The Cat Breed That Looks Like A Bat

There's a lot to love about house cats. They're cuddly. They're independent. When given enough time, they may even ensure that our bodies are fully disposed of after we die. (Yes, according to WIRED, if alone with your dead body long enough, Fluffy the house cat might just eat you). But what about the fact that one cat breed in particular looks strikingly like a bat? That may or may not be on your list of priorities when selecting your new pet, but having this furry friend around the house will really set the mood come next Halloween.

As the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) explains, rates of cat ownership are increasing. Felines, in fact, are the second most popular pet in the world, second only to that old domesticated favorite, giant anteaters ... or was it dogs? Statistics are hard to focus on (via WorldAtlas). People pick pets for a number of reasons, but as far as one cat breed goes — we'll call them Gotham Kitties after everyone's favorite bat-winged superhero — it's as if someone thought, "That kitty would sure be even more lovable if it pulled a 'Gremlins 2' and turned itself into a gargoyle."

Bat-like looks turned one cat into an online celebrity

Specific bat-like cat breed aside, there is one rare medical condition known to make a cat look something more like a bat — hydrocephalus, or the production of excess spinal fluid in the brain. In 2020, as People reported, a case of hydrocephalus made one nude Sphynx cat named Lucy (pictured)— a typically hairless breed — take on an even more bat-life appearance with big ears, a misshapen skull, bulging eyes, and a hairless face. 

Lucy's owners took the unusual look of their house pet and turned it into an opportunity to share pictures of their cat with a face-only-a-mother-could love on Instagram. That Instagram feed quickly attracted thousands of followers, proving more people may look for a bat-like look in their feline companion than might be expected. 

Speaking with meowAF, Lucy's owner, Zilla Bergamini, said, "Some people just see [Lucy's] strangely shaped skull and weird eyes and think she is too ugly to be a pet. One of her biggest admirers confessed to me that she had very negative thoughts about her the first time she saw her." If @lucythebatcat's following is any measure, that person and thousands of others were converted to Lucy's Count Dracula-meets-Nosferatu appearance.

One cat breed comes by its batty good looks more naturally

Rare medical conditions aside, there is one cat breed that looks a lot like a bat from birth: the Oriental shorthair. The particular feline pictured above is a specialty breed said to "originate" in Thailand, in the same way that Taco Bell originated in Mexico. In other words, there's a common thread, but they're mostly an American product. The breed was developed from Siamese cats, and according to the Cat Fanciers' Association — a group dedicated to fancying cats, no matter the repercussions — the Oriental shorthair is "nothing more or less than a Siamese cat with a designer wardrobe."

That said, today's Orientals originated with European breeders in the 1950s, and according to VetStreet, the breed didn't really hit its stride until the 1970s, when a splinter sect of the Cat Fanciers' Association was established to better inform the public of this fascinating corner of the feline gene pool. With their help, the breed rose in popularity, and new standards were put in place. Oriental shorthairs are described as caring, passionate, and prone to becoming extremely attached to the people in their life. They are also apparently of above-average intelligence, capable of solving simple puzzles and opening drawers for themselves.