Scottish Fold Cats

Scottish Fold Cats, a breed of cat with a natural dominant-gene mutation making its ear cartilage contain a fold, causing the ears to bend forward and down towards the front of their head. Giving the cat what is often described as an "owl-like" appearance.

Originally called lop-eared or just lops after the lop-eared rabbit, Scottish Fold became the breed's name in 1966. Depending on registries, longhaired Scottish Folds are also known as Highland Fold, Scottish Fold Longhair, Longhair Fold and Coupari cat.


Origins of many cat breeds are shrouded in a bit of mystery, but not so for Scottish Fold cats. This breed actually traces back to a single female cat named Susie. Susie was a white cat that lived on a farm in near Coupar Angus in Perthshire, Scotland n 1961. She had a distinct fold in her ears that made her quite different than other local cats.

When Susie had kittens, two of them were born with folded ears. A gentleman named William Ross acquired one of those folded kittens and set about establishing what would become the Scottish Fold cats breed.

Ross registered the breed with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) in Great Britain in 1966 and started to breed Scottish Fold kittens with the help of geneticist Pat Turner. The breeding program produced 76 kittens in the first three years—42 with folded ears and 34 with straight ears.

The conclusion from this was that the ear mutation is due to a simple dominant gene. If one parent provides the gene for straight ears and one parent provides the gene for folded ears, the kittens will be Folds.


The breed was not accepted for showing in Europe and the GCCF withdrew registrations in 1971 due to concerns about genetic difficulties and ear problems such as infection, mites, and deafness, but the Folds were exported to America and the breed continued to be established using crosses with British Shorthairs and American Shorthairs.

Since the initial concerns were brought, the Fold breed has not had the mite and infection problems, though wax buildup in the ears may be greater than in other cats.


The distinctive physical traits of the breed, combined with their reputation as unusually loving companions, make Folds highly sought-after pets and Fold kittens typically cost considerably more than kittens of more common breeds.



All Folds are born with straight, unfolded ears, and those with the Fold gene will begin to show the fold usually within about 21 days. The original cats only had one fold in their ears but due to selective breeding breeders have increased the fold to a double or triple crease that causes the ear to lie totally flat against the head.

The breed's distinctive folded ears are produced by an incompletely dominant gene that affects the cartilage of the ears, causing the ears to fold forward and downward, giving a cap-like appearance to the head.

Smaller, tightly folded ears set in a cap-like fashion are preferred to a loose fold and larger ear. The large, round eyes and rounded head, cheeks, and whisker pads add to the overall rounded appearance.

Despite the folded ears, folds still use their aural appendages to express themselves—the ears swivel to listen, lay back in anger and prick up when the treat bag rustles.


The Scottish Fold cats eyes rival those of the most exquisite Persian. They are quite large and round and compete with the ears for your attention. Their luminous quality has led some admirers to compare them to eyes of an owl. The broadly-spaced eyes give the Scottish Fold a very rounded, sweet expression.


Scottish Fold Cats are a medium-size cat, with males typically reaching 9 to 13 lbs. (6-9 for females). The Fold's entire body structure, especially the head and face, is generally rounded, the eyes large and round.

The nose will be short with a gentle curve and the cat's body well-rounded with a padded look and medium-to-short legs. The head is domed at the top, the neck quite short.

Scottish Folds can be either long- or short-haired and they may have nearly any coat color or combination of colors (including white) except pointed colors: for example: cream, bi-color, et al.


Folds come in both short and long coats. The short coat should be quite full and plush, virtually so dense that it stands on end. The long coat should be quite full and feathered on the tail, feet and ears and especially around the collar. Shorter hair on the face and body is allowed, although it is slightly less desirable.

Breeding of the foundation stock with both British and American Shorthairs was necessary to establish breed type, so many colors are permissible. However, any Fold that displays Siamese-type points, chocolate or lilac fur is not eligible for show.


Scottish Folds, whether with folded ears or with normal ears, are typically good-natured and placid and adjust to other animals within a household extremely well. They tend to become very attached to their human caregivers and are by nature quite affectionate.

Folds receive high marks for playfulness, affection and grooming. They are often intelligent, loyal, softspoken and adaptable to home situations, people and children.


Folds are also known for sleeping on their backs. Scottish Fold cats typically have soft voices and display a complex repertoire of meows and purrs not found in better-known breeds. Folds are also known for sitting with their legs stretched out and their paws on their belly. This is called the "Buddha Position".


The typical lifespan of Scottish Fold Cats is 15 years.

Unfortunately, the same genetics that cause the unique ear fold of this breed have also been linked to degenerative joints. This mainly affects the knees, ankles and tail, causing the joints to fuse together. The condition is more prevalent in cats that have two Fold parents but has also been noted in cats with a single fold parent.

For this reason, it's important to inspect any Scottish Fold kitten or cat for signs of this condition if you're considering adopting. You can do this by gently flexing the aforementioned joints to make sure they work properly. Never force the joints to move if they provide resistance or you could injure the feline.

Scottish Fold Rescue

As with so many pets, Scottish Folds also find themselves within need of a home from time to time. Some of these cats are perfectly healthy and simply couldn't be cared for anymore by their previous owners. Others suffer from joint fusion and need loving people to provide them with specialized care.

If you're interested in rescuing one of these animals, visit Scottish Fold Rescue, Inc.

Scottish Fold Cats Pictures

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