A few months ago, I wrote about American Curl cats, a breed characterized by unusual, folded ears. However, I was pleasantly surprised that there is another similar breed, and its name is the Scottish Fold.
Of course, the ears aren’t the only remarkable thing about Scottish Fold cats. So, if you want to learn more about these cute animals, keep reading!
Scottish Fold Cat Characteristics
|Fur color||Any color possible, except for the colors that point out at hybridization (chocolate, lavender, Himalayan pattern, or any of these combined with white color)|
|Fur pattern||Any pattern possible except for the Himalayan pattern|
|Fur length||Short, medium, and long|
|Eye color & shape||Large, rounded eyes with a color corresponding to the fur color|
|Weight||Males 9-13 lbs|
Females 7-11 lbs
|Expected lifespan||11-14 years|
|Temperament||Intelligent, sweet, well-mannered, quiet, loyal, cuddly, friendly, and playful.|
|Kids and other pets||Friendly towards children and other pets|
|Sociable and cuddly||Likes to cuddle, friendly towards strangers|
Requirements & Traits
|Feeding||Adult Scottish Folds should eat 2-3 times a day, while kittens need to eat 3-4 times a day. They should eat meat-based cat food rich in protein.|
|Grooming||Weekly fur brushing and biweekly nail trimming. Regular dental hygiene and gentle cleaning of eyes and ears are also necessary.|
History and Origins
Even though Scottish Folds don’t have an as rich or controversial history as some other breeds, their origin story is still quite interesting. As their name suggests, the country of origin for these cats is Scotland.
However, this breed is not very old, only a few decades. The first ever Scottish Fold was a barn cat named Susie. Susie was born in 1961 on a farm near a small town in Scotland. Her ears were folded in the middle.
Soon, Susie had her first litter, and two of the kittens had the same folded ears. A neighboring farmer, William Ross, was also a cat enthusiast, so he took one of the kittens with folded ears.
Ross planned to start a new breed, so he started breeding the kittens, and he registered this new breed at Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) in the United Kingdom in 1966.
With the help of geneticist Pat Turner, Ross started the official breeding program, which produced 76 kittens, 42 of which had folded ears. This served as proof that folded ears were a mutation of the dominant gene.
Unfortunately, Susie didn’t live long enough to enjoy her status as a Scottish Fold foundation cat. Soon after she gave birth to her kittens, she got hit by a car and passed away.
One of her two kittens with folded ears was neutered and never reproduced. However, the second kitten was a female named Snooks, and her offspring were used to create the Scottish Fold breed.
Arrival In The USA
Snook and her offspring were bred with British Shorthairs and other domestic cats. Interestingly enough, this newly founded breed didn’t gain much popularity in the UK, not even in Scotland.
However, Scottish Folds were exported to the US, and there they enjoyed so much popularity. The breeders continued to breed Scottish Folds with British Shorthairs and domestic shorthairs, but they also introduced the American Shorthair into the mix.
Despite its popularity, Scottish Fold cats are facing numerous issues even today. The same gene mutation that is responsible for the folded ears is also responsible for some serious health issues and physical defects.
Since this mutation basically affects the development of cartilage not only in the ears but also throughout the rest of the body, Scottish Fold cats are prone to various limb defects and other health issues, which I will cover a bit later.
For this reason, breeders avoid breeding two Scottish Folds with folded ears. They even avoid crossing a Scottish Fold with folded ears with another Scottish Fold that has normal ears. They do this because kittens whose both parents are Scottish Folds are extremely prone to health issues, and they are often born with serious deformities.
Instead, breeders continue to breed Scottish Folds with British Shorthairs, American Shorthairs, and domestic shorthairs. Still, the litters are usually quite small, and not every kitten is born with folded ears.
Scottish Fold Cat Personality
Despite these breeding issues, Scottish Fold cats aren’t problematic at all. Their temperament is perfect for first-time cat owners and for those that don’t want loud and hyperactive cats.
Scottish Folds are placid, quiet, even-tempered, well-mannered, easy-going, loyal, affectionate, playful, friendly, and adaptable to every home and family. They enjoy the attention, but they aren’t clingy. However, Scottish Folds should be left alone for prolonged periods of time.
Additionally, Scottish fold cats are great with children and other pets because of their adaptability to various temperaments and activity levels.
Scottish Fold Cat Appearance
Scottish Fold cats are one of those breeds that are best known for their peculiar body features. For Scottish Folds, this peculiar feature is certainly their folded ears, just like their name suggests.
Not every Scottish Fold cat (i.e., the offspring of a Scottish Fold with folded ears) has folded ears. Those cats are often called Scottish Straights, and their ears look completely normal.
The first Scottish Fold cats had ears that had one fold in each ear, but through selective breeding, breeders have managed to breed Scottish Folds with two or even three folds per ear. In such cats, ears lay completely flat against the head.
Scottish Fold cats can have fur of different lengths. Some of these cats are short-haired, some are long-haired, and others are somewhere in between. When it comes to fur colors and patterns, all colors and patterns are allowed.
This means a true Scottish Fold can be black, brown, white, cream, orange, gray, etc., and its fur pattern can be solid, bicolor, calico, tabby, smoked, tortoiseshell, etc. The only color and pattern that isn’t allowed is Himalayan fur pattern and color combinations that show signs of the Himalayan fur pattern.
Regardless of its color, pattern, or length, Scottish Fold’s fur is plush, dense, and soft to the touch. Fur’s texture may depend on the season of the year and temperature changes, as well as on the individual cat’s ancestry.
Scottish Fold cats have large, round, and expressive eyes. The eye color corresponds to the fur color.
Scottish Folds are medium-sized cats, and as with other cat breeds, males are larger than females. A male Scottish fold cat typically weighs 9-13 pounds, and his body length ranges from 14 to 16 inches.
On the other hand, female Scottish Folds usually weigh between 7 and 11 pounds, and their body length ranges from 12 to 14 inches.
Other Body Characteristics
Scottish Fold cats have rounded, medium-sized, and well-padded bodies. Their legs are short and coarse, with rounded paws. Front paws have five toes, while back paws have four toes.
The tail is medium to long and proportionate to the rest of the body. It is also flexible, tapering, and sometimes rounded.
The head is well-rounded and blends into a short neck. The chin is well-defined, the muzzle and whisker pads are rounded, and the cheeks are prominent.
Daily Life With Scottish Fold Cat
Scottish Fold cats are pretty undemanding cats, but there are still some basic requirements for their care. By following these requirements, you will make sure your Scottish Fold leads a happy and healthy life.
When it comes to feeding, Scottish Fold cats don’t have any specific needs or requirements. Their dietary needs are the same as for most other cat breeds. This means that they are obligate carnivores and hence should only eat meat-based foods rich in animal protein.
Kittens and young Scottish Folds need to eat more often than adults because they are still growing. For them, recommended frequency of feeding is 3-4 times per day, while adult Scottish Folds should eat 2-3 times per day.
For the exact feeding frequency and portion size, consult your vet. They will be able to come up with the best diet plan based on your cat’s age, size, gender, activity level, and health status.
It is important that you provide your Scottish Fold cat with high-quality food. This includes both dry and wet cat food. Both food types have their own benefits; wet food is good for keeping your cat hydrated, while dry food is good for cleaning your cat’s teeth. Apart from that, your cat should have constant access to fresh drinking water.
This is another aspect of Scottish Fold care that won’t require you too much effort. Still, you will need to make some effort, and you need to be persistent. For example, you should brush your Scottish Fold’s fur at least once a week. This will keep the fur free of knots and tangling, and it will also keep the skin healthy by distributing excess oils.
Nail trimming is also important if you want your furniture free of scratch marks. Trimming your cat’s nails every two weeks will be more than enough to keep them short all the time. If your cat resists nail trimming, consider taking it to a professional pet groomer.
Regular dental hygiene is also important for your cat’s health as it can prevent many potential dental issues that can seriously lower your cat’s quality of life. If possible, teach your Scottish Fold to put up with teeth brushing while it is still a kitten. This way, it will be more likely to tolerate it once it grows up. Alternatively, offer some teeth-cleaning snacks to your cat.
Eye and ear areas can sometimes get dirty, so it is important that you clean them gently with a wet cotton cloth or paper towel. Additionally, since Scottish Folds have unique ear anatomy, earwax buildup is common, so you should clean it regularly.
Also, since the ears are folded, they are also more prone to various infections and rashes due to lack of air circulation. If you notice any unusual discharge, redness, swelling, itchiness, mites, or irritation, take your Scottish Fold to the vet.
Scottish Fold cats are playful and active, but they aren’t hyperactive. This means that a moderate amount of playtime every day will be enough to keep them fit and stimulated.
Your Scottish Fold cat needs to have a few cat toys, a scratching tree, and a climbing/jumping tree. Additionally, your should take some time every day to play and cuddle with your Scottish Fold.
Scottish Fold cats love the outdoors, and they love to play and explore the outside world. However, you should only let these cats play outside under your strict supervision. You can leash train them and take them for a walk or jogging session every now and then.
Having a small child or another pet is a great way to keep your Scottish Fold cat entertained. However, if you have a small child, you need to teach it how to handle the cat. Under no circumstance your child (or anyone else) should pull your Scottish Fold’s tail.
Tail-pulling is very painful, not only for Scottish Folds but also for any other cat. It can lad to serious injuries, and Scottish folds seem to be especially sensitive. This is why you should touch its tail and surrounding area very gently.
Most Common Scottish Fold Cat Health Issues
I already mentioned that Scottish Fold cats are prone to various health issues due to their inherited gene mutation responsible for folded ears. This gene mutation also affects the development of cartilage tissue all over the cat’s body.
As a result, every Scottish Fold cat suffers from some degree of degenerative joint disease. They are also susceptible to some other health issues, so let’s take a closer look at some of them:
This condition is a direct result of the gene mutation that also causes folded ears. This gene mutation doesn’t affect the cat’s ears only; it also affects the rest of the cartilage tissue. Since cartilage tissue is closely connected to joints and other parts of the body, it is easy to see why cartilage tissue defects can be painful and dangerous for your cat.
Scottish Fold cats diagnosed with osteochondrodysplasia suffer from abnormal bone growth and joint deformities. If your Scottish Fold shows some symptoms, such as limping, abnormal limb and/or joint positions, weakness, difficulty walking, and loss of bowel/bladder control, it might be suffering from osteochondrodysplasia.
I think it is needless to say, if you notice any of these symptoms, you should take your Scottish fold cat to the vet. Even though there is no cure for this condition, there are some treatment options that can reduce the pain and increase your cat’s mobility and overall quality of life.
Ear mites are parasitic insects that live in a cat’s ear canal, feeding on earwax and dead skin. While every cat can get ear mites, cats with folded ears are especially vulnerable because the mites are harder to notice and get rid of.
If your cat shows some of the symptoms, such as excess ear scratching, head shaking, an unusual and dark discharge from the ears, ear redness/inflammation, and even a strong odor coming from the ears, it might have mites.
If you notice any of these signs, take your cat to the vet as soon as possible. The vet will prescribe topical drops or oral meds that will help your Scottish Fold cat get rid of these nasty critters.
Various Ear Infections
Sometimes, a Scottish Fold cat will show some of the aforementioned symptoms for ear mites, but upon closer inspection, no ear mites will be found. That’s because this cat doesn’t have ear mites, but it has an ear infection instead.
The symptoms of ear mites and ear infections are practically the same: ear scratching, head shaking, excess and dark discharge, and inflammation. Because of their unique ear anatomy that can trap moisture and dirt, Scottish Fold cats are prone to ear infections.
If you notice any of these symptoms, take your cat to the vet as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter what’s the cause behind the symptoms, as both ear mites and ear infections can cause your cat to suffer.
The vet will be able to determine the exact cause of your cat’s ear problems, and they will also be able to prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Unfortunately, this condition can affect any cat, regardless of its breed. However, in Scottish Fold cats, too much weight can put a strain on already weakened and deformed joints and bones.
Since Scottish Fold cats are already rounded, it can be hard to tell if your cat is at a healthy weight or not. However, if you notice that it gained a lot of weight recently or that you can no longer feel ribs under the skin, your Scottish fold might be overweight.
Apart from putting a strain on a cat’s joints and bones, obesity can cause diabetes and other serious health issues. This is why you should closely monitor your Scottish Fold’s diet and weight and take it to the vet if you believe it might be obese.
The vet will be able to come up with a diet and exercise plan that will help your cat lose weight while still getting all the necessary nutrients.
This is another condition that’s relatively common with this breed of cats. Of course, this doesn’t mean that all Scottish Fold cats are deaf; matter of fact, most of them have normal hearing.
However, the same gene mutation that causes ears to fold can also cause hearing problems. Additionally, hearing loss in Scottish cats doesn’t have to be genetic in nature; it can also be caused by a prolonged and serious ear infection, which is, as I already mentioned above, another common Scottish Fold health issue.
If you notice that your cat doesn’t react to sounds, or if it startles easily, makes weird noises, and sleeps deeply, it might be suffering from hearing loss.
Of course, if you notice any of these symptoms, you should take your cat to the vet. There is no cure for hearing loss, but there are some things you can do to improve your deaf cat’s life quality, and your vet will be able to tell you more about those things.
Scottish Fold Cat Name Suggestions
This section is always a great relief after talking about oftentimes serious health conditions. Naming a cat is always a fun task, especially since there are so many great options to choose from. Here are some of my top picks for Scottish Fold cat names:
- Peter Capaldi
Buying or Adopting A Scottish Fold Cat
Scottish Fold cats aren’t common to find in adoption shelters, but it isn’t impossible. If you happen to find one of these cats in a shelter, the adoption fee will be between $75 and $150.
If, on the other hand, you decide to buy your Scottish Fold direct from a breeder, it will cost you $1200-$3000 and more, depending on the cat’s age, gender, characteristics, and the breeder itself.
Speaking of breeders, it is always important to buy your pets from reputable breeders. However, this is even more important when you are buying an animal prone to health issues due to its specific genetic makeup.
This is why you should make a background check before choosing a particular breeder. Find the reviews and get in contact with people who previously bought from this breeder.
Ask for health certificates. Look for a breeder that’s happy to answer all of your questions. run away from the breeders that don’t want to answer your questions and provide you with health certificates. Finally, don’t buy kittens whose both parents are Scottish Folds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, Scottish Fold cats are known to be good pets, even for first-time cat owners.
As I already said, Scottish Fold cats are hard to breed, and this certainly affects their price. Also, unusual-looking cats, such as Scottish Folds are often more expensive than cats with more conventional appearances.
Yes, since they are hard to breed, that means there aren’t many Scottish Fold cats out there.
No, Scottish Folds aren’t lazy, they are actually quite playful and active, but they aren’t hyperactive as some other breeds.
Scottish Fold cats are known for their friendly nature, and if you socialize your Scottish Fold properly, it will certainly like your dog 🙂
Scottish Fold Cat Alternatives
If reading this article is making you want a Scottish Fold, but you can’t afford or find one, there are some alternatives. Of course, the first alternative that comes to mind is the American Curl cat breed. Just like Scottish Folds, American Curls have folded ears, and they share other similar body features.
If folded ears aren’t your major concern, you can also choose American Shorthair or British Shorthair cats. Both these breeds are often used as outcrosses for the Scottish Fold breed, which makes them a great alternative to Scottish Folds.
Scottish Fold Cat Fun Facts
- Taylor Swift owns two Scottish Fold cats. One cat is named Meredith Gray after a character from the TV show Grey’s Anatomy, and the other cat is named Olivia Benson, the protagonist of the TV show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
- Apparently, Scottish Fold cats served as an inspiration for Hello Kitty, one of the most iconic animal fictional characters in the world.
- Scottish Folds are often compared to owls because of their folded ears.
Scottish Fold cats are definitely one of those breeds whose time is yet to come. They are beautiful animals and great pets, so it makes no wonder that their popularity is constantly rising.
Hopefully, breeders will be able to reduce this breed’s health issues to their minimum because every cat deserves to be healthy and to lead a happy life. Get yourself a Scottish Fold cat today and keep it happy and healthy. You will receive so much love and fun in return!