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6 Flat-Faced Cat Breeds (With Pictures)

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on May 10, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Three little Exotic Shorthair Kittens_Studio95_shutterstock

6 Flat-Faced Cat Breeds (With Pictures)

Flat-faced or brachycephalic cat breeds are, as their name indicates, characterized by flat faces and short snouts, similar to Bulldog and Pug dog breeds. Unfortunately, these traits often include abnormalities such as narrowed nostrils, an elongated soft palate, a narrowing of the windpipe, and an obstructed airway. Many of these cats are not able to breathe properly. While some of them may show no signs of brachycephalic airway syndrome, others may exhibit noisy breathing, snoring, panting, easily getting tired, coughing, or worse.

Responsible breeding and focusing on reducing these extreme traits, while educating the public on the health and welfare implications hidden beneath the specific appearance of flat-faced cat (and dog) breeds, are just some of the ways to improve the lives and health of these animals. Instead of just seeing them as “cute”, it’s important to understand that facial abnormalities are responsible for these looks, which often have a negative impact on the animal’s health and welfare.

Caring for a brachycephalic cat requires a lot of knowledge, dedication and ongoing veterinary guidance, in order to provide your kitty with the best possible quality of life.

Let’s have a look at these 6 flat-faced breeds!

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The 6 Flat Face Cats

1. British Shorthair (and Longhair) Cats

A British Shorthair cat looking up
Image Credit: MelaniMarfeld, Pixabay

The British Shorthair is a stocky, muscular, pedigreed version of a traditional British domestic cat with a distinctively dense and thick “wooly” coat. They have a naturally friendly and good-natured appearance and calm temperament, making them one of the most popular breeds in their home country. They are an easy-going and fairly docile breed that is usually good with children and other pets, making them a family favorite. These cats are also easy to groom and adaptable to apartment and indoor living, so long as they are close to their human family.

2. Burmese Cat

young Burmese cat lies on a brown background
Image Credit: Ivanova N, Shutterstock

Originating in Burma but developed in the United States and Britain, the Burmese is a compact yet stocky and muscular cat with a distinctively short and glossy coat. These cats are known for their playfulness and sociability, often maintaining their kitten-like temperament and character well into adulthood. They have a “dog-like” attachment to their owners and can easily be taught to fetch and obey simple commands.

3. Exotic Shorthair Cat

Image Credit: Wutlufaipy, Shutterstock

Developed as a short-haired version of the Fluffy Persian, the Exotic Shorthair is similar in almost every other way, including temperament, coloring, and the characteristically flat face. They have shorter, denser coats and are generally livelier and more playful than their Persian cousins. They are total lap cats that adore cuddling with their owners and are indeed one of the most affectionate breeds out there. Their calm, gentle, and loving nature makes them an ideal choice of family pet. They have a calm, gentle, and loving nature.

4. Himalayan Cat

Image Credit: No-longer-here, Pixabay

Created from crossing a Persian and Siamese, the Himalayan resembles a Persian in many ways but with a slender, athletic Siamese-type body hiding underneath their thick fur. They commonly have the striking blue eyes of a Siamese too, with a patient, easy-going, and calm temperament. These cats are devoted to their families and crave attention and affection. They are social animals that are generally fine with other pets but are known to be moody at times.

5. Persian Cat

blue shaded silver persian cat
Image Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock

The Persian is the breed that mostly comes to mind when one thinks of flat-faced cat breeds, and for good reason: They are one of the most popular domestic cat breeds in the U.S. These cats are the quintessential lap cat, with tons of affection to give and an easy-going, docile nature. They are quiet cats that are highly adaptable to indoor life and are regarded for their placid and calm temperament. While they are generally easy to care for, their thick coats will require daily brushing to keep them from matting.

6. Scottish Fold Cat

chocolated marble shorthair adult cat Scottish fold
Image Credit: OksanaSusoeva, Shutterstock

Most recognizable by their folded forward ears that are caused by a debilitating genetic mutation, the Scottish Fold is a medium-sized breed that can come in almost any coat color or combination. They are typically good-natured, flat-face cats that get on well with other cats, pets, and children.

There is a lot of controversy when it comes to this breed, due to the condition they develop called osteochondrodysplasia. This is the same genetic mutation that leads to their kinked ears, causing painful deformities of the joints. Some cats will be more severely affected as the condition progresses into arthritis and causes reduced mobility, joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. Intentional breeding of such cats with painful joint deformities that will impact the quality of their life is deemed unethical by many animal welfare organizations, while neither the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIF) nor the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) in the United Kingdom acknowledges Scottish Folds, in hope to reduce public demand for breeding these animals.

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Brachycephalic cat breeds unfortunately suffer from a large variety of health issues, from breathing, dental problems, eye issues, and more, and educating the public about the serious health implications that come with their popular facial characteristics is important in improving the welfare of these animals. Underneath a “cute” expression lies a very short snout, with narrow nostrils and a long soft palate, making it harder for these cats to breathe properly, alongside bulgy eyes and usually misaligned teeth. Responsible breeding has to prioritize animal welfare before looks and minimize these traits in order to reduce and stop further suffering of brachycephalic animals.

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Featured Image Credit: Studio95, Shutterstock

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