10 Flat-Faced Cat Breeds

Flat-faced cats are super-duper cute but require special care to keep them happy and health. Read this article and speak to your veterinarian before adding one of these unique, smoosh-faced cats to your family.

Tara Maurer holding cat smiling

Last Updated: December 30, 2023 | 6 min read

Close up of a flat-faced cat

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If you’ve ever seen a flat-faced cat, you know how distinct their features are compared to the standard feline. The stubby nose, short muzzle, round face, and large eyes give these cuties an adorable and downright irresistible appearance. One of the most famous flat-faced cats was Grumpy Cat (real name Tardar Sauce), a mixed breed who shot to fame for her scowling expressions. Fat-faced cat breeds can be popular or rare. There is more to these kitties than just a cute, smooshed face.

Of the smooshed-face cat crew, you’re likely familiar with those showing the most extreme features: the Persian, Himalayan, and Exotic Shorthair. Flat-faced felines are also called brachycephalic cats and may have some unique health and breathing concerns. While these breeds have gained popularity thanks to their smooshed-in faces, there are various cat breeds with moderately flat faces that are just as cute!

Flat-faced kitties are sometimes hard to find, but they are not hard to forget if you are lucky enough to meet one. Though they may have a sour expression at times, many of these breeds are sweet as can be. Read on to discover ten purr-fect flat-faced cat breeds.

1. Bombay Cat

Black Bombay cat with bright yellow eyes

Bombay cats look like mini panthers with black coats and bright yellow eyes. These medium-sized kitties have muscular frames, rounded heads, and flat faces. The Bombay coat is short, sleek, and glossy. This cat appears almost to sway as they walk, reminiscent of a wild cat.

Bombays are active and curious. They love exploring and have a natural athleticism. Give this cat plenty of playtime and perches to climb, and you’ll have one happy cat.

2. British Shorthair Cat

British Shorthair Cat being brushed

While best known for their blue coats (commonly considered gray), British Shorthair cats come in various colors. These cats have smooshed, chubby faces and large, sturdy bodies covered by a dense, short coat. British Shorthairs are a “teddy bear” breed, but these cats are independent and are not lap cats. This feline tolerates children and other pets but doesn’t like being carried around. 

Initially prized for their strength and hunting abilities, the British Shorthair now prefers to relax next to you on the sofa and occasionally catch a toy mouse. Males tend to be more happy-go-lucky, while females act more serious, like a proper British lady. Once-a-week grooming will suffice for these cats if you want to reduce shedding. Otherwise, these cats are healthy and low-maintenance. American Shorthairs also have a flat face, though not as dramatic as some breeds.

3. Burmese Cat

A woman hugging kissing with a Burmese cat trying to bite her face

If you’re looking for a playful and athletic cat, say hello to the Burmese. This cat is sweet-natured, tolerant, and highly people-oriented, making them an ideal pet for the whole family. They adore spending time with their family and are known to be especially good with children and other pets. This intelligent kitty will catch on to tricks easily and is happy to please. This cat requires lots of attention and playtime. 

Originally, the Burmese cat was bred to have a solid brown coat, now called sable; however, over time, additional colors became accepted. These cats have a range of body styles, with those with rounder heads and shorter bodies chosen as show cats. Their coats are short and close-lying with a silky texture that requires little grooming. While Burmese cats have flat faces, their features are far less exaggerated than some of the other kitties on this list.

4. Burmilla Cat

Burmilla Cat sitting with white background

A mix of a Chinchilla Persian and Burmese cat, the Burmilla looks similar to a Burmese cat but with the sweeter, more open expression of the Persian. This rare breed has the body of a Burmese cat with a semi-long, fine, silky coat that requires moderate grooming. 

The Burmilla has the laid-back personality of the Chinchilla Persian mixed with the mischievous name of the Burmese, giving this kitty a fun-loving yet gentle temperament. The Burmilla is an intelligent breed that will keep you on your toes. 

5. Exotic Shorthair Cat

Exotic shorthair cat with white fur on a white background

The Exotic Shorthair shares many similarities to the Persian cat, and indeed, the Exotic fits the Persian standard in every way except for the coat. The Exotic shares the same sweet, smooshed face and body as the Persian but has a short, dense coat. This feline, also called “the lazy man’s Persian,” has big eyes and a square body. Pair that with their plush fur, and it’s no wonder these cats have been likened to teddy bears.

Exotic Shorthairs are affectionate and gentle. This lapcat enjoys cuddles but isn’t demanding your attention. Exotics enjoy the simple pleasures of life: napping in a comfy spot on the couch, watching water drop from the tap, or gently playing with their favorite toy. They have a soft voice, tending to chirp or quietly request your attention with their adorable gaze. 

6. Himalayan Cat

Himalayan cat

While Himilayans are a mix of Persian and Siamese breeds, all major breed associations categorize the Himilayan as part of the Persian breed group. This feline gets their flat face and body type from their Persian lineage and their blue eyes and color points from the Siamese breed. A Himalayan will have a thick, fluffy coat with a light-colored body and color points on their face, legs, and tail that develop as they mature. Just like Persians, Himmies have a high-maintenance coat and require diligent grooming. 

This cat is sweet, loving, and enjoys socializing. Like all members of the Persian breed group, Himalayans enjoy their rest but will have occasional bursts of energy throughout the day. Himmies prefer a calm environment but are easy-going and adaptable. 

7. Munchkin Cat

Scottish Fold Munchkin Cat laying down

While they are most renowned for their little legs, the Munchkin cat also falls under the category of flat-faced or brachycephalic cats. Showing a similar structure to that of the Corgi or Dachshund, this breed has a long body atop short legs. Munchkin cats are available in various colors, patterns, and coat lengths. 

Munchkins are social and curious cats who love to learn and play. Never one to shy away from adventure, expect your Munchkin cat to be independent and ready to explore every nook and cranny.

8. Persian Cat

A woman using a comb brush the Persian cat

When you picture a smooshed face cat, the image that comes to mind is likely a Persian. Along with their flat face, Persians are known for their big, round eyes and fat cheeks. We love the Persian for their sweet personality and gentle, quiet nature. You’ll usually find a Persian enjoying their daily sunbath in a serene household, just how they like it. 

Persians come in a staggering number of colors and color patterns: black, blue, white, cream, red, chocolate, lilac, silver, golden, tortoiseshell, tabby, bicolor, calico, smoke, shaded, and Himalayan. Proper care of this furball includes daily brushing and combing, regular baths, and nail clipping. 

9. Scottish Fold Cat

The Scottish Fold’s forward-bent folded ears are this breed’s signature feature. While this breed may have folded or normal ears, the ear fold—a result of a natural genetic mutation—is prized among breeders and gives this cat an owl-like resemblance. This medium-sized cat has a rounded, well-padded boy and a short coat in various colors and patterns. The Scottish Fold has rounded cheeks and a short, small nose. This cat’s large, round eyes are spaced broadly, giving them a sweet look.

The Scottish Fold is a sweet and inquisitive cat. This kitty loves their family and will happily follow you wherever you go. While not super energetic, this breed thrives on human interaction and happily engages in play if it means more one-on-one time. This breed is more susceptible to ear infections due to the folded ears and arthritis, especially in their tail, ankles, and feet.

10. Selkirk Rex Cat

Selkirk rex lying, looking at the camera, isolated on white

The Selkirk Rex is one of the few cat breeds with a curly coat. This breed originated from a naturally curly-haired housecat bred with a Persian to create the Selkirk Rex. Thanks to their Persian lineage—and later Exotic Shorthairs and British Shorthairs to further develop the breed—this cat has a smooshed face and large, round eyes. This breed has been designed to have long or short curly hair that is plush and thick. You’ll notice the Selkirk’s whiskers are just as curly as their coat!

The temperament of this cat is a direct reflection of the parent breeds used to develop the Selkirk Rex. This cat is laid-back like the British Shorthair, cuddly like the Persian, and playful like the Exotic Shorthair. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Flat-Faced Cats Called?

The scientific term for a flat-faced cat breed is brachycephalic. Brachycephalic is genetically inherited and can appear at various levels of severity.

Do Flat-Faced Cats Have Health Problems?

While many flat-faced cat breeds live long, comfortable lives without health problems, some cats with smooshed faces have health problems. The shape of the skull, throat, and nose can cause breathing complications, dental misalignment, and tear stains. Cats with flat faces are prone to developing brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS) or to have a narrow trachea, making it difficult to breathe.

Cats with smooshed faces often have misaligned teeth that can cause chewing to be painful or difficult. Their altered skull shape can cause excessive tear flow, causing runny eyes that lead to dermatitis or skin infections. They can also have an elongated soft palate, which can block the trachea, causing breathing difficulty.

What Is The Lifespan Of A Flat-Faced Cat Breed?

This all depends on the breed and the animal’s health and care. Many can live a long time. The flat-faced Persian, for example, can live 13 or more years. Many factors impact how long a cat lives. Flat-faced breeds are more prone to breathing issues, elongated soft palate, eye abnormalities, and inflammation in the airways, among other things.

Final Thoughts

Flat-faced cats are adorable, making them even more charming. They come with some unique health concerns and care needs, so it is best to be prepared beforehand. If you are absolutely set on purchasing one of these squishy-faced kitty cats, always request an in-person visit with the breeder. Get the health history of your cat’s lineage so you are prepared for any long-term care your cat may need.

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