Flat-Faced Cats: Why Do Some Cats Have Smushed Noses?

Posted by Christy Caplan

We've come a long way since the first real cats like the saber-toothed cat!

There is a lot of variety within the head and body of domestic cats. Some cats have rounded flat faces, and this is known as a brachycephalic cat.

What does it mean to be a brachycephalic cat?

According to VCA Hospitals, "brachy" means shortened and "cephalic" means head. Many dog breeds share these traits like the Pug:

"The skull bones of brachycephalic cats are shortened in length, giving the face and nose a pushed in appearance. Due to the shorter bones of the face and nose, the anatomy and relationships with other soft tissue structures are altered; some of these changes can cause physical problems, particularly with breathing."

Persian and Himalayan cats are the most popular and common flat-faced cats.

Do these cats have health issues?

Persian Cat

The largest health condition is called brachycephalic airway syndrome as they tend to have trouble breathing. They often have chewing problems which can lead to dental issues.

Brachycephalic cats often have large eyes, so when they blink their eyelids often don't close completely.

Which breeds have a flat face?

  • Persians: This breed comes in a huge palette of colors
  • Himalayans: This cat has show-stopping good looks and a wide variety of color points
  • Exotic Shorthair: This cat breed is known as a low-maintenance version of the longhaired Persian cat

Flat-faced cat breeds also include the Scottish Fold, Selkirk Rex, British Shorthair, Burmese, Munchkin cats, and the Silver Persian. These breeds of cat have a short muzzle, and often times breathing problems. These breathing difficulties are also seen in Exotic Shorthair cats. You must weigh the cuteness of this cat with the many health problems we call out in this article.

You can always contact the Cat Fanciers Association for recommendations on reputable breeders. A teddy-bear cat may be beloved by cat lovers, but all pet parents will need to stay on top of these health issues.

Popular flat-faced cat breeds are breeds that look like Grump Cat (RIP).

What cat breed do you live with? Leave a comment below with your story.

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Flat-Faced Cats: Why Do Some Cats Have Smushed Noses?