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Do Cats With Round Ears Exist? – Myths & Facts Explained

Cats with round ears on white background

One of the most distinguishing features of a cat is its pointed ears, but have you ever seen a cat with round ears? Or better yet, do cats with this ear shape really exist? 

Contrary to popular belief, there are no known domestic cat breeds with round ears. The photos of round-eared cats circulating on the web are edited using a Japanese app called Cymera. Using the liquify function of the app, the ears of any cat can look rounded and mouse-like.

This guide will debunk all the myths behind cats’ round ears as well as show you the different types of cat ears you can find in domestic cats. So, keep reading! 

Are Cats With Round Ears Real?

Cat with round ears on the Internet
Image credit: reese / Twitter

Unfortunately, the photos of cats with round ears circulating on social media are not real. Currently, there are no documented domesticated cat breeds that feature ears with this shape. 

Larger cats, such as leopards and lions, have round ears, while domesticated cats have pointed ears. 

This characteristic didn’t happen by chance; rather, it was brought about by natural adaptation to its environment.

An upright or pointed ear facing forward gives the cat a strong ability to capture sounds from all directions, and since cats hunt small prey, they make use of this strong sense of hearing to hunt effectively. 

Meanwhile, rounded ears can capture sounds from the front. Unlike small cats, lions and leopards do not need to have strong hearing capabilities to hunt, as their prey are large animals such as gazelles. 

Where Did the Myth of Rounded Cat Ears Come From?

The myth of the rounded cat ear can be traced back to the early part of 2017 when photos of cats with unusual ear shapes started circulating on the internet. 

The ears of the cats in the photos that went viral online didn’t have the sharp, triangular form that cat ears often have. Rather, they have round ears similar to those of a mouse’s ears. 

Apparently, the photo that went viral was edited using an app in Japan called Cymera. Cymera has a liquify feature under their edit menu that can warp a cat’s ears and make it look rounded.

This app still exists today so cat owners who are wondering what their cat would look like with round ears can still use it.

Cat Breed With Ears That Look Like Round Ears

American Curl cat with round ears

While it is true that there are currently no known cat breeds that have round ears, there is one breed that features a round-like cat ear — the American Curl.

The American Curl results from a dominant genetic mutation, which means that as long as one parent carries the ear-curling gene, their kittens will have curled ears. 

The resulting curled ears appear round-like rather than pointed, triangular ear shapes seen in most cats. 

These felines, however, are not born with this distinctive feature. American Curl kittens are typically born with floppy ears that may start to curl at around six weeks. It may take about four months to complete the process.

At around four months old, an American Curl’s ears are already fully curled, giving them a round-like look. 

To get a visual idea of what cat round ears look like in an American Curl, watch this video:

Get to Know the American Curl

Different Types of Cat Ears

Unknown to many, there is a wide variation in cat ear shape. This is especially true these days, as new cat breeds are being created and developed by breeders. 

Here are some of the most common ear shapes that you can see in cats:

Straight Ears

Straight ears, also referred to as “prick ears,” are the most common cat ears. This is characterized by an upright ear that is triangular in shape.

Though common, the size and positioning of the ear may vary based on the breed.

You may find cat breeds with straight ears positioned higher on the head, while others are spaced far apart or close together. Their ear tips may also be rounded, pointed, tufted, or fringed. 

Some of the most popular cat breeds with straight ears are Maine Coon, Turkish Van, Norwegian Forest Cat, Siamese, British Shorthair, Abyssinian, Sphynx, Savannah, Balinese, Ragdoll, and Russian Blue.

Curled Ears

Curled ears in cats are a result of a genetic mutation. Due to mutation, the ears of these cats are curled towards the back of their heads. The ears are also stiff and rigid to the touch and should be handled carefully. 

However, it is important to note that cats are not born with curled ears. These kittens are born with straight, floppy ears and will only start to bend backward at four days old.

The cat’s ears will then continue to curl for about four months before it settles into their final position. 

To date, there aren’t many cat breeds with these distinctively curled ears. The American Curl is the first cat breed to be recognized with this characteristic. 

Since the mutation is a dominant gene, it is possible that if breeders pair an American Curl with another breed, the litters will become curled-ear cats. 

That said, American Curls are now being paired with other breeds to create new varieties with curled ears. That is why most, if not all, curled-ear cats are mixed breeds or designer cats. 

One example is the Kinkalow cat, a mix of an American Curl and a Munchkin. The Elf Cat, a mixture of the American Curl and the Sphynx, is also known to have curled ears. 

The Highlander, Dwelf, and Ruffle cat breeds, which are all crossbreeds of the famous American Curl, also feature curled ears. 

Folded Ears

Another ear type seen in cats is the folded ear. This ear type is a result of an incomplete gene that causes the ears to fold inward. 

Unfortunately, this ear type is linked to cartilage and other bone and mobility issues. This may result in degenerative joint diseases and painful arthritis in cats. 

That said, cat breeds that exhibit this mutation are not very healthy and should, therefore, be handled with extra care. 

To date, the only widely recognized cat breed with folded ears is the Scottish Fold and the Highland Fold — the long-haired version of the Scottish Fold. 

It is important to note, however, that while the Scottish Fold breed is popular in the United States, it has already been banned by the Cat Fancy of Great Britain in more or less 40 countries.

This is due to the serious health issues that Scottish Fold cats may experience at an early age.

Although the cat breed is not banned in the United States, it is rare and quite hard to find in the country. This explains the expensive price tag of Scottish Folds

Loosely Folded Ears

Loosely folded ears are another ear type seen in cats. Cats with this ear type typically have huge, curled ears that fold inward and forward. They are set quite high and far apart.

Like the curled ears, there aren’t many cat breeds with this distinct ear type. The Ukrainian Levkoy carries a loosely folded ear; however, this cat breed is not yet recognized by many cat fanciers and breed organizations. 

Floppy Ears

Floppy ears are another ear type in cats that are often seen in kittens. Regardless of its breed, a cat can be born with a straight or slightly floppy ear. 

As these kittens mature, their ears will either be straight or curly, depending on their breed. Likewise, it can also be folded.

You may, however, find Oriental Shorthair cats with floppy ears. While this isn’t according to the breed standard, some Oriental Shorthairs will have lower ears that fold over at the tip, giving them a big floppy ear. 

In some cases, an Oriental Shorthair cat’s floppy ears may also be caused by a genetic mutation that is similar to that of what causes folded ears in Scottish Folds. 

As many cat breeders aim to produce new breeds of cats, it is not impossible that new cat ear types will be created, developed, and seen in the following years. 

Final Thoughts

To set things straight, cats with round ears similar to those of a mouse’s adorable ears do not exist. The photos circulating on the internet are products of an app called Cymera.

Hopefully, in the future, breeders will be successful in developing a cat breed with round, circular ears. But, for now, we are left with a handful of cat ear shapes to choose from. 

Fortunately, there are a few cat breeds with round-like ear shapes. Regardless of their breed, ear type, ear shape, and placement, cats are sure to bring joy to families, especially if they are given the right amount of love and care.

What do you think about these adorable cats? Let us know your thoughts about rounded cat ears in the comments below!