flat faced cat

Short hair munchkin kittens and other flat faced cat options available

Pet owners can't get enough of a flat faced cat. However, what is so appealing about them?

Some would say it’s their shoe button eyes while others are particularly fascinated by their soft pug nose.

However, what makes them so unique among other cats is their flat face that makes them look similar to cuddly stuffed toys.

Flat faced kittens may be as adorable and huggable as plush toys but keep in mind that they are living creatures.

Cuddling them would be a delightful feeling even for the cat, but they’ll let you know when they had enough petting.

However, this shouldn’t be a problem with a flat faced cat because they are naturally sociable and they love the physical affection from their owners.

Some people may find a flat face kitty adorable, but there are also those who dislike it.

Cat lovers may have an extreme inclination towards felines, but they also have their preferences of breeds when it comes to pets.

Moreover, no matter how cute a particular cat is, it just can't please everyone.

If you find cats with flat faces are interestingly fascinating, then read on to learn more about them. Who knows, you may find your ideal companion in a flat face kitty.


Flat faced kittens: What is brachycephaly?

Brachycephaly means "short skull," and this is the scientific term used to describe animals with flat faces.

You've probably read about this term in some articles pertaining bulldogs and pugs.

In most cases, brachycephaly occurs in dogs. However, cats are also susceptible to this trait.

Brachycephalic or a flat faced cat, have distorted skulls that are shorter than those typical cats. This trait is a desirable feature in cats.

Moreover, if you're serious about considering a flat-faced kitty as a pet, then you need to be more committed.

Mainly, this is because flat-faced cats have more health concerns (which we will discuss later) than any regular cats out there.

However, don't worry, these health issues are tolerable with proper care and supervision.

You may be wondering why flat faced cats owners go through the trouble of petting cats like this? Moreover, why do people keep breeding cats with flat faces?

Well, there is only one answer to these questions. It’s because people want something unique, something out of the ordinary as a pet.

A cat with a smooshed face would surely stand out from the crowd of cats with regular faces. A flat faced kitty with a tiny squishy nose and big eyes would undoubtedly catch everyone's attention.

Moreover, pet owners love it when their pets outshine other pets regardless of how different they look from the others.

There are several types of flat faced felines. There are cat breeds that have a shorter skull and a flatter face than other races.

Let us help you choose by presenting to you the different kinds of flat faced cat breeds.

Cats with flat faces

Short hair flat faced cat: Exotic Short hair

short hair flat face cat

This flat faced cat greatly resemble giant teddy bears due to their big eyes and bulbous bellies.

Just imagine a cuddly teddy bear moving around your house, there’s probably nothing cuter than that.

They also closely resemble Persians, but their most remarkable characteristic is their short velvety fur.

The Exotic Shorthair flat faced cat is friendly and loves being held. You will find them mostly curling up on your lap.

Although they like to play, you are most likely to see them lounging around more than seeing them goof around.

Since these cats are natural couch potatoes, it's your responsibility to watch their weight by giving them a healthy diet and luring them to move more and play.

They are independent creatures who can play on their own when you're too busy with other things.

However, don't forget to spend time with them because they tend to become idle when they have no one else to play alongside.

It is essential to keep their weight under control because overweight cats have a higher risk of having diabetes.

Keep an eye on them during the hotter months because they are likely to experience breathing problems especially on warm days.

Another critical thing to remember is that they have kind eyes that are prone to infection. You can minimize this risk by occasionally wiping their eyes.

However, overall, the maintenance of this cat is effortless and typically low. These types are fun playmates who are easily entertained.

Himalayan Cat

cats with flat faces

This breed is a cross between the Siamese and Persian cats.

The Himalayan Cat's distinctive charm was because it inherited the good looks from both of its parent breeds.

What's fascinating about the Himalayan Cats is that they have a playful and mischievous nature that makes them perfect playmates that are fun to be around.

You can never get bored with their company because they like to hang out with humans and play. Plus, they also love to cuddle.

They are also independent as they can entertain themselves even if they are left alone. However, beware, these kittens usually bring out their troublemaker side when they on their own. Also, they can hilariously surprise you with their mischief.

If you want a pet that could always make you laugh and entertain you, you may want to bring home your own Himalayan Cat.

Their playful yet kind nature makes them one of the most popular pets in the world. Aside from that, their stocky body, thick silky fur, sapphire blue eyes and unique markings add more charm to their irresistibly adorable nature.

Although they are very much laid back and very patient, you need to commit more time with this pet because they quickly get bored when they're left on their own, even with their toys and devices.

Just like the Exotic Short hair flat faced cat, maintenance of Himalayan Cat is low. However, it might need to be groomed continuously due to its long and thick fur.

Scottish Fold

cats with flat faces

As the name implies, this breed of flat faced feline originated in Scotland which first appeared in the 60s.

The most distinguishing feature of the Scottish Fold is their curled up ears that give them their unique and appealing looks.

They have stunning large round eyes, and they either have long or short fur.

What makes them so adorable is that they amusingly act innocent and playful like kittens even when they are already in the adult stage. Also, seeing them stay young at heart would melt your heart.

Not only that, but they also love physical affection so don't hesitate to cuddle them to your heart's desire when you have the chance.

They are gentle and kind in nature, so they are the ideal pet especially if you have kids at home.

With this cat at home, not only do your kids have a fun playmate to play with, but they also have a nice sleeping buddy. Namely, this is because these cats love to curl up with humans for a nap.

They have a unique habit of sitting up on their back legs which are typically seen done by prairie dogs. A photo of your Scottish Fold cat sitting is going to make it big on Instagram.

These fantastic and distinct traits are what make Scottish Fold one of the most lovely flat faced cat types ever preferred by most cat lovers.

Although they can quickly get along with your kids, you still need to keep an eye on them especially when they are playing.

Kids tend to quickly get carried away with its ‘plush toy' appearance that they naively treat it more of a toy than a living creature. Always supervise your kids when playing with pets.

Selkirk Rex

what kind of cat has a flat face

Some pet owners do not have enough free time to spend with their cats. These types of people usually get a cat that is more of a couch potato than a playful one.

If you prefer a calmer and quieter flat faced cat that would spend more time snoozing than playing, then this might be the perfect pet for you.

They may be lazy by nature, but they are also affectionate and gentle. So they love curling up with humans when they take a nap.

When it comes to appearance, the Selkirk Rex will stand out. They have lovely curly furs that are soft to the touch. This breed has been developed in 2 fur lengths – long and short.

The head is round with medium-sized ears and a distinct muzzle. Their tantalizing round eyes give them a smiling expression that adds to their natural appeal.

They have large bat-like ears that make their eyes look even more significant. Their pretty small face, although flat, has curly whiskers that make them super cute. If you love curls, then you'll love this cat.

Persian Cat

Flat faced kittens

The Persian is probably the most popular flat faced cat breed ever known today. So what do cat lovers see in a Persian cat that makes them fall in love with it?

We’ve seen them mostly portrayed in the movies as the antagonist’s pet. Yes, that cat wearing a mischievous smile while sitting on the villain’s lap as they plan a scheme to rule over the world.

However, of course, fiction is entirely different from reality. Moreover, what we see in the movies may not be the real depiction of what's going on in real life.

Persian Cats are typically affectionate and sweet towards their humans. They can be laid back and playful as well.

They enjoy the company of humans as much as they enjoy lounging in the sun. Their gentle nature also makes them an ideal choice when you have kids at home.

Aside from their affectionate nature, the beauty of a Persian cat is also something to behold.

Their glorious and silky-smooth fur is probably the most pressing reason why Persian cat is the most beloved cat in the world.

Touching or brushing your pet’s silky coats gives an oddly satisfying and relaxing feeling and some pet owners can attest to that.

If there’s anything, touching a furry pet is a great stress reliever that can ease all your negative vibes away.

However, their magnificent fur also comes at a price. It is important to remember that they will require constant grooming to maintain their gleaming and silky coat.

Constant grooming shouldn't be any trouble at all because Persian cats love it when you gently brush their coats. It somewhat gives them a feeling of relaxation and more importantly, the feeling of being pampered and loved.

Most of the time, they would prefer to sit on their human’s laps to get their furs brushed than to play.

Just like the Exotic Short hair flat faced cat, you also need to keep an eye on them during hot summer months because it is during these times that they usually experience breathing difficulty.

British Short hair

short hair flat face cat

This flat faced feline looks like a giant ball of fluff due to its thick, insulated fur. They exactly look like fluffy teddy bears which makes them so favorite among cat lovers.

Their distinct chunky body, broad face and dense coat became the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland’s famous Cheshire Cat.

They are often confused with the Scottish Fold due to their striking resemblance.

However, the British Shorthair can be distinguished by its pointy triangle ears. Scottish Fold, on the other hand, has softer, folded ears.

The British Shorthair cats are gentle in nature and are typically well-behaved that they can get along with humans and other animals alike.

They are calm, quiet creatures that prefer to cuddle than to play. Although you can still have quiet playtime with them, they are not the energetic troublemakers that can give you hysterical outbursts at specific points.

Due to their laid-back nature, they enjoy a peaceful environment more than a rowdy one.

Moreover, one thing more is gentle in picking them up because they generally like staying close to the ground. You don't want to startle your pet by picking it up abruptly.

Maintenance is typically low for British Short hair cats but makes it a habit of brushing and grooming their fur. Trust me; they would love that.

Burmilla

flat face kitty

This breed of domestic cat is a cross between the Burmese and Chinchilla Persian, hence the name ‘Burmilla’.

Cats belonging to this breed are quite gentle yet mischievous. They are playful and sociable making them ideal playmates for kids and adults alike.

They can quickly get along with other animals too.

Their temperament is closely similar to the Scottish Fold as they also display kitten-like traits even into adulthood.

Due to their playful and mischievous nature, they can become energetic and clumsy at times.

So expect them to be knocking things off counters and breaking some of your fragile belongings.

However, you'll let their clumsiness slide with just one gaze at their enticing large eyes. Their distinctive eyes are what makes them unique from other flat faced kittens.

Most of the flat faced cat types have round button eyes. The Burmilla cat, on the other hand, has slightly slanted eyes that are curved upward with a fuller curved lower line.

They are also known for their luminous green eyes.

They may have very distinctive eyes, but their most distinguishing feature is their sparkling silver coat that may be either shorthair or semi-long hair

So just like any other cats with flat faces, the Burmilla cats also love it when you cuddle them and continuously brush their coats.

Flat faced Munchkin cat

Flat faced Munchkin cat

A little bit of trivia for you. Did you know that a specific Munchkin cat from Napa, California made her way to the Guinness Book of Worlds Records as the shortest stature living cat in the world in 2014?

Also known as Sausage Cat, the flat faced Munchkin cat is best known for their very short legs as a result of the genetic mutation.

If you prefer small-sized cats over the larger ones, then the flat faced Munchkin cat is the perfect pet for you.

They may have short bowed legs, but you'll be surprised by their fantastic running and leaping abilities.

Their hind legs are slightly longer than their front legs creating a slight elevation from the shoulder to the lower back.

So, if you want some flat faced kittens that stay as kittens forever then get yourself a flat faced Munchkin cat.

What’s more, they are affectionate and playful cats who adore their humans so much. You won’t find them complaining about being held and cuddled all the time.

They are also one of the most intelligent breeds of cats.

They are surprisingly keen observers who are easily attracted to shiny objects.

If you ever find some of your sparkling belongings missing, then you already who the culprit is.

Your Munchkin cat may be hiding them somewhere safe.

They are affectionate, playful, sweet, and outgoing cats making them a perfect companion for humans of any age.

Health consequences of a flat faced cat

flat faced cat

Cats with flat faces are cute and irresistibly adorable due to their little round head with ‘pushed-in' faces.

However, this unique attribute comes with several health complications.

These health consequences are due to the genetic trait called brachycephalic that has become a standard in the cat-breeding industry.

Namely, this only means that if you intend to adopt a flat faced kitty as a pet.

You need to understand that taking care of it entails a lot more responsibility compared to adopting non-breed cats.

Never forget that a flat faced cat has a different skull structure that is not typical in its species.

The upturned muzzle and button eyes can be attributed to the distorted skull.

Also, sad to say, just hearing the term ‘distorted skull' shall give you an idea that this is far from ordinary.

For sure, their small size and their amusingly smooshed face may seem normal.

But these are caused by dwarfism and malocclusion of teeth called prognathism.

Again, these conditions are attributed to the distortion of the skull. Here are the most common health problems of brachycephalic cats that you need to watch out.

Brachycephalic airway syndrome

There's much research regarding brachycephalic airway syndrome in dogs. However, only a few studies are known about cats.

One of the most apparent health issues of flat faced cat is breathing difficulty.

The breathing problem is caused by brachycephalic airway syndrome related to the size of the skull that is shorter than it should be.

Due to the shorter bones of the face and nose, the cat’s mouth doesn’t have enough room to fit all the soft tissues.

This alteration in anatomy causes airway abnormality that leads to breathing difficulty.

The upper airway abnormalities included in this syndrome are the following:

  • closed nostrils,
  • a hypoplastic trachea,
  • an elongated soft palate and
  • everted laryngeal saccules.

A brachycephalic cat has abnormally narrowed nostrils that restrict the amount of airflow intake through the nose.

Moreover, this condition is sometimes referred to as stenotic nares.

A brachycephalic cat's trachea (windpipe) is smaller than normal, and the soft palate is too long that it blocks the trachea at the back of the throat.

Additionally, the small sacs inside the larynx are turned outwards which further obstruct the flow of air.

All of these complications result in severe breathing problem.

Cats with flat faces usually breathe more easily through their mouth than their nose.

When you see them mostly breathing through the mouth, that’s already a sign that the syndrome is kicking in.

In less severe cases, a brachycephalic cat may manifest noises in breathing or snoring.

If you hear these breathing noises, let them relax or take a nap.

Cats with this symptom tend to tire, and they may faint if they exert too much energy.

Watch out during hot or humid weathers because this syndrome usually worsens during these times.

So how you do handle brachycephalic airway syndrome?

Consulting a veterinarian may be the best option if the symptoms are severe.

The symptoms will be relieved right away through medications.

Sometimes, administering sedatives may be required to cool down severely affected cats.

It is likely that the vet will give your cat oxygen to improve its breathing.

Your cat may undergo several diagnoses to evaluate its general health.

The veterinarian should recommend whether or not your pet should experience a surgical correction.

You can minimize this syndrome by making changes at home.

One of the reasons why cats experience difficulty in breathing is obesity.

Therefore, you should keep an eye on its weight and don’t allow it to become overweight.

Also, make sure to keep your cat in a cool place especially during hot summer because the symptoms can worsen when they get overheated.

Additionally, to keep its weight in check, it's okay to give it some activity to work with or play with it.

However, don't overdo it because flat faced kittens get easily exhausted due to the lack of oxygen intake.

Eye Problems

flat faced munchkin cat

Brachycephalic airway syndrome is not the only concern you should be watching out.

Brachycephalic cat breeds are also prone to eye conditions resulting in eye infections and excessive tearing.

According to study, the distorted shape of the skull in brachycephalic cats causes protrusion of the eye making it appear to bulge out of the socket.

Due to the abnormal anatomy of the eye, the cornea of a brachycephalic cat becomes less sensitive compared to those cats with natural skull shapes.

This unusual facial structure puts them at risk of chronic eye tearing and improper tear drainage.

If your flat-faced kitty seems to be crying most of the time, it could be attributed to a condition called epiphora.

This condition occurs when the cat's tear duct prevents the tears from draining correctly.

As a result, the tears overflow onto the cat's face because they had nowhere else to go.

The excessive tears usually leave its beautiful hair wet and stained. Another condition that can worsen your cat’s eye problems is called entropion.

Just like epiphora, this is again due to the ‘pushed-in’ structure of a flat faced cat. Since the eyes are more protruded, the eyelid and eyelashes turn inward instead of outward.

Because of this, the eyelashes can scratch the eyes that can lead to constant irritation. This irritation triggers the tear duct to produce more tears.

Also, again, due to internal blockages caused by the unusual bone structure, the cat manifests excessive tearing.

Not only that, the constant lacerations of your cat’s eyes can lead to inflammation, bacterial infection, and even permanent damage to the cornea.

As if it couldn’t get any worse, the constant tearing can leave the face wet most of the times.

The moisture can irritate the skin around the eyes and can make the area an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.

How can you reduce the risk of eye infection?

If your flat faced cat manifests nonstop tearing and inflammation, then you may want to consider visiting the vet before it's too late.

The vet will diagnose the cause of these symptoms and treat it right away.

An extensive eye examination can also determine other underlying conditions such as cataracts, congenital eye defects, and progressive retinal atrophy.

In most cases, watery eyes are flushed with saline solution to remove any obstruction in the tear ducts.

However, if symptoms persist, the vet may recommend a surgical procedure to open up the tear ducts and find ways to drain the tears.

Eye drops or ointments may also be prescribed to treat infections.

As for your part, you can minimize the risk of infection by frequently wiping your cat’s face with a clean, warm cloth.

Use a slightly damp cotton ball to wipe the skin around the eyes to remove any dried tears that can accumulate bacteria and fungi. Do this once or twice daily.

Trim the hair around the eyes to prevent long strands of hair from poking the eyes.

You can clean the inside the cat's facial skin folds by using a cotton swab.

So since their eyes are sitting outside their sockets, they are more prone to getting in contact with dust and debris from the surrounding.

Keep your home clean and dust-free at all times to safeguard your cat’s eyes.

Dental Problems

The overlapping tooth is a common dental condition for brachycephalic cats.

Furthermore, this happens because the teeth grow and have to fit themselves inside a smaller mouth.

Due to its ‘shorter than normal’ skull, a flat faced kitty can be subject to teeth and jaw problems that can include prognathism or underbite.

This condition occurs when the lower jaw protrudes due to the ‘pushed-in’ appearance of the face.

In some cases, this can result in twisted mandible where the jaws do not touch each other.

Since the teeth protrude outside of the lips, they can jab the roof of the mouth and the gums. Now, this is when things get worse.

what kind of cat has a flat face

Improper alignment of the jaws and poorly aligned teeth can lead to severe periodontal implications such as:

  • Jaw pain,
  • Redness and inflammation in the gums caused by trapped food between the teeth,
  • Soft tissue trauma around the teeth due to the inflammation in the gums,
  • Difficulty in eating and chewing which may result in malnutrition,
  • Constant grinding of the teeth that may erode the tooth enamel and cause breakage.

In worse cases, an incidence of oral tumors around the canine teeth can arise.

What are the possible treatments for dental problems in brachycephalic cats?

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When one or more of the severe periodontal implications are manifested, the only possible solution is to see a dental veterinarian who can adequately fix these dental problems.

Treatments may include:

  • The use of retainers and other devices to properly align the teeth,
  • Wiring of the jaw to fix the misalignment,
  • Removal of crooked teeth,
  • Fluoride treatment to strengthen the tooth enamel,
  • Dental restoration through capping or crowning,
  • Pain medications to alleviate pain caused by dental implications.

For your part, you can help fix your cat’s dental problems by paying close attention to their teeth and jaws while they are still young.

While they are still kittens, any misalignment of the baby teeth and jaws can be corrected by a retainer or simple removal of the canine teeth.

Other implications of dental problems

Overcrowded teeth and jaw misalignment are not the only implications that are common in brachycephalic cats.

The issue of dental problem poses more risks aside from the ones stated earlier.

As a result of chronic dental problems, a cat may suffer from endogenous endophthalmitis, a potentially ocular infection that can lead to blindness.

The displacement of the teeth is also connected to the nasal drainage systems. As we all know, the nasal drainage system and lacrimal system are responsible for keeping the eyes functional and healthy.

Since the facial bones and teeth are incorrectly positioned, the tear ducts are blocked causing the nasal drainage system to change the route.

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)

PKD is a hereditary condition where liquid-filled cysts appear on the kidneys of affected cats.

Flat faced cat breeds are considered to have the highest incidence rate of developing kidney failure.

Since PKD is an inherited condition, it can be passed on from one parent cat to the offspring.

Breeds that are most at risk of inheriting PKD include the Persian, the Exotic Shorthair, the Himalayan, and other breeds with Persian lineage.

short hair flat face cat

If you have a pet belonging to any of these breeds, you may need to watch out for these symptoms:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Depression and fatigue
  • Increased urination
  • Weight loss
  • Abnormal level of water intake

If your cat manifests these symptoms, it’s best to bring it to the vet where it could be subjected to undergo genetic tests and ultrasound examination of the kidneys.

Unfortunately, PKD in cats is incurable, and there is no way that the cysts on the kidney can be removed nor it can be slowed down.

However, cats with PKD diagnosis can still live for several years in relatively good health.

So you can achieve this by following different methods of maintaining your cat's kidney function and keeping them comfortable at all times.

After a diagnosis, the veterinarian is likely to prescribe a kidney-supporting diet that can reduce the amount of urea to facilitate kidney function.

Phosphorous-binding medications are also prescribed to reduce phosphorous levels and anti-nausea medications to minimize the incidents of vomiting.

Birthing difficulties in brachycephalic cats

The mother cat is likely to suffer from birthing difficulties when a mechanical blockage occurs mainly when the kitten's diameter is too full for the mother's birth canal.

This condition is called dystocia, and brachycephalic cats are at higher risk of this. The unusual skull shape of a flat faced kitty increases the risk of the head deflecting to one side.

This situation may give rise to a temporary delay, or worse, result in complete obstruction.

If this occurs, call the vet immediately to save the kitten as well as the mother. Here are the signs that can help you determine when it is time to call for the vet.

  • The mother cat has been profoundly straining for one hour and still not giving birth.
  • There is a constant blood discharge taking as long as 10 minutes after kittening.
  • Sudden fatigue and lethargy.
  • Rectal temperature of below 97 degrees Fahrenheit or above 104 degrees Fahrenheit is an indication that the mother has an infection.
  • Prolonged labor that the mother seems to feel agitated and weak.
  • Birthing intervals should come down 15 minutes to 2 hours apart. If more than 3 hours had passed between kittens and the mother is still in distress, it’s time to call for a vet.

How to care for brachycephalic cats

flat face kitty

No matter how attentive or caring you are, there's nothing you can do to prevent the risk of these health issues on a flat faced cat.

However, having a broader awareness of the potential implications can significantly help you in managing the overall wellness of your beloved pet.

Of course, a regular visit to the vet and checkups will give you a more precise understanding regarding your cat's current health.

Being a responsible pet owner, you must always keep an eye on your pet. Learn to spot the early signs of a potential condition. Even a slight variation in its usual pattern could mean a lot.

For example, you suddenly hear the breathing noises that you haven't heard from your cat before. Alternatively, your cat suddenly loses its appetite.

These things may be trivial and may seem reasonable for some.  However, if you are aware of the health implications, then you know that these symptoms are crucial.

Always keep your cat clean and pay closer attention to their face. Now that you understand why flat faced cats shed tears most of the time, the only thing that you can do is keep their face moisture-free as much as possible.

So don't forget to have that particular eye drops close at hand in case something gets into their protruded eyes.

Regardless of the fur length, regular grooming can keep your cat in its most gorgeous state as well as keep it healthy.

So just like any other pets, loving care and plenty of snuggles is the perfect combo to boost their happiness.

Conclusion: Is a flat face kitty the right pet for you?

There’s no denying that flat faced cat breeds are lovable in so many ways. Their distinctive appearance that you can’t find in other domestic cats and their adorable nature that won’t fail to amuse you.

Taking care of them would mean putting in some extra effort due to several numbers of health issues.

However, having to live with a unique and affectionate pet is a priceless experience that no amount of money can buy.

Plus, you can also choose from many different breeds of flat faced cats that perfectly suits your preference and personality as well.

Regardless of the breed you choose, remember that pets can only return the amount of love that you’re giving them.

Therefore, if you love them so dearly, they will return the favor by loving you as much as you like them.

So get your own flat faced cat, or take a look at other cat breeds that might draw your attention.

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