: Research has shown that just looking at photos of cute animals may have a host of health benefits, from to boosting your mood to lowering anxiety and sharpening your focus. So keep scrolling — it’s good for you!
Persian cats are one of the most popular pedigreed cat breeds in the world, and they come in two varieties: traditional (or doll face) and show (or flat face). Traditional Persians have a longer nose and face, while show Persians have a flatter nose and face that can look smushed. Regardless of their variety, Persian cats are known for being quiet, lazy and gentle. Because of their long fur, they do require a lot of grooming.
A cross between a Persian and a Siamese kitty, the Himalayan cat shares a similar flat face that the Persian is known for — with a variety of fur shades passed down by Siamese relatives. While their looks are striking and intimidating, Himalayans make for great pets. They’re easygoing, affectionate kitties that are suitable for first-time cat owners.
3. British Shorthair
Famous for inspiring the Cheshire Cat character in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, it’s no shock that the British Shorthair remains one of the most popular cat breeds today. Yes, they’re beautiful, but they’re also playful, devoted companions. While British Shorthairs love their owners, they’re not known for being overly affectionate, so if you’re not a big cuddler, this breed may be perfect for you.
4. Scottish Fold
Aside from an adorable flat face, the Scottish Fold is also known for having unique ears that fold forward and downward. They’re popular not only because of their teddy bear-like appearance but also because they’re affectionate and easy-going. Fun fact: All Scottish Folds can be genetically traced back to Susie and Snooks — the first recorded cats of the breed from 1961.
5. Exotic Shorthair
Nicknamed “the lazy man’s Persian,” Exotic Shorthairs are a dream come true for people who love Persian cats but can’t deal with all the grooming. According to Vet Street, this breed was developed through crosses between Persians and American Shorthairs, plus Burmese and Russian Blues. What a beautiful smushed face mix!
While Burmese cats are definitely in the the flat-face crew, their features aren’t always as exaggerated as some of their kitty cousins, like Persians. But they are still adored for their sweet semi-smushed faces and their large, round golden eyes. It’s no wonder they always look so curious and expressive — even as kittens. They’re highly affectionate but also super intelligent, so they may get into trouble when they’re not given enough mental stimulation.
7. Selkirk Rex
This soft cat breed is just as beloved for its flat face as it is for that plush, tousled coat — a feature that has earned the breed the nickname “the cat in sheep’s clothing.” Despite their fluffy coat, these cats don’t need extensive grooming. Their curls only need weekly brushing to remain healthy. They’re also great family cats, known for their patience, energy and affection.
What gives a cat a flat face?
Having a flat face might not seem like a genetic advantage caused by nature — that’s because it isn’t. Allegedly, smushed face cats originated from a genetic mutation that happened to be adorable, so breeders continued it. Since the 1950s, flat face cats have been selectively bred to be brachycephalic, a term that means “shortened head.” This shortened head gives flat face cats their unique appearance, but may also cause some health issues.
Things to know before adopting a flat face cat
One reason people love cats is that they’re relatively low-maintenance: They don’t need daily walks or constant attention. Flat face cats, however, have special health and grooming needs, and they may require more care than other cat breeds. Before you bring a smushed face feline home, make sure it’s a good fit for your home and lifestyle.
Because of their head shapes, flat face cats are prone to certain health conditions such as breathing difficulties, says co-founder of How-To Pets and veterinarian Dr. Sara Ochoa. “Their flattened faces can lead to narrowed airways, making it harder for them to breathe. Pay close attention to their breathing, and seek veterinary care if you notice any signs of increased difficulty, such as loud snoring or labored breathing.” She notes that smushed face cats are also prone to eye and dental problems as well as obesity.
Flat face cats also have specific grooming needs. Because of their face shape, their tears may build up in their fur instead of draining off. Their hair may also get in their eyes and mouth, so they should be trimmed regularly. “You may need to clean their eyes more frequently to keep tears from building up and causing crusty or infected areas,” says Dr. Ochoa. “Wiping their faces with a damp cloth or pet-safe wipe will help prevent tear stains and skin irritations.”
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