Ear tufts are a rare trait but they always mark an extremely special cat. Although cat breeds with ear tufts come in all shapes and sizes, one thing they have in common is that lovable cute-yet-wild look. Not surprising, since many of your housecat’s wild cousins have tufted ears as well!
These 13 beautiful cat breeds can all have either ear tufts, ear furnishings, or both. In case you don’t know the difference, ear tufts are furry tufts on top of the cat’s head, while ear furnishings are tufts that sprout from the inner ear.
Without further ado, check out these 13 cats — from docile to wild — who all have adorable fuzzy ears.
The 13 Cat Breeds With Ear Tufts
These kitties have ear tufts, and usually also ear furnishings.
1. Maine Coon
Well known for being the biggest domesticated cat breed, Maine Coons are also famous for their long, soft coats, big paws, and ability to adapt to almost any environment. Some say they’re descended from pet cats that Marie Antoinette shipped out of France before losing her head, while others believe they’re the result of housecats breeding with wild bobcats.
Maine Coons don’t just have ear tufts and ear furnishings, but also have big tufts of fur on their paws.
2. Norwegian Forest Cat
No, it’s not a helpful forest spirit from a fairy tale, but it’s the next best thing. The super-friendly Norwegian Forest Cat (or “wedgie”) sports a two-colored coat that grows long and fluffy to help them survive harsh winters in Scandinavia. They’re also renowned in old Norse legend for their ability to scale trees and rocks.
Wedgies often have ear tufts, ear furnishings, and tufted toes. They’re close cousins of the Maine Coon, and the two breeds have a lot in common.
3. American Curl
American Curls are beloved by cat fans for their fashionable appearance and boundless enthusiasm. Their ears curl back over their heads, showing off their ear tufts and furnishings, and giving them a permanently surprised expression that you’ll fall in love with right away.
There can be only one…one cat breed as pretty as the Highlander, that is. Highlanders are the offspring of spotted Jungle Cats, graceful American Curls, and sometimes tame Caracals (see #13).
The result is a wild-looking fuzzball with heart-melting curled ears, adorned with big horizontal tufts. Another fun fact about Highlanders: unlike most other cats, they love to splash in the water.
Pixiebobs are a “dog-like” breed that loves activities like fetching and going on walks. Their energy level and tabby coats have led people to wonder if they’re descended from bobcats, but according to their genetics, it’s more likely a coincidental mutation.
Pixiebobs get their name from their stubby tails, but they’re also known to have ear tufts and ear furnishings.
6. Turkish Van
Turkish Vans hail from Lake Van, a stunning, secluded lake in the eastern part of Turkey. They’ve been around for thousands of years, treasured by the Turks for ages before making their way to Europe.
Vans are beloved for their unique coloration, called the “Van Pattern,” which marks them with dark colors on their heads, necks, and tails. They share a lot of traits with the Turkish Angora, including ear tufts and a love of swimming.
Cats With Ear Furnishings
These cats only have ear furnishings, not tufts.
Ragdoll cats are easy to recognize: they look kind of like a Siamese, but fluffier. They’re intensely cuddly, often going limp in the arms of their humans, a trait which got them their breed name.
Like the Pixiebob, a Ragdoll loves to play with its owner and can even be taught tricks. Purebred Ragdolls have ear furnishings, and tufts of hair between their toes.
These forest cats from the wilds of Russia are another of our most ancient breeds still around today. They’re strong, bulky, and protective, but also playful and sweet-natured. When you cuddle up with a Siberian, which developed its long coat — and its ear-furnishings — to survive the fearsome Russian winter, you’ll never feel cold.
With their coats that naturally grow in loose curls and their curled ear furnishings, LaPerms are some of the world’s most unusual-looking cats. They start out looking like goblins, and mature into a cross between a Devon Rex and a bathmat. Petting a LaPerm is a lovely experience, which is good because they love attention!
Nebelungs appeared in the 1980s as the result of two Russian Blues producing a litter of long-haired kittens. These graceful blue-gray cats, named after an ancient German myth, are proud of their silky coats and warm ear furnishings. Although they can be demanding, they’re also deeply loving and enjoy taking walks with their favorite people.
These untamed felines probably won’t be curling up on your lap anytime soon, but their ear tufts can compete with the best of them.
Lynxes are forest cats that prowl snowy woods, keeping warm with coats of luxuriant spotted fur. They have prominent ear tufts that catch dirt and debris and are believed to also act as antennae that help the Lynx pick up on distant sounds.
In fact, the Lynx’s tufts are so striking that another name for feline ear tufts is “lynx tips.”
The Serval is a cat from the African savannah. While they’re sometimes kept as pets, they aren’t domesticated — their human-friendly traits aren’t hard-coded into their DNA.
Servals have extremely long legs, and love to jump and dig. When domesticated, they can form strong bonds, though usually with only a single human. Their ear furnishings add to their exotic appearance.
Caracals are wild cats found in Africa and many parts of Asia. They have big ears with huge, dense tufts, curved so that they almost look like human eyebrows. In addition to keeping its ears clean, the Caracal’s ear tufts might serve a social purpose, as some researchers believe they can be twitched to send messages to other Caracals.
There are so many different things that make cats unique. Whether it’s their personalities, their coats, their colors, or unique traits like ear tufts and furnishings, America’s most popular pet never ceases to surprise and delight.
- You might also be interested in: Rarest Patterns and Coat Colors for Cats
Featured Image Credit: TinasDreamworld, Shutterstock