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Animal-Eared Headband

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In fiction, there are many ways to show a character is cute. You can give them cute hair decorations. You can give people a Little Bit Beastly Cute Monster Girl. Or, you can give a hint of both, which is where this trope lies.

Adding fake animal ears is a way to keep the media within the bounds of reality and avoid potential Squick while still having the appeal of a Bunny or Cat Girl. They are most often found on a headband, but can also appear on hats, hoodies, or other hair decorations and head coverings. They can sometimes be accentuated with fake tails. Most common are cat ears, although fox, bunny, and dog can also be found.

This is a standard accessory for the Playboy Bunny outfit. It is also a common prop for Cosplay. May be seen on the Bunny-Ears Lawyer.

Compare Signature Headgear, Cat Girl, Unusual Ears, Little Bit Beastly (the latter two when the ears are necessarily real).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Kaiju Girl Caramelise: When Kuroe and Arata go on a date to Destinyland, Arata requests that the two of them buy "Mitchy" ears to wear (Mitchy being a Mocky Mouse who is instead a rabbit). Kuroe refuses, saying that "THEY'RE FOR CUTE GIRLS ONLY!" Arata insists that she is cute.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Starting from the festival arc onward, these make appearances everywhere.
    • Evangeline accepted a bet where she would have to wear cat-ears (plus glasses, a school swimsuit, and the top of a Sailor Fuku) if she lost. Regrettably, Evangeline won this bet, though the readers do get to see Eva with all that stuff on, courtesy of her imagination.
    • Kaede gets some Bear ears for most of the festival arc (you can still see the tag in front of one of them)
    • Also, during the festival, several girls wear cat ears as part of a costume or on their own.
    • During the festival arc, Negi wears at various times a bunny costume, a cat-eared hood, and fox ears (the latter as part of a foxgirl outfit).
    • In the Magical World Arc, a number of the girls wear cat ears as part of disguise.
    • Setsuna, Chachamaru and Ako have cat ears as part of their pactio outfits.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. Harumi Fujiyoshi has a massive affinity for these. She once chased Itoshiki-sensei around town because he had a tail accessory without the proper headgear.
  • In Genshiken, Kanako Ohno tries thoughout the manga to get Saki to wear one. Also, Madarame once put one on her, and she responded by chasing him through the halls with a broom.
  • In K-On!, Azusa is made to wear a cat ears band. The results are well worth it. This also earned her nickname "Azu-nyan".
  • In Maria†Holic, God has a pair. They even move, although her real ears are still visible.
  • The normally serious Nikaido dons these for the Mai Festival teacher's skit in The World God Only Knows. Keima (and most likely the reader) finds this jarring.
  • In Hetalia: Axis Powers, Japan places a cat ear headband on Greece after the latter said that he wishes to be reborn as a cat.
  • In Loveless, cat ears and tails indicate that someone is a virgin. One member of the female Zero team is ashamed of her lack of ears and so wears fake ones.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler:
    • Izumi got cat ears when she was possessed (by a neko-spirit). Not a headband, but also not naturally hers.
    • Hayate himself gets these in his unwilling Instant Cosplay Surprises.
  • "Aki-chan" from Sensitive Pornograph is a rare male, non-cute example. The ears come off as props for his potentially forced bunny play role in his abusive relationship.
  • Hazuki from Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase constantly wears a cat-eared headband, to the extent that in the anime adaptation it seems to be the main point of the entire show. After all, "Neko Mimi Modo Desu~"
  • During the first story arc of Dragon Ball, there is a group of bandits that are identified by the bunny ears they wear on top of their hats. This is to show allegiance toward their leader, who's an anthropomorphic rabbit. Of course, confusion ensues when Bulma arrives in town while dressed as a Playboy Bunny because of Oolong.
  • In early One Piece, the Black Cat Pirates, all of which are males, wear black cat ears, with the exceptions of their captain, Kuro, and first mate, Jango.
  • Teru of Magic of Stella seems to like these.
    • When she leaves the SNS Club for college, she left a rabbit one and all subsequent presidents are supposed to wear it.
    • In episode 10, Tamaki thinks she is wearing one, but it turns out to be an actual cat on her head.
  • In Ouran High School Host Club, Ritsu Kasanoda is briefly shown wearing cat ears as part of his attempt to be less scary. It doesn't work.
  • Naruto and his team mates wear the cat ears version in a filler episode. The ears enable them to understand the cat-people language. The end of the episode has Itachi wearing them as well.
  • Koboshi in Pita-Ten always wears a pair of fake cat ears, until her hairstyle change late in manga.
  • Hiiro in Yomeiro Choice. She also sports a strap that hangs off the back of her dress that clearly mimics a tail.
  • Kuro Kagami in Kodomo no Jikan often sports a pair of cat ears to complement whatever she's wearing from her Unlimited Wardrobe.
  • Tsugumi from Guilty Crown wears a cat-eared headband, has Cute Little Fangs, and sometimes displays cat-like mannerisms.
  • The Third Rebuild of Evangelion film gives Asuka Shikinami a cat eared hat that is now for sale.
  • Nagisa Momoe from Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion wears a cat-eared hat as part of her Magical Girl outfit.
  • In Sands of Destruction, Kyrie likes wearing cat ears. He eventually convinces Morte to wear rabbit ears, though she's less amused and only doing it out of necessity, as beastmen show more than a little Fantastic Racism towards humans.
  • There's an entire chapter of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War devoted to the main cast trying on cat-ear headbands. Both Shirogane and Kaguya end up suffering a Cuteness Overload at the sight of each other wearing them and their use in the student council room is subsequently banned.
    Fujiwara: Cat ears are scary!!
  • Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon: Moroha wears a red hair ribbon that evokes the dog ears of her father, Inuyasha.
  • Yuri!!! on Ice:
    • The members of Yuri "Yurio" Plisetsky's Groupie Brigade, the "Yuri Angels", are easily recognizable by their cat-eared headbands (since Yurio is known for his love of cats). Yurio ends up wearing a cat-eared headband himself in Episode 8, when a fan throws him one as a gift at the end of his short program and it lands squarely on his head.
    • The hoods of the Nishigori triplets' vests all have animal ears on them; Axel's hood has bear's ears, Lutz's has bunny ears, and Loop's has cat ears.
  • Umaru from Himouto! Umaru-chan has her trademark hamster hood, which she only wears at home. The anime's second opening also shows her wearing a variety of different animal hoods.
  • Hidomi from FLCL Progressive & Alternative wears headphones with cat ears on them. They're very precious to her and she's very reluctant to take them off.
  • In Gundam Build Fighters Try: Island Wars, Shia Kijima wears a sleeveless hoodie with cat ears on the hood. To go with that themeing, her Gunpla for the short, the 00 Shia Qan [T] has cat ears on its head.

    Comic Books 
  • The Cat (a.k.a. Greer Grant Nelson), from Marvel's short-lived 1972 series, wears a masked hood with cat ears as part of her costume. She later mutated into the Little Bit Beastly Tigra, and the discarded costume was eventually adopted, hood and all, by Hellcat (a.k.a. Patsy Walker), of Marvel's The Avengers and The Defenders teams.
  • The Cheetah (aka Priscilla Rich), longtime foe of DC's Wonder Woman, wore a masked hood with cat ears as part of her costume. A second Cheetah (aka Deborah Domaine), succeeded her aunt as Wonder Woman's enemy, her own costume involving her wearing a cat-eared headband instead of the hood.
  • Catwoman, of Batman fame, wears a masked hood with cat ears in most of her incarnations.
  • Batman himself always has tiny bat-ears on his cowl, in all incarnations.
  • Runaways. Molly Hayes wore a kitty-eared hat at least once.
  • Barbara Thorson of I Kill Giants wears these to give herself Unusual Ears. It also helps to serve as visual shorthand for how other people in the story see her as an outsider and "weirdo."
  • Squirrel Girl wears a squirrel-ear headband as of her 2015 solo series. This addition to her costume tends to appear in comics (and assorted tie-in material) published later.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): The Holldiay Girls have Gel Osey wear a sexy cat outfit including a cat eared headband as punishment if she wants to stay in their sorority after she nearly sabotages a project to create a rocket to fly to Venus in her jealously and ignorance. The lesson doesn't stick and she goes out that night and messes up the project thinking that those who worked on it are no better than her.
  • Critter wears an animal-eared headband with cat-like ears. They interface with her natural telekinesis to enhance her focus, and provide additional capabilities of their own: The ears help her to focus her abilities, and extend the reach of her senses. On at least one occasion, they allow her to hear despite the fact that her eardrums have been blown out by a villain's sonic attack.

    Comic Strips 
  • Foxtrot: One strip has a worried-looking Roger ask his wife if she remembers what he said about his bachelor party, where his friends drank and told stories. He then says he might have kept a souvenir... cue Jason in Playboy bunny ears, which he's mistaken for an Easter bunny costume.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls the main characters don horse-ears headbands and tails as part of Canterlot High's cheerleader outfit during the big musical number, since the mascot of the school is a horse. They makes a comeback in the short "Shake Your Tails!" for a party, and in the sequel Friendship Games for a pep rally and later during the title games.
  • Turning Red: Mei and her friends expand on their scheme to get enough money for tickets to the 4*Town concert by selling headbands with red panda ears on them, along with fake tails and other red panda-themed merchandise they make themselves. Stacy immediately buys the red panda ears and tail and walks out of the girls' bathroom while wearing them.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. On Halloween, Elliott's mother dresses up in a leopard costume complete with an Animal-Eared Headband.
  • The Josie and the Pussycats film has cat-ear bands that were part of a plot to secretly brainwash teenagers into buying whatever the villains wanted them to.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, Selina Kyle wears a pair of flip-down goggles that look like cat ears when they are in the up position.
  • In Mean Girls, many of the girls at the Halloween party are wearing these as part of their Sexy Whatever Outfit. "I'm a mouse, duh."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: Wilfred Mott loves wearing reindeer antler headbands at Christmas. During a Christmas scene in "Turn Left" he's wearing two headbands at the same time, much to his daugher's embarrassment.
    Sylvia: Dad, take those things off.
    Wilfred: No, I shan't! It's Christmas.
  • In Riverdale, Josie and the Pussycats wear cat ears as "part of their brand".


  • Kana Kana of the hat variety.
  • Ariana Grande wore mouse ears while performing her song Problem at the 2014 Radio Disney Music Awards and she wore cat ears in Love Me Harder music video.


    Theme Parks 
  • Theme parks usually sell these; the most famous example is Mickey Ears from Disney Theme Parks.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy XII:
    • The Cat-Eared hood is an equipable accessory that ups speed by a lot.
    • The Devout Class in Final Fantasy III and Seer Class in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and A2 have Cat-Eared Hoods.
    • Krille's White Mage job class in Final Fantasy V has a cat-eared hood. This is probably to be cuter rather than sexier, given her age.
    • Catmancers like Minette in Bravely Second all have cat-eared hoods as part of the outfit.
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2: Female staff at the Serendipity casino wear cat-eared headbands.
  • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII: A wide variety of animal-eared headbands are available as adornments.
  • In Resonance of Fate, some of Leanne's hair bands have cat ears.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask have the bunny hood which increases speed in Majora's Mask and stopped the skeleton enemies from showing up in Hyrule Field as Young Link Ocarina of Time.
  • In Super Smash Bros.., from Melee onward, equipping the Bunny Hood from the aforementioned Zelda games will increase a character's running speed and drastically increase said character's jumping height. Any character. Including Mewtwo and Ganondorf.
  • Guild Wars: Cat-eared headgear was handed out as a freebie during Halloween 2010. It's purely ornamental and has no game effect.
  • Ragnarok Online has various types of animal headbands, like the Kitty Band (which has oddly round ears instead of pointy) and the Bunny Band.
  • Tales of Vesperia has the Bunny Ears Guild, which gives you bunny headbands for various characters in exchange for acquiring titles. Rita also gets a waitress costume which involves cat ears — presumably on barrettes as they are not attached to a band — and a different headband with a cat face decoration on it.
  • Trickster Online. Every character has these and a detachable tail by default. Each character type is actually named after which animals ears/tail they have. Odd thing is, they cannot be unequipped until you reach Lv 20. Also are non-dropable and have their own equip slots, so they don't hog any real inventory space. Most headgear also let the ears clip through, as if they had holes in them, but capes hide the tail completely.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • The game has an achievement for Easter to cast bunny ears on a woman of every playable race above level 18.
    • It also has the literal version of the trope, a wearable item that gives one bunny ears.
  • Kokari of Ōkami wears a rabbit pelt over his head. The ears of the pelt are positioned where they would be if he were an anthropomorphic rabbit. It makes him look both cuter and tougher at the same time.
  • Team Fortress 2: One hat is the top half of a rabbits head, a pre-order bonus from Sam And Max.
  • Pangya features cat ears for most of the characters for sale for pang.
  • The Boss can buy and equip cat-eared headbands in Saints Row 2.
  • Rune Factory Frontier uses Virtual Paper Doll for head equipments. One of the more powerful headgears happen to be a bunny ears headband.
  • An equippable item for Pericci, the Cat Girl (and thus totally superfluous), in the first Star Ocean.
  • For some reason, local zombie girl Nanashi is sporting cute pink rabbit ears Duel Savior Destiny. Why this is is never elaborated on.
  • The Project Diva series of Rhythm Games lets you customize your character (the Vocaloids of course) with accessories that include these after you purchase them with points earned in the game.
  • Annie, the Dark Child from League of Legends wears a hairband with red kittie ears.
  • In Dungeon Maker II: The Hidden War the female main character can wear nekomata ears as a hat.
  • A possible accessory in HunieCam Studio, which can be used to appeal to the furry fetish.
  • One of the side quests in Dragon Quest IX involves a girl whose cat needs cheering up. The solution? Someone in the Hero's party must be equipped with a set of cat ears.
  • Usalia from Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance wears a rabbit-eared headband, with earmuffs covering her regular ears. However, she is actually a rabbit demon, and if her mother is any indication, her real rabbit ears are inside the fake ones.
  • Love Nikki - Dress Up Queen has several outfits like this:
    • Cat: Tabby Cat (Jingle Kitty might be as well, but it's unclear whether the ears are a headband or real.)
    • Rabbit: Rabbit and Camellias, Fluffy Lop. There's also the hooded sweatshirt "Bunny Pocket", which has ears.
  • Genki Girl Iris in AI: The Somnium Files is never seen without her cat ear headband. In the Golden Ending she reveals that she wore it to keep her brain cancer from spreading, but even though she doesn't need it anymore she feels naked without it at this point.
  • The Dead or Alive series has this for some of the costumes.
  • Vikala from Granblue Fantasy, who's one of the Twelve Divine Generals who each represent an animal from the Eastern Zodiac; since she represents the Rat, she wears a headband with mouse ears on it. The headband is a Magic Feather for her, since she acts very energetic and outgoing while wearing it but becomes shy and introverted when it's taken off.
  • In the Foundation DLC for Control, completing a side quest to find 8 Maneki Neko statues earns Jesse a cat-ears headband.
  • Schezo from Puyo Puyo typically averts the trope, but he has an alternate costume in Puyo Puyo!! Quest called Nekomimi Schezo that gives him a cat tail and a cat-eared headband.
  • Miku Maekawa from THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls almost always wears fake cat ears, due to her habit of constantly pretending to be a Cat Girl. The anime reveals that she owns several pairs of cat ears.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Inverted with Blake Belladonna. For most of Volumes 1-3, Blake wears a head ribbon which is hiding her real Faunus ears.
    • Played straight with Neon Katt's hoodie in Volume 7, which has cat ears sewn into it, but which she is never seen pulling into place.
  • Mystery Skulls Animated: Lewis's little sister Cayenne has a horned headband and Lewis, Vivi, Arthur and Shiromori have been shown wearing animal ear headphones in official merchandise.

  • Spacetrawler: Yuri starts off wearing a cat-ears headband. She eventually replaces them with real cat ears.
  • In the Lucky Bunny Bounty Show, in El Goonish Shive, bunny ears appear to be Unusagi's Iconic Item.
    • In a filler strip, female Elliot and Catalina hang out in a store that sell these and decide to try some on and act silly. Ironically, canonically, both of them can transform into forms that have real cat ears.
  • Homestuck's Draconian Dignitary wears one once.
  • In Girls of the Wild's, Dal Dal is almost never seen without her tiger ears hairclips.
  • Karin-dou 4koma: Seren uses this for a Power Limiter - bunny ears for her normal form, and cat ears for her child form.
  • The eponymous Blade Bunny wears a pair of rabbit ears. And a tail, but she admits that's pure Rule of Cute.
  • In Ménage à 3, it's become taken as read that animal ears headbands are beyond cute...
    • Zii was obliged to cosplay as an anime catgirl character while at work in a comics shop. (This may initially not have been entirely to her taste, but she soon discovered that it had the pleasing effect of disabling most of the customers.) Then the cute kitten-ear headband became a prop in her seduction of Sonya and Sonya's boyfriend.
    • Then Sonya acquired more animal-eared headbands in order to seduce Zii.
    • Later, Jung incorporated this idea into his designs for Zii's band's costumes, which made Zii happy and scrambled Sonya's brain.
    • A few days after that, Sonya and Yuki were trying competitively to seduce each other. When Sonya found that a striptease wasn't quite working, she just dug out the kitten ears. They seem to have become the sexual nuclear option...
  • Luminary Children has Leony with her bear ear headband.
  • The Touhou Project fan-comic Four Seasons House is a High School AU where all the characters are ordinary human beings; as a result, characters who are a Little Bit Beastly in the games like Reisen and Chen wear these so they still have their iconic appearances (and presumably because they would look weird without the ears).
  • Both Max and his cousin Sam from Younger Days have "onesie" pyjamas with hoods which have cat ears (Max's is a black and white cat and Sam's is tiger-like). Max has also worn a cat-hat (eyes and ears) and a cat costume for Halloween.
  • In Skin Horse, Unity has this look when they visit the Whimsy Little House theme park in "My House is Me", claiming to look like the Whimsy character Tapioca Pudding Cat. Sweetheart isn't sure stitching actual bobcat ears to her scalp has the same effect, even for a patchwork girl.
  • Shortpacked!: On this page, Lucy demonstrates one that reacts to emotions. Jacob is not that impressed.
  • In Freaking Romance, the only time Zylith doesn't wear her cat ear headband is when she's sleeping. Combined with her love for her cat, Mr. Purrfect, this shows her to be a Kind Hearted Cat Lover.
  • The Lounge's resident cutie-pie and cat lover Jamie MacKenzie sometimes wears a cat ear headband, moreso in earlier strips than later ones.
  • Super Rivals: Ascended Fangirl Cindi wears a pair of rabbit ears as part of her Thunder Bunny costume, which combined with her Leotard of Power makes her look like a superpowered Playboy Bunny.

    Western Animation 
  • Josie and the Pussycats theme song.
    Josie and the Pussycats
    Long tails and ears for hats...
  • The above is satirized by the character of Foxy Love in Drawn Together, though she tended to drift into Little Bit Beastly at times... that is to say, whenever it was funnier that way.
  • Wakfu:
    • Yugo's hat, and the hats of all Eliatropes in The Guardians spin-off, all have animal ears on them.
    • In the Gobbowl story arc, all the cheerleaders (including Amalia and Evangelyne) wear bunny-ears headbands.
  • Younger daughter Louise in Bob's Burgers is never seen without her hat with bunny ears. It suits her borderline psycho persona.
  • Finn from Adventure Time wears a hat with bear ears. His female counterpart, Fiona wears a bunny-eared hat instead.
  • Gravity Falls, "Boss Mabel": Dipper dons a wolf-eared headband as part of his Pre-Teen Wolf Boy costume.
  • Cat Noir from Miraculous Ladybug has cat ear-shaped hairclips as part of his outfit, though they sometimes move as though they were real cat ears.
  • Maney from Craig of the Creek wears a horse-eared headband (or it may just be a cat-eared headband that she pretends are horse ears) since she's part of a group of girls who love horses so much that they spend their time pretending to be horses themselves.
  • Luz from The Owl House has a cat-eared hood on her shirt, though the ears aren't visible unless she pulls it over her head.
  • Ready Jet Go!: Mindy wears a hat with bear ears on it. She also wears a nightcap with bear ears, and her space helmet has bear ears.
  • Molly of Denali: Trini's winter hat has bear ears on it.

    Real Life 
  • Waitresses at the Playboy Club used to have to wear these.
  • And now there's a version that reacts to your brainwaves.
  • During Christmas season, it's not unusual to see workers in retail businesses (gift shops, coffee houses, etc) wearing reindeer antler headbands.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Cat Eared Hood, Cat Eared Headband, Nekomimi Headband


CN City - Egg-Hunters Unite!

Easter is the time for rabbit ears in CN City.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / AnimalEaredHeadband

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