Today, over-ear headphones come in countless shapes and styles- it’s no exaggeration to say there’s one for everyone, no matter your thematic, color, or stylistic preferences. Cat ear headphones are a style of headset that is rapidly growing in popularity worldwide in both Japanese and Western societies.
The history of cat ear headphones, and the inspiration from Japanese comics where human characters were given feline-like features is incredibly interesting and I’d definitely recommend giving it a read if you’re serious about getting your hands on a quality pair of cat ear headphones.
If you’re looking for a quick summary, scroll down to the end of this article where we take you through how the idea for cat ear headphones was essentially conceived, how the production came about, and what caused their rapidly rising popularity in recent years.
How we chose the cat ear headphones on this list
We have a pretty extensive knowledge of headsets, and while these cat ear headphones are a little different, we applied our expertise to find the top 6 on the market today based on the following crucial elements. Aside from sound quality, of course, here are some additional factors that can severely impact the performance of a pair of cat ear headphones.
No matter the quality and features of the headset itself, these kitty headsets are popular because of the cat ears situated on the headband. They’re available in a large variety of colors, shapes, and styles. Some may have RGB lights on the cat ears, while others can be removed and reattached as you please.
Any good pair of over-ear headphones should have a decent amount of noise cancellation, whether through the materials used, or an active noise cancellation system. This directly affects the quality of the sound you’ll be hearing, so it’s an important factor to consider.
Even if you don’t plan on using these for long hours, your overall listening experience is greatly affected by how the headphones feel when in use. The materials used in the headband and cups can make or break the experience, so be on the lookout for quality, breathable materials that’ll prevent sweating, and the ability to adjust the headband and cups are also incredibly important.
It’s essentially up to you if you’re looking for a wireless or wired pair of cat ear headphones, since they’re more of an aesthetic-based product you may not want dangling cables in your gaming stream or socials posts. You may also want a built-in microphone, some cat ear headphones support this feature, and some even allow for the microphone to be removed and reattached as you need it.
The Best Overall Cat Ear Headphones
The Yowu RGB 4 Cat Ear Headphones are our all-time favorites. Promising high-fidelity audio, comfortable fit, mesmerizing RGB lighting effects, and a high-quality onboard microphone, these cat ear headphones are a great set for gamers, influencers, film fanatics, and anyone in-between.
The Most Versatile Cat Ear Headphones
From gaming headset legends, Razer, the Kraken Cat Ear Headphones marry the best gaming headset with the aesthetic of kitty ear headphones. Customizable RGB lights in millions of patterns, 7.1 surround sound, and removable cat ears are just some of the versatile features of this pair of cat ear headphones.
The Best Bluetooth Cat Ear Headphones
The original manufacturer of cat ear headphones, Axent Wear, make an appearance on our list with their flagship model that supports Bluetooth connectivity, RGB lights, wired connections, and an onboard microphone.
The Best Cat Ear Headphones for Kids
Brightly colored, comfortable, and safe, the FosPower Cat Ear Headphones are our tip pick for children. Difficult to break and safe to use with onboard volume limiting, these headsets are an ideal first pair of headphones for kids.
The Best RGB Lighting Cat Ear Headphones
The SIMGAL Bluetooth Cat Ear Headphones pair make an appearance on this list for their incredible RGB lighting modes/options, as well as other versatile and useful features. While they make our list for eye-catching looks, they sure do sound great too.
The Best Budget-Friendly Cat Ear Headphones
The Somic G951 Cat Ear Headphones carry versatile features, brilliant sound quality, and features for an affordable pair great for kids or for the gimmick factor.
YOWU RGB 4 Cat Ear Headphones
Starting off with our premium choice, the YOWU RGB 4 cat ear headphones combine high-quality headset performance with the trendy aesthetic of cat ear headphones to deliver this promising high-performance pair of cans. Available in three colors, the YOWU RGB 4 headset is designed to suit any game/streaming environment.
Starting with the sound quality, the YOWU RGB 4 supplies high-quality stereo sound through a 50mm driver to provide an immersive listening experience for music, games, and movies. The companion app allows you to set up sound effects for various scenarios, as well as control the extensive lighting modes, colors, and effects.
The ear cups and kitty ear extensions on the YOWU RGB 4 cat ear headphones are illuminated by RGB lights, where you can choose between several light effects and modes, as well as an overwhelming selection of colors. The onboard boom-style microphone is detachable and utilized active noise cancellation technology to provide noise-free streams or in-game communications.
When the RGB lights are inactive, the YOWU RGB 4 can operate for up to 48 hours on a single charge. The RGB lights can seriously drain this battery, though, as a playtime of around 8-10 hours can only be supported here, however, this cat ear headset can be fully recharged within 60 minutes.
The YOWU RGB 4 cat ear headphones support Bluetooth 5.0 to provide a latency-free gaming experience, or a 3.5mm auxiliary cable can be linked to your gaming console, PC or certain non-Bluetooth compatible devices.
While this pair of cat ear headphones is by far the most expensive on this list, the guaranteed sound and microphone quality, mesmerizing RGB lights, and durable, comfortable build make for a worthwhile purchase if you’re serious about kitty ear headsets.
What We Like
What We Dislike
Razer Kraken Headphones with Cat Ears
On our list for its incredible versatility, the Razer Kraken Cat Ear Headphones are high-performance headphones primarily used by gamers, though music lovers and film enthusiasts will find much joy in this headset with detachable cat ears.
The Kraken kitty headphones can connect via a wired USB-A connection or Bluetooth, and offer a 7.1 surround sound experience using THX’s Spatial Audio technology. These headphones feel great to wear, though extended use may become uncomfortable as they are a little heavier than most headsets, especially when the cat ears are attached. The boom microphone can be attached as needed and features active noise cancellation technology providing noise-free communications in games and streams.
The Kraken cat ear headphones utilize Razer’s Chroma LED lighting system that operates from the ear cup to the cat ears. The Chroma LED system features 16.8 million colors, patterns, and lighting effects, which can be customized using the Chroma Studio app, and extra lighting effects can be calibrated using Razer’s Streamer App.
The Kraken range of Razer headphones features other gaming headsets at affordable prices.
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What We Dislike
Axent Wear Cat Ear Headphones
The original cat ear headphones manufacturer, Axent, has kept its place being one of the best on the market. Here we list them as the best Bluetooth headset, though its additional features and specifications are certainly worth discussing.
Axent’s cat ear headphones are slightly different from the others on this list, as the cat ear extensions situated on the headband can act as loudspeakers themselves. While the main headset is in use, the kitty ears can play music out loud- a bit of a strange feature, and personally, I don’t see the point in this, as headphones are supposed to provide a private listening experience, but I’m sure some could enjoy this feature. The cat ears also light up along with the main headset’s ear cups.
As for connectivity options, the Axent cat ear headphones support Bluetooth connectivity, though the version is not specified, I would assume it is one of the newer, higher-performing codecs. For wired connections, a 3.5mm auxiliary cable can be used to connect your cell phone, gaming console, DVD player, or computer.
The battery life of the Axent cat ear headphones is another impressive quality, capable of running for a total of 30 hours on a charge time of only 1.5 hours.
The onboard microphone is built into the headset and cannot be adjusted or removed. The quality of the mic is decent enough for in-game communications or live streams, but it doesn’t have any noise-cancellation capabilities.
The only let-down with these Axent cat ear headphones is the ridiculous weight of the headset. The weight of this pair of headphones can become seriously annoying when used for extended time periods, which is to be expected for a gaming-focused headset.
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What We Dislike
FosPower Cat Ear Headphones
Designed for use by children, the FosPower cat ear headphones are designed with children’s listening health and comfortability in mind. This brightly-colored cat ear headset is available in two color combinations and makes for a great children’s gift.
The FosPower cat ear headphones are designed and built with great attention to detail as far as comfort and safety are concerned. The first feature to catch my attention was the built-in volume limiter. This limiter is non-adjustable, permanently set at 85dB, which is about as loud as a blender. The aim of this is to prevent children from pushing the volume to the max and potentially causing serious long-term damage to their hearing, though 85dB is not exactly quiet, so I’d recommend limiting the amount of time spent at this volume level.
The cable for the FosPower cat ear headphones is laced, preventing tangling issues or trip hazards for your child. The padded ear cups and headband are specifically designed for children’s use, as they are incredibly comfortable and well-padded to prevent any scratching or unwanted pressure on your child’s head or ears.
The headset itself is also incredibly well-built and should survive multiple drops, throws, and whatever else may cause other headsets to suffer at the hands of children. As for lighting effects, the built-in light feature can be turned on and off as you please.
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SIMGAL Bluetooth Cat Ear Headphones
The SIMGAL Bluetooth cat ear headphone set is heavily advertised as a children’s pair, though it can certainly be used by adults for gaming, streaming, or casual listening. The SIMGAL cat ear headphones are available in three colors and hold a variety of handy features.
The cat ear extensions and ear cups are RGB backlit, supporting only one constant color with no flashing, breathing, or interactive effect modes. The lights can be activated or deactivated using a button on the headphone’s control panel found on the ear cup. These cat ear headphones support Bluetooth connectivity, as well as 3.5mm auxiliary connections for your computer, cell phone, TV, or gaming console.
On the control strip on the ear cup, you can control volume, RGB lights on/off, skip/rewind songs, as well as pause music from the headset itself. The built-in microphone is not adjustable or removable, though it does feature some noise-cancellation technology.
As for comfort, the ear cups and headband are heavily padded with memory foam, and the breathability of this headset allows for long-term use. The ear cups can fold within the headband in a swivel-like fashion for convenient storage.
The sound quality of these cat ear headphones is rather impressive, offering surround sound enhanced listening and a Hi-Fi-like sound signature, which may not be the greatest for critical listening, though for gaming, streaming, and movies, these will certainly elevate your listening experience.
The SIMGAL cat ear headphones are one of the more affordable options on this list, though the value for money offered here is outstanding. If taken care of, this kitty ear headset should last countless entertaining hours.
To complete your game or stream setup, SIMGAL also produces a range of RGB keyboards, gaming mice, and colorful headphone stands.
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Somic G951 Cat Ear Headphones
Offering incredible value for money, the Somic G951 cat ear headphones with detachable kitty ears are great gaming or film-viewing headset with a variety of handy features to elevate your listening experience.
The Somic G951 cat ear headphones connect to your PC, console, or TV via a USB connection, and are powered through the USB port. For a wireless option, Somic also makes the G2510 cat ear headphones that include some other additional features. Like most others, these cat ear headphones have a set of LED lights on the ear cups which operate on a breathing-style effect, this, unfortunately, can’t be adjusted as it’s the only lighting mode available.
For gamers who are film enthusiasts, the sound quality here is nothing short of intensely immersive. A 7.1 surround sound system puts you in the center of the action, and an additional vibrating effect (which can be toggled on/off) provides an additional form of 4-dimensional experiential listening.
On the side of the ear cups, you have control over the vibration mode, LED lights, volume up & down controls, and microphone on/off modes. The ear cups are a little larger than usual and form a tight seal when in use, providing a form of passive noise cancellation, however, the ear cups aren’t the most comfortable as the padding isn’t very thick and the lining doesn’t allow for much breathability. As for the headband, the Somic G951 cat ear headphones use a self-adjusting setup, rather than the more commonly-seen locking style.
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How did cat ear headphones come about?
It all begins with the introduction of such cat-human characters, pioneered by the Japanese children’s literature artist Kenji Miyazawa back in 1924. The Western comic market drew inspiration from such concepts, which brought about the birth of characters like DC’s Catwoman and Cheetah, and Marvel’s Black Cat, among many others.
In more recent years, an anime artist known as Wenqing Yan came across the idea of cat ear headphones while working on an animation and quickly partnered up and launched a crowdfunding campaign to bring the idea to life.
As manufacturing commenced, Yan learned that the factory set up by her partner was failing in numerous spheres, leading to a lawsuit, though this wasn’t the end of Wenqing Yan’s story. What seemed to be a disastrous business was momentarily saved by Brookstone, who promised to develop the cat ear headphones on a large scale under the name Axent Wear. Not long after the first brand of cat ear headphones hit the market, it became clear that Brookstone was incapable of handling the large-scale production of the product on a limited budget, and so many units were returned due to manufacturing faults.
The resulting collection of disgruntled customers was quickly noticed by rival brands already producing top-selling headsets who saw the market gap and swiftly began rolling out higher-quality cat ear headphones.
What is the state of the market today?
In addition to well-respected brands such as Razer pushing their cat ear headphones onto the market, a larger series of waves in the market was created by early internet personalities and celebrities, particularly those with links to the children’s market, comic fanbase, and the Western obsession with Japanese anime culture. From there, online streamers began sporting the headsets, generating a powerful trend.
Due to the rapidly growing popularity of cat ear headphones today, the market is expectedly over saturated, and because of the gimmicky nature of the product, many manufacturers overlook the primary function of a headset: to offer comfortable fitting and high-quality sound, among other vital features.
This makes it challenging to find a good pair of cat ear headphones today, as it’ll require a reasonable understanding of audio products to untangle the worthwhile purchases from the heaps of garbage crawling online markets. This is why we’ve compiled a list of our 6 favorite cat ear headphones to guide you through the process.