There’s something remarkably endearing about cats with floppy ears, isn’t there? Not all cats boast this delightful trait, but those who do, notably, belong to a select few breeds.
Introduction to Floppy Eared Cat Breeds
The floppy eared cat breeds have a unique charm that makes them instantly recognizable, drawing cat lovers in with their distinctive and, frankly, adorable look.
These breeds, like the Scottish Fold and Oriental Shorthair, flaunt their unique ear fold which adds an intriguing twist to their overall appeal.
Not only do they possess an interesting aesthetic, but many cats with floppy ears also exhibit endearing personality traits that make them truly ‘purr-fect’ pets for people who love feline companions.
What Makes a Cat’s Ear Floppy?
Cats’ ears don’t just flop over without a reason. In fact, the floppy ear gene is behind this unusual trait in cats.
It’s a genetic mutation that causes the cartilage in the cat’s ears to fold over at the tips, giving them their distinctive appearance.
Unlike cats with erect ears, cats with floppy ears have this unique attribute from birth.
Interestingly, kittens are born with floppy ears which may even fold more with time, giving them that folded ear cat trait that’s so sought after by cat fanciers.
However, not all cats have the potential to develop the floppy ear trait, and it is specific to certain breeds.
Cats with Long Floppy Ears
Among the floppy eared cat breeds, some are noted for their long floppy ears that stand out even more prominently.
The Oriental Shorthair, for instance, possesses a pair of large-eared cat bat ears that appear floppy when they move and play.
These ‘pad’-like ears, similar to Siamese cats in their size, add an exotic flair to their appearance and differentiate them from other domestic cats.
Their genetic mutation, unlike the Scottish Fold, results in lower ears that fold over at the tips rather than curling, creating a distinctive look that cat lovers can’t resist.
An Overview of the Cats With Floppy Ears Breed
The main breeds that encompass cats with floppy ears include the Scottish Fold and the Oriental Shorthair.
While they share the characteristic of having folded ears, each breed presents its unique traits and quirks. For instance, many cats from the Scottish Fold cat breed have a more rounded face and medium to short legs.
In contrast, Oriental Shorthairs are generally slim, active cats with a lean and muscular physique. Both breeds are known for their affectionate nature, often following their human guardians around the house, eager for company and attention.
Diving into the Charm of the Scottish Fold Cat
Tracing back to the origins of this breed, the Scottish Fold story began with a stray cat named Susie who was born on a farm in Perthshire, Scotland. Susie had the unique ear fold, and two of her offspring, through careful selection and breeding, helped in developing the breed we know and adore today.
The cat fancy world was smitten with the endearing folded ear trait, leading to a surge in popularity for the Scottish Fold cat breed.
The history of selection for the breed is fascinating, and thanks to pioneers like William Ross and geneticist Pat Turner, the breed has flourished despite potential genetic problems.
Caring for Your Scottish Fold: Encourage Healthy Floppy Ears
Nurturing the folded appearance of your Scottish Fold’s ears requires careful attention to their health.
The breed can be prone to a condition known as osteochondrodysplasia, which affects cartilage throughout the body.
Thus, it’s crucial to monitor their health closely and ensure they are receiving the right care and diet.
Encouraging floppy ears isn’t just about preserving their distinctive appearance; it’s also about ensuring your pet’s well-being.
Along with their unique ear traits, these cats are known for their affectionate demeanor, making them ideal pets for people who enjoy reciprocating their pets’ devotion.
Exploring the Oriental Shorthair, the Breed with Folded Ears
While similar to the Scottish Fold in their floppy-eared distinction, the Oriental Shorthair is a breed all its own.
Named for its sleek, exotic appearance, this breed is prized for its slender physique, bat-like ears, and affectionate nature.
Unlike the Scottish Fold, Oriental cats have lower ears that fold over at the tips. Their genetic makeup allows them to develop these long, drooping ears that lend them an otherworldly appeal.
These cats are active and playful, often finding fame on platforms like Instagram and TikTok because of their captivating looks and animated personalities.
The Oriental Shorthair: An Affectionate Cats With Big Floppy Ears
If you are looking for an affectionate pet with unique physical traits, an Oriental Shorthair could be the perfect choice.
With their big floppy ears and affectionate disposition, they make for an ideal companion. These cats are known to follow their human guardians around, eager for interaction and affection.
In return, they offer a level of companionship that’s hard to find in many cats, making them a hit among pet owners worldwide.
Other Floppy Eared Cat Breeds to Consider
There are more cats with floppy ears than you might think. Apart from the widely recognized Scottish Fold and Oriental Shorthair, there are others like the American Curl and the Highland Fold or Coupari.
The latter, named Highland Fold in Europe and Coupari in the US, is essentially a Scottish Fold with a long coat.
Their ears fold in a similar way to the Scottish Fold, but their luxurious, dense coat sets them apart.
This breed, still under development, is a wonderful blend of the old and the new, with its rich history of selection and rarity and relative newness on the cat breed standard scene.
The Big Appeal of Small, Floppy Eared Kittens
As adorable as adult cats with floppy ears are, there’s something irresistibly cute about kittens boasting this trait.
Kittens are born with floppy ears, and watching them grow into their distinctive looks can be a joy.
These little furballs, despite their folded ear trait, behave just like any other kittens – they love to explore, move, and play, adding a bundle of joy to any household.
Conclusion: Why Floppy Eared Cat Breeds are Worth the Big Love
In the end, whether they are show cats with straight big ears or pet cats from animal shelters with folded ears, the value of these cats goes beyond their physical attributes.
They bring so much joy, companionship, and warmth into our lives. The floppy-eared cat breeds, with their unique ear traits and affectionate personalities, offer a different yet delightful cat ownership experience.
They may require a bit more attention and care due to their unique genetics, but the love they return makes every effort worthwhile.
It’s no wonder these cats with floppy ears have captured so many hearts around the world. After all, who can resist those big, lovable ears?
How can we encourage floppy ears in cats?
Nobody can forcibly encourage floppy ears in cats (most importantly shouldn’t even try!!!), as the gene responsible for this trait is naturally occurring.
What is unique about cats with folded ears?
The primary difference is that most Scottish Folds, one of the common breeds with this trait, show cats to have straight ears when they are kittens. Over time their ears start to ‘fold’, giving them their distinctive look. The ‘pad’ that forms takes its distinctive shape as the cat grows.
Can cats with straight ears be bred with cats having folded ears?
Breeding Scottish Folds, for example, or any folded ear cats first with a British Shorthair or other cats to have straight ears is a common practice. This method is used to maintain the genetic health of the breed and reduce the risk of certain physical and psychological health issues.
Why were cats first bred to have curled ears?
The motivation behind this new breed wasn’t due to any practical purpose but more of a fascination with their distinctive look. The curled ears happened due to a natural genetic mutation. Over time, breeders, along with geneticist Pat Turner, took interest in this unique feature, leading to the formal breeding of curly eared breeds.
What are some popular breeds with floppy ears?
Some popular breeds with floppy ears are the Scottish Fold Cat, the Oriental Shorthair, and the American Curl. These breeds are notable for their distinctive folded ears, hence their name. Each of these breeds has its own unique characteristics and personality traits.
Are there any potential health issues for cats with folded ears?
Yes, certain breeds like the Scottish Fold are susceptible to polycystic kidney disease and arthritis, mainly due to the gene responsible for the folded ears. Because of this, ethical breeders and cat guardians need to ensure regular vet check-ups for these breeds to ensure their health.
Are all Oriental kittens born with floppy ears?
No, not all Oriental kittens are born with folded ears. This trait typically starts to develop as they grow.
Who were the first breeders of cats with floppy ears?
Joel and Grace Ruga of Lakewood, California, were the first to identify and breed a new line of cats with floppy ears, known as the American Curl. They started breeding these cats in 1981.
When did the Floppy Eared Cat Association (FCA) form?
The FCA was formed in 1999 with a direct focus on breeds with this unique genetic trait. The association has since been dedicated to advocating for the health and ethical breeding of these cats.
Do all cats with floppy ears keep their ears down all the time?
No, not all cats with floppy ears keep them down always. Depending on the breed and individual cat, some ears may stand up erect occasionally. However, most of the time their ears remain in the distinctive ‘floppy’ or ‘folded’ position.
You are here: