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Old 06-19-2010, 09:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cat ears have curled/flopped at tips

Hello, I would love to find out what this is.

I got a kitten 3 weeks ago from a rescue shelter. Male domestic shorthair but looks like a Bengal cat with marble markings, 15 weeks old. He was taken from previous owners as they weren't feeding him correctly and shut him outside too young. He was only at the shelter 1 day before I got him. He was riddled with ear mites/ear infection when I got him but I've managed to treat that and all that remains is a bit of dirtyness.

My query is: His ears were pricked upright and looked like any other cats until 2 weeks ago they changed dramatically overnight. The very tips of his ears are now curled/floppy and both ears look identical. The tips basically face not up in the air but horizontally now. I took him to the vet and he had no idea and had never seen a cats ears like it. If you would like to see a photo just ask and I'll send it to your email (wont let me attach one to the board). The tips of his ears feel very thin and the ears themselves are extremely enormous (why I fell for him), they're also an unusual shape near the tips. They are not damp.

I'm just really curious that's all, I don't mind if his ears stay like this as long as I know what has made them do that and that it's nothing to worry about.

Hopefully some cat experts might have some knowledge.

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Old 06-19-2010, 12:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat ears have curled/flopped at tips

I wonder if he is genetically related to the Curl or Fold cat breeds? As I understand it, those particular breeds have something 'wrong' with their cartilege that allows the ears to curl or fold. Those same genes that cause the ears to curl/fold can also cause joint problems down the road. I do not know if there is a genetic test that can be performed to know if that is the cause or not.
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Old 06-19-2010, 04:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat ears have curled/flopped at tips

I was thinking the same thing as Heidi, certain breeds have ears that do that:

-American Curl

The only other time I've seen that is if the cat has burned it's ears (either in flames or sun burn), but there would be noticeable damage I'd think, especially since he's been to the vet.
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Old 06-19-2010, 04:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat ears have curled/flopped at tips

You can attach pictures here, but you have to use a site like Photobucket, our uploading feature isn't working. I would hope that a vet would know about the breeds with ears that curl, but you never know. Cinderella was noted as a Balinese during a vet visit before she adopted me.
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Old 06-19-2010, 05:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat ears have curled/flopped at tips

I have had this happen with two cats I've taken in with two differant causes.

One sounds a lot like yours, he was a big-eared male kitten I found who had severe ear mite infection, and he'd shook his head so hard he'd ruptured blood vessels in his ears. They were swollen slightly when I got him. I treated the ear mites and in a couple weeks the swelling went down and his ears drooped at the tips. They drooped for a couple more weeks and then slowly stood back up. Now he is fine, but still has big ears!

The other was a feral female who I found frozen to the road in the middle of the winter. She had frostbite and her ears flopped at the tips. After a couple monthes they would stand upright most the time, but the ends would droop just a bit from the lasting damage of the frostbite. When she shook her head, they would droop, and they'd flop a bit when she ran. They didn't have hair growing on the tips either. But luckily the frostbite was not bad enough to completely loose the tips (have seen that many times). Sometimes kittens have ears like this from mild frostbite, most of mine have stood up as they grew.

The funky ears I personally have dealt with were all from neglect by previous idiot owner. But there are breeds with folded/curled ears. I think they are born with them like that though. Either way it is just extra-special cuteness.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat ears have curled/flopped at tips

I don't really know as I didn't see anything wrong or any swelling before this happened very suddenly. I guess the most likely reason may be that he damaged the blood vessels by violently shaking his head because of the ointment I had to put into his ears all the time.. But they don't seem to be pricking back up again so maybe they will stay this way.

Here is a pic of his ears when I first got him: ... g&newest=1

Here are his ears now (looking serious after lots of exciting play with my boyfriends hand) ... CF8186.jpg
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Old 06-22-2010, 04:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat ears have curled/flopped at tips

He's adorable!!

This is a total longshot, but, in dog breeds with large upright ears, puppies will go through several ear changes as they grow and as they start teething and the teeth start settling into the jaw, etc. His ears ARE big for a cats, so maybe he's having the same issue? If thats the case, they will stand again when the teething is finished. It may happen a few times and change day to day.

Anyway, CUTE! Give him hugs from me!
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