Skip navigation

Did you know that there’s a technical term for cats with smooshed faces? They can be referred to as brachycephalic. Though these types of cats are undeniably adorable and have irresistibly chubby cheeks, cat parents should be aware of their special caretaking needs.

What Cat Breeds Are Brachycephalic?

Are Munchkin cats brachycephalic? Are Ragdoll cats brachycephalic? Is a Persian cat brachycephalic as well? These are all reasonable questions from concerned and caring cat parents. Some common brachycephalic cat breeds are:

Though these are some of the more popular flat-faced, brachycephalic breeds of cats, there are a few, not as common, others that can be included on this list as well. More often than not, with a quick look at your cat friend’s face, you’ll be able to tell if they are brachycephalic or not.

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome in Cats

If cats have brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS), they may have many upper airway abnormalities. Some of these abnormalities can include pinched or narrowed nostrils, an elongated soft palate, a narrowing of the windpipe, and a tissue-obstructed airway.

Common brachycephalic airway syndrome symptoms in cats involve mouth breathing, noisy breathing, snoring, panting, easily getting tired, coughing, getting sick, or even collapsing. Although not every brachycephalic cat will experience all these signs, especially since some are more extreme, your feline friend could still be at risk. It’s crucial that you keep a close eye on your cat and the symptoms they are experiencing.

Like most other health issues, with BAS, it is recommended that you take your cat to the veterinarian to get a thorough examination. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose your cat and recommend treatment options—such as corrective brachycephalic cat surgery, which may help reduce some symptoms of this condition.

Cats with BAS are prone to having more complications with anesthesia, which is why your veterinarian’s advice is so crucial to keep your four-legged family member at their healthiest and happiest.

Additional Health Concerns for Brachycephalic Cats

An unfortunate side effect of your cat being brachycephalic means that there’s a chance they will experience more health issues than just breathing difficulties. This is mainly due to the unique shorter shape of their head.

  • Eyes. Brachycephalic cats may have protruding eyes, which means their eyelids may not completely shut. These felines may also be predisposed to having more eye goopies—this is an easy fix of cleaning out the corner of their eyes more often.
  • Teeth. Because these cats have different-shaped skulls, it can also affect how their jaw is formed. Misaligned teeth are not unheard of and, in extreme situations, may affect how your cat chews and bites.
  • Skin. Many brachycephalic cats will have wrinkled faces. It’s important that you help your cat keep these facial folds clean and dry.

While not all brachycephalic cats will experience these various health concerns, it is best to be aware of the possible issues and keep an eye out for symptoms, just in case. Catching problems earlier is typically preferred, as the older a brachycephalic cat gets, health conditions can become more serious.

Keeping Your Brachycephalic Cat Healthy

With all cat breeds (and dogs, for that matter), it’s vital to keep them at a healthy weight. However, when it comes to brachycephalic cats, they are predisposed to gaining weight quite easily.

Since scrunch-nosed cats naturally have more difficulty breathing, they often do not receive as much exercise as other breeds. With less activity and no reduced meal sizes, it’s easy to see how these cats can pack on some extra pounds. By becoming overweight or obese, cats automatically are at a higher risk of showing brachycephalic symptoms. In other words, once your cat enters this cycle, it can be pretty tricky to get back out of it.

One of the best ways to keep your feline friend healthy is to keep a close eye on their weight. Encourage them to get up and move around and play throughout the day—just be careful not to overdo it.

Besides physical exercise, it is crucial that you keep an eye on what your cat eats throughout the day. Try not to feed them any human food and keep treats to a minimum. You may find that measuring out their food, instead of leaving a full bowl out all day, may also be helpful.

If you are unsure what type or how much of their food your cat should be eating, talk with your veterinarian about options and whether they have recommendations. Depending on your cat’s specific nutritional needs, some brands may be a better fit for your cat’s diet.

Brachycephalic Cats and Warm Weather

Due to brachycephalic cats not being able to breathe as easily as other cats, hotter weather or more humid conditions can cause added difficulty with your cat catching their breath. Although cats are not as affected by the temperatures as much as dogs, since they go outside for walks, it’s still important to keep your feline friend in mind when temperatures rise.

For instance, your short-nosed pal will greatly appreciate you turning the air conditioning on in the house, and the same applies when they will be riding in the car. Though you may be okay with the air off and the windows open, it still may be a little too warm for your best pal. In your home, you can even leave a fan or two on to help circulate and cool the air—your cat will appreciate it.

If you will be traveling with your cat, even if it is just to the veterinarian’s office, try to keep them out of the sun as much as possible, limit your time spent outdoors, and have some fresh, cool water on hand for them.

Flying with Brachycephalic Cats

When flying with your pet, let alone if your best pal is brachycephalic, there are many things to keep in mind. The first thing you will want to check on are the airline’s rules for flying with cats—note that some airlines have specific rules or restrictions for flat-faced breeds.

Before taking your feline friend flying, there are some steps you can take beforehand to ensure smooth travel and the least amount of stress.

  • Visit your veterinarian. Since brachycephalic cats are more prone to having issues while flying, it’s essential that they get a check-up and the “all clear” before your trip. Besides ensuring that your cat is in good health, your veterinarian can also offer some beneficial traveling tips and recommend helpful products.
  • Pick a carrier. Even if you already own a cat carrier, check the measurement requirements for your flight. It’s typically recommended that you use a soft-sided one as these will fit better under the seat in front of you.
  • Practice beforehand. It is best to have your cat’s carrier in plenty of time before your trip. Allow your cat to become comfortable climbing in and out and being carried around in their carrier.
  • Schedule flight accordingly. Unlike larger dogs that have to fly down in the cargo area of a plane, cats can ride up in the cabin. This means that temperatures will not be as influential when you schedule your flight, but it can still be something to keep in mind. Mainly, if you will be flying during a hotter month, try to schedule an early morning or evening flight, when temperatures will be lowest. Additionally, it is always best to schedule a non-stop flight whenever possible.

Even with all necessary precautions, there is still some risk that comes along when you fly with your flat-faced cat. If you are able, driving or taking another type of transportation instead of flying may be a better option.

Brachycephalic cats are unique in some of their needs, these felines make for excellent companions, great roommates, and loving best friends.

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.

RELATED ARTICLES