Have you ever seen a cat with a longer puff of hair at the tips of its ears? If you love the wild beauty of a lynx, you’ll probably fall in love with ear tufts. This trait is rare in domestic cats, but it does exist! Although ear tufts aren’t a requirement in any breed, there are some breeds that often have tufts. Here are ten of our favorite cat breeds that can have tufted ears.
Longhair Cats with Ear Tufts
1. Turkish Van
The Turkish Van is a semi-longhair cat with a distinctive coat pattern. It has mostly white fur with a colored “cap” over each ear. That patch of color highlights their ears. But if you’re lucky, that won’t be the only thing that makes ears beautiful. Some Turkish Van cats have long, wispy ear tufts growing from the tip of each ear. This is more common in cats with longer hair and often shows up in their winter coat, only to disappear in warmer weather.
2. Norwegian Forest Cat
Norwegian Forest Cats hail from the snowy reaches of Northern Europe, so it isn’t surprising that they share many features in common with lynxes. Along with a long, graceful frame, large paws, and shaggy fur, these cats sometimes have large, showy ear tufts. Norwegian Forest Cats can come in many different patterns and colors, from dark blacks and browns to snowy white or bright ginger. Whatever their color, these beautiful cats will always stand out.
3. Maine Coon
Across the Atlantic, there’s another cat breed that looks so wild that at a distance, they might be mistaken for a lynx! Maine Coons are known as the biggest cat breed, sometimes measuring over three feet from nose to tail. These gentle giants can come in any color, but the most famous is a rich, dark tabby pattern. Their long coats often form a fluffy “mane” around their face, and the wild look is only increased when they have ear tufts present. They also commonly have ear “furnishings”—curls of fur growing from the inside of their ears. These furnishings can match the base coat color or be white.
LaPerms are a cat breed with origins in the Pacific Northwest. These cats have a mutation that causes their long fur to crinkle and curl so that they really look like they’ve stepped out of the hair salon circa the 1980s! This beautiful curly coat also contributes to their ear fur, and so gorgeous tufts and furnishings aren’t uncommon. You may even get a “unicorn horn” twist of fur sticking up from each ear!
Shorthair Cats with Ear Tufts
5. American Curl
American Curl cats are most distinctive for their turned-back ears. This backward curl puts their thick ear-furnishing fur on full display, but if you look closely, you might notice that many American Curl cats have ear tufts too. This is more pronounced if the curl is fairly minor. It’s also not uncommon for American Curl cats to have straight-eared kittens mixed in with their litters, and many of these cats have tufted ears as well. American Curls are found in both short and longhaired varieties.
6. Pixie Bob
Pixie Bob cats are sometimes claimed to be descended from American Bobcats, but most breeders agree that the similarities are just a result of selective breeding. That means you get all the bobcat look without any behavior issues from wild blood—a bonus in our book! This shorthair cat breed has a spotted coat, a shortened tail, and tufted ears, just like its wild muse. They’re known for being intelligent, bold, and playful—a far cry from the reclusive wild cat they’re named after.
Exotic Mix Cats with Ear Tufts
Ear tufts are rare in domestic cats, but many wild cats have this feature, including the Asian Leopard Cat. Bengals are cats with domestic blood and a small amount of Asian Leopard Cat ancestry, and along with their powerful claws and rosetted coats, many Bengal cats have dark ear tufts that are inherited directly from their wild ancestors. These beautiful cats are the most popular hybrid cat today because they have such exotic beauty.
The Caracal is a wild cat with long legs, tan fur, and massive ear tufts. Although crossbreeds between Caracals and domestic cats are rare, they do exist. These “Caracats” have unmistakable black ear tufts that can be more than an inch in length. The difficulty in breeding Caracats and their high cost has made the breed controversial. Created in 2007, these cats usually have Abyssinian blood that helps preserve the wild appearance so that no one can mistake these for ordinary cats.
9. Highlander Cat
The Highlander Cat is one of several experimental breeds that are closely related, including the Desert Lynx (no relation to the Caracal) and the Jungle Curl, a hybrid between the American Curl and the wild Jungle Cat. This cat was bred to emphasize wild features, with natural coat colors, a stumpy tail, and backward-turning ears. Like the American Curl, this rare new breed of cat often has a tuft at the tip of its ears, and its Jungle Cat blood can make the tuft even more distinct.
Another beautiful hybrid cat with ear tufts is the Savannah. These cats take their wild blood from Servals, a spotted wild cat with distinct black ear tufts. Breeding Servals to domestic cats is difficult, but the result is gorgeous—a wildcat in miniature, complete with black-tipped ears. Along with the tufts, many Savannah cats also display ocelli—black and white markings that look like eyes—on the back of their ears.
With so many traits that make pets unique, it’s hard to choose just one to be our favorite. But when it comes to cats, it’s hard to resist a fluffy, furnished ear with a beautiful tuft at the tip! Whether your cat’s ear tufts make him look like a wild cat or just add on to his native cuteness, if you own one of these cats, you should count yourself lucky!
Featured Image Credit: Nynke van Holten, Shutterstock