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Cats With Round Ears

A popular mobile app called Cymera allows users to manipulate their cat's photo to have round ears. Do any cats actually have round ears? No, domestic cats have pointed ears, and it's for their benefit.

Tara Maurer holding cat smiling

Last Updated: March 13, 2024 | 8 min read

Selective focus to American Curl cat

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A mix of Micky Mouse and your favorite feline, round-eared cats have taken the internet by storm. But, do they really exist? Find out all you need to know about cats with round ears in the article below. Plus, learn about other breeds with unique ears. 

Do Cats With Round Ears Exist?

If something seems too good to be true, it might be just that. We all know the power of a good photo editor, but sometimes even the sharpest eyes miss what’s right in front of them: an excellent photo-editing app. 

No, cats with round ears don’t exist. Photos circulating of cats with round, mice-like ears are photoshopped. While no such domestic cat currently lives, who knows what the future holds.

All About Cat Ears

While you may find a rounded ear on a large wildcat, like the leopard or lion, it’s actually to your cat’s benefit to have pointed ears. 

The average house cat has pointed ears that are upright and forward-facing, with the ability to rotate and capture sound all around them. This ear structure allows smaller cats to hear a predator or prey from all sides. This hearing can be beneficial for pinpointing small rodents hiding in foliage and dodging dangerous obstacles in their path. 

On the other hand, the round ears of a big cat form a barrier to sound behind them. Big cats aren’t concerned with being attacked, as more often than not, they are the predator. Wild cats hunt large herbivores that are relatively easy to see. These cats rely more on sight and smell to hunt their prey. 

While house cats rely on their humans for food and protection, feral domestics and other small cats benefit from having pointed, rotating ears.

What Cat Breeds Have Unique Ears?

While a cat breed with round ears doesn’t exist, many pedigreed breeds sport unique ears: curled, large, and small. Read on to learn the top breeds in each category.

Cats With Curled Ears

American Curl

The American Curl (pictured above) is a medium-sized cat with an energetic and affectionate personality. Easily identifiable by their curled-back ears, this breed began as of product of natural genetic mutation that was first discovered in the 1980s.

In 1981, Joe and Grace Ruga adopted a cat with curled-back ears, naming the cat Shulamith. A few months later, Shulamith gave birth to a litter of kittens. Half displayed the same curled ears as their mother. Through selective breeding and genetic testing, breeders discovered that the ear-curling gene was a dominant trait, meaning cats with only one copy of the gene would be born with curled ears.

This small-to-medium-sized kitty is born with straight ears. After a few days, the ears roll up into tight buds, slowly unrolling at around six weeks and “setting” by the time the cat is four months old. The breed standard calls for a crescent-shaped ear that curls from 90 and 180 degrees. 

You can find American Curls in various coat colors and patterns, with the coat being long-haired or short-haired. This kitty also has a variety of eye colors. 

Nicknamed the “Peter Pan cat,” American Curls retain their kitten-like behavior well into adulthood. They love to climb, investigate, and play. These active and friendly kitties show “doglike” attachment to their humans, following their favorite family members around from room to room.

Scottish Fold

Scottish Fold Munchkin Cat laying down
While not all Scottish Folds have bent ears, breeders prize this trait.

Easily recognized by their folded ears, the Scottish Fold is one of the most popular breeds worldwide. In 1961, a shepherd in Scotland named William Ross spotted a litter of kittens with ears folded forward and downward on their heads. Ross asked the owners of the cats if he could have one of the barnyard kittens, named Susie, and proceeded to use this cat to develop the Scottish Fold breed. 

The Scottish Fold is a medium-sized cat with a round, padded body and a short or long coat. Scottish folds come in various coat colors and patterns. This cat has large, round eyes corresponding to their coat color and a short nose with a gentle curve. 

Most notably, this breed is born with straight ears that slowly begin to fold at around four weeks of age. Overall, this breed is sweet, quiet, and gentle. The Scottish Fold loves to be with humans and adapts to almost any home situation. 

Highlander 

Selective focus view of serious looking Highlander cat lying down on chair indoors
Highlanders are outgoing, playful, and high-energy.

Developed in the 1990s to 2000s to resemble big, wild cats, the first crosses of the Highlander were between the desert lynx and jungle curl cat breeds. Today, the Highlander is part of The International Cat Association (TICA) Advanced New Breeds, the second level of the Championship Advancement Class Program.

The Highlander is a medium-to-large cat with an athletic, muscular body. This breed comes in short-haired and long-haired versions and may come in any color in solid, tabby, tortie, or silver/smoked patterns. 

Cat fans recognize this breed by their facial traits: long/sloping forehead, medium to large eyes shaped like flattened ovals, wide nose, boxy muzzle, and wide-based ears that are loosely curled at the top. 

While friendly to all, the Highlander will give special treatment to their human. This breed doesn’t tend to vocalize, preferring to wag their tail when happy and playful.

While the American Curl, Scottish Fold, and Highlander are the only curled-ear breeds recognized by major organizations, there are other breeds in development, including:

  • Ukrainian Levkoy
  • Foldex
  • Elf Cat

Cats With Big Ears

Abyssinian

Calm abyssinian cat lying on brown couch
This playful cat will maintain a kitten-like quality as it ages.

As one of the oldest known breeds, the history of the Abyssinian breed is a murky one. Folklore says the Abysinnian were once the cats of Egyptian pharaohs, but others insist the breed was developed in Britian using selective breeding of silver and brown tabby cats.

The Abyssinian, nicknamed “Aby,” is a medium-sized cat with a lean, long body and short, ticked coat in cinnamon, ruddy, blue, and fawn colors. The Aby has green or gold almond-shaped eyes and large ears. 

This is an extremely active breed that requires lots of play and affection. They are outgoing and hate being alone. The Abyssinian welcomes attention from all, including children and other pets.

Devon Rex

Portrait of a beautiful Devon Rex cat looking at the camera
The Devon Rex is friendly, affectionate, intelligent, and playful.

The Devon Rex was discovered in England in the 1960s and bred to maintain their short-wavy hair. Also called the Pixie cat, the Devon Rex is known for their alien-like appearance with a triangular face, big eyes, and large, low-set ears.

This breed is quite small, averaging six to nine pounds. They have short, curly hair that is available in a variety of colors and patterns.  This chatty cat loves to make themself known throughout the house and loves to cuddle with their favorite humans or pets. 

Cornish Rex

Cornish Rex kitten in the arms of a man
Despite their fragile appearance, the Cornish Rex is a study cat that loves to play.

Another curly-haired cat, English breeders developed the Cornish Rex using a curly-haired barn cat named Kallibunker that was naturally covered in tight rows of tiny curls. 

The Cornish Rex displays a soft, velvety coat, ideally falling in marcel waves. Along with this beautiful coat, the Cornish Rex has a slender body that stands on long legs. This cat has a small, narrow head topped with enormous ears. This small-to-medium feline is muscular and athletic. You may even teach your Cornish Rex to fetch and catch. They are affectionate and people-oriented. 

Siamese

Siamese Cat With Blue Eyes
The Siamese is affectionate and friendly.

Officially recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) in 1906, the Siamese is one of the oldest breeds of pedigreed cats. This cat originates from Thailand, what was once called Siam. 

The Siamese cat is a medium-sized, refined-looking cat with a svelte body and striking blue eyes. Along with their bright, blue eyes, fanciers recognize Siamese cats by their color points, showing a darker color on the face, ears, legs, feet, and tail. 

This outgoing breed is notoriously vocal and loves to play and socialize. This cat will demand attention and loves to follow their owners around the house. They are safe for families with young children and do well with other pets.

Oriental

Oriental Longhair Cat face close up
The Orientals coat may be short or long.

The Oriental breed came from the desire of breeders to revive the Siamese. English breeders crossed Abysinnian, British Shorthair, and Russian Blue with the Siamese. All non-pointed cats were then classified into a new breed, the Oriental. 

Today the Oriental breed has around 300 varieties of coat colors and patterns. This medium-sized cat has a long, lean body and large eyes, nose, and ears.

This cat shares a similar temperament to the Siamese. They are vocal, curious, friendly, and playful. The Oriental is highly intelligent and will surely keep you on your toes. 

Cats With Small Ears

Persian

A woman using a comb brush the Persian cat
This breed is known for their gentle and sweet demeanor.

The Persian was one of the founding breeds recognized by the CFA in 1906. This breed has a rich history and is one of the most popular pedigreed cat breeds worldwide.

Persians are medium-sized with round bodies and long, thick coats. This cat comes in a variety of coat colors and has eyes that are copper, blue, green, hazel, blue-green, and odd-eyed. This cat has a round, smooshed face topped with small ears. 

This calm, docile cat loves to spend their day relaxing in a plush chair or in a sun-filled window. Persians loved to be loved and show lots of affection to their families. 

Exotic Shorthair

Exotic shorthair cat with white fur on a white background
Exotic Shorthairs are affectionate, low-energy, and easy-going.

In the 1950s, American Shorthair breeders began crossing their cats with Persian cats in hopes of developing the silver coat and green eyes of the Persian on an American Shorthair. Instead, they ended up with a cat almost identical to the Persian aside from the short coat.

Today, the Exotic Shorthair has been called the “lazy person’s Persian” because it shares the same facial features and body as the Persian but requires less grooming thanks to their short coat. These cats thrive in a house with a routine and prefer to lounge their day away.

British Shorthair

British Shorthair cat with grey hair on a grey background
This cat is quiet, calm, and affectionate.

People first exhibited the British Shorthair at cat shows in England in 1871. This cat bred naturally. Today, humans love the British Shorthair for their teddy bear-like appearance.

The British Shorthair is a medium-to-large-sized cat weighing up to 17 pounds. They come in many solid and patterned colors, including black, white, blue, cream, red, smoke, silver, golden, cameo, tabby, tortie, calico, and bicolor. Their coat is short and very dense. This cat has a distinctive round head with eyes of gold, copper, green, blue, blue-green, hazel, or odd-eyed.

The British Shorthair is an easy-going cat that can thrive in small apartments and large houses. This is a great breed for multi-pet households or those with young children.

Birman

Sacred Birman Cat looking up
The Birman is a medium-sized breed with silky, long hair.

While referred to as the Sacred Cat of Burma, the Birman Cat’s history is not well known. It is possible that the breed developed in Burma, now Myanmar, but today’s Birman cats can also be traced to France and England. 

This cat has a stocky body with a color-pointed coat. Like all color point cats, Birman kittens are born white and develop color as they age. This breed always has bright blue eyes.

Birmans are gentle, loving, and quiet. This is a great companion cat that loves to be with people. Birmans are patient and make an excellent choice for families with children.

Frequently Asked Questions

What App Gives Cats Round Ears?

A Japanese app called Cymera lets users manipulate their image to give their cat mouse-like ears.

Do Any Cat Breeds Have Round Ears?

No, house cats naturally have pointed ears. Of all cat breeds, the American Curl is closest to a rounded ear. These cats have a genetic mutation causing their ears to fold backward. Depending on the severity of the fold, the American Curl may appear to have a more-rounded ear.

Final Thoughts

While round ears on domestic cats are interesting to behold, it’s in your cat’s favor to have pointed ears. Your feline’s ears act as a funnel to direct sound, making them more efficient at pin-pointing sounds and catching their prey.

Dog and cat scared of each other on sofa

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