Scottish Fold Cat Breed

The Scottish Fold is recognized by its unusual ears, which fold forward and downward.
By: PawCulture Editors
Scottish Fold cat breed

About the Scottish Fold Cat Breed

Recognized by its unusual ears, which fold forward and downward, the Scottish Fold is an affectionate and gentle breed that can get along well with both children and other pets, provided it is properly introduced. 

Scottish Fold Physical Characteristics

The Scottish Fold is recognized by its medium-sized body and unusual ears, which fold forward and downward, and are quite small. The ears begin to fold when they are three weeks old, pricking up at sudden noises and then laying back to display anger.  

Color(s)

Originally bred to have white coats, it can now be seen in a variety of colors.

Coat

Most Scottish Folds have short, silky hair, although there is a long-haired variety as well.

Scottish Fold Personality and Temperament

Activity Level

Low to moderate

Positives

Gentle, intelligent and extremely well-adjusted, the Scottish Fold is also very affectionate. And though it can get very attached to its people, it will not be a pest or a nuisance. Like many other cats, it enjoys playing, but is especially responsive to training.

Things to Consider

Because the breed is rare to begin with and not every kitten born has folded ears (only about half of the Folds born actually develop their signature folded ears), it can be difficult to acquire a Scottish Fold as the supply does not always keep up with the demand for the breed.

Scottish Fold Care

Ideal Living Conditions

An adaptable breed, Scottish Folds are generally comfortable in a variety of situations and can handle a room full of children and pets just the same as they would a single-person apartment. As long as they are properly introduced, they adjust to new environments and people very well. 

Special Requirements

Shorthaired Folds require little coat maintenance beyond a weekly brushing but longhaired varieties may need more regular grooming and combing to maintain their coats and prevent mats.

Scottish Fold Health

This breed can suffer from health problems, especially due to faulty breeding as crossing within the same breed can often causes deformities. Folds that inherit the folded ear gene from both parents (homozygous Folds) are much more likely to develop congenital osteodystrophy – a genetic condition which causes the bones to distort and enlarge. Early warning signs include a thickness or lack of mobility of the legs or tail.

Scottish Fold History and Background

The breed was discovered accidentally in 1961 by William Ross, a Scottish farmer. He noticed a white cat, named Suzie, with unusual folded ears in his neighbor’s farm near Coupar Angus, in the Tayside Region of Scotland. Suzie’s ancestry was uncertain, but her mother was identified as a straight, white-haired cat. Ross was so intrigued with the cat, that he purchased a kitten from Suzie’s next litter – a kitten which also possessed its mother’s traits. He than began a breeding program with his cat, Snooks, and attended various cat shows.

Ross named the breed “lop eared” after a variety of rabbit and in 1966, registered the new breed with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF). (The breed was later renamed the Scottish Fold.) Unfortunately, the GCCF stopped registering the breed in the early 1970s due to concerns over ear disorders (i.e., infections, mites, and hearing problems).

The Scottish Fold also came to American in 1970, when three of Snook’s kittens were sent to Dr. Neil Todd at the Carnivore Genetics Research Center in Massachusetts. He was conducting research on spontaneous mutations. And although his research with the Folds did not garner favorable results, Todd did find good homes for each of the cats. One particular cat, a female named Hester, was given to Salle Wolfe Peters, a well-known Manx breeder in Pennsylvania. Peters was later credited with establishing this breed in America.

The Scottish Fold was granted Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) recognition in 1973, and in 1978, was bestowed the championship status. The long-haired version of the cat was not recognized until the mid-1980s, but both types are now quite popular.

The American Cat Fanciers Association, American Association of Cat Enthusiasts, and United Feline Organization all refer to the breed as the Highland Fold.

Meanwhile, the International Cat Association, National Cat Fanciers Association, American Cat Association, Canadian Cat Association and CFA call the breed the Scottish Fold Longhair; the Cat Fanciers Federation refers to it as the Longhair Fold. Canadian breeders sometimes call it the Coupari.