An American Curl cat in profile.

Let’s Talk About Cats With Ear Tufts

There are tons of cute cat parts that humans love to fawn over — nose freckles, toe beans, toe floofs … and those majestic cat ear tufts. So, what cats have ear tufts and are cat ear tufts strictly ornamental? Let’s meet some cats with ear tufts right here.

Erika Sorocco  |  Jul 20th 2018

Obsessing over those truly terrific ear tufts seen on some of your favorite cat breeds? You’re not alone! Today we’re talking about marvelous ear candy (and the breeds who sport the best bits) — and giving you the lowdown on what those cat ear tufts actually do. Ready to focus on fabulously furry ear furnishings? Let’s talk about cats with ear tufts right here.

1. Highlander

Photography via Flickr user Atomic User. Some modifications have been made to this photo to fit the specifications of this site.

Highlander cats have beautiful, tufted earls that curl at the top. Photography via Flickr user Atomic Monster under Creative Commons license. Some modifications have been made to this photo to fit the specifications of this site.

A cross between the Jungle Curl and Desert Lynx, the Highlander is part wild child, part domestic and all solid muscle. No, really. The non-domestic part of his ancestry has made him stout and solid, but what forever stands out as his trademark are those ears (and, subsequently, those ear tufts)! Lacking a pointed tip like most of his feline familia, the Highlander proudly shows off ears that curl at the top, allowing his tufts to take center stage — peeking out horizontally from his ears to create the most unexpected, yet purrfect, aesthetic!

Fun fact: Highlanders are incredibly fond of water — likely a personality trait picked up from their wild ancestors!

2. Maine Coon

A Maine Coon.

Maine Coons are famous among cats with ear tufts. Photography by AlexussK / Shutterstock.

Recognized for their intriguing back stories (some say that Marie Antoinette shipped six Maine Coons to Wiscasset, Maine, while planning her escape from France), and the title as the official state cat of Maine, the Maine Coon is a popular gal with personality to spare and two times the tufts! Yes, you read that right: The Maine Coon is known for her large, tufted paws (dubbed snowshoes), in addition to those glamorous ear tufts that land her on this list. Though an overall fluffball, the Maine Coon’s ear tufts tend to center at the tips of her ears (adding an extra inch or two of height) — with even more fur sticking out from her ears for an added kick of pizzazz!

Fun fact: Maine Coons are often mistaken for bobcats due to their massive size!

3. American Curl

An American Curl cat.

American Curl cats have intriguing ears that curl up and include cool tufts. Photography ©Life on white | Alamy Stock Photo.

Known for her unusual ears, the American Curl is a cat whose ear tufts will capture your heart in seconds. Pure elegance and sophistication, the ears curl back in an arc, providing an alert appearance that is easily recognizable and highly adored. Similar to the Highlander when it comes to tufts, the American Curl’s wispy ear candy kicks things up a notch — sticking out horizontally from the ears, in addition to sprouting from the tops/tips. The effect is akin to that of a firework explosion of fur that is simply irresistible … making her a top contender in the ear tuft wars!

Fun fact: At birth, the American Curl’s ears are straight. The ears begin to curl back in a rosebud formation within four to five days of entering the world.

4. Norwegian Forest Cats

A gray and white Norwegian Forest Cat.

Norwegian Forest Cats have tufted ears and toes. Photography ©GlobalP | Thinkstock.

A magical creature found in much lore (Norwegian myths refer to the skogkatt as a “mountain-dwelling fairy cat with an ability to climb sheer rock faces that other cats could not manage”), the Norwegian Forest Cat is truly a breed that furry dreams are made of! A relative of the Maine Coon (the Coon is a Wedgie descendant!), the Norwegian Forest Cat makes this list of cats with ear tufts for both his ears and his toes (or boots!).

Fun fact: Given his hearty heritage, the Norwegian Forest Cat has sturdier claws than most other breeds, making it possible for him to run down trees and show off those truly stellar climbing skills!

Cats with ear tufts vs. cats with ear furnishings

Think cat ear tufts and cat ear furnishings are one and the same? Think again! Ear tufts refer to the fur that grows from the tips of the ears (often dubbed lynx tipping), whereas ear furnishings focus on the fur that grows from the inside of the ear. So, while a breed like a Persian may have fancy furnishings, she lacks tufts. Moral of the story? Not all cats have ear tufts, and cats with ear tufts are a special lot.

So, what do tufts do? Believe it or not, they’re not just there to up the cute factor. Cat ear tufts actually serve a purpose: They work to keep debris at bay and help to filter sound directly into a kitty’s ears. How’s that for science?

Tell us: Do you love cats with ear tufts? Do you have cats with ear tufts? What breed or breeds is she?

Thumbnail: Photography by Evannovostro / Shutterstock. 

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