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Getting to know the Scottish Fold

Looking for a friendly and intelligent cat with a distinct and hardy appearance? The Scottish fold may be the ideal pet for you!

History of the Scottish Fold

The Scottish Fold traces its origins back to “Susie,” a white barn cat found in Coupar Angus, Scotland in 1961. Susie’s ears had a distinctive fold that made them look cropped or cupped, which drew the attention of local farmer and cat fancier, William Ross.

Ross adopted one of Susie’s kittens and, working with a geneticist, began to crossbreed that animal with British shorthair cats to produce the Scottish Fold. Concerns over possible deafness, ear infections, and ear mites kept the breed from gaining wide acceptance in the UK, but by the 1970s Scottish Folds were being bred successfully in the US and have since become a popular breed worldwide.

Scottish Fold Characteristics

The most obvious defining feature of the Scottish Fold is its unusual ears, which are characterized by one or more distinct creases that cause the ears to lie close to the head. Combined with their wide eyes and rounded head, the folded ears give the breed an owl-like appearance. Like other cat breeds, the Scottish Fold’s ears are able to pivot in response to sound. (Those that lack the ear mutation are referred to as “straights.”)

Scottish Folds typically weigh between 9 and 13 pounds and may have either a long or short coat of very dense fur. The Fold possesses a rounded body and head, a short neck, and medium to short legs, giving it an almost toy-like appearance. The Fold’s coat color may be solid white or gray, tabby, tabby and white, bicolor, or patched.

Scottish Fold Personality

The Scottish Fold is an affectionate cat that bonds extremely well with its human caregivers, and also gets along well with children and other pets in the home. They have a soft, chirpy voice and can be quite chatty. Scottish Folds are homebodies and do best when living as indoor cats. They are also known for relaxing in some unusual positions and can often be found sleeping on its back. Because of their stout build and short legs, Scottish Folds are better cuddlers than they are jumpers. They are intelligent animals that enjoy gentle play and problem-solving games.

Caring for Your Scottish Fold

The Scottish Fold’s ears do require regular cleaning to prevent the buildup of wax and to reduce the risk for bacterial infections and ear mites. The coats of short-haired Scottish Folds require only a weekly brush-out; however, long-haired Folds may need to be brushed 2 to 4 times a week to prevent matting and reduce the potential for skin infections. Folds are fastidious about the state of their litter pans, so daily scooping and weekly litter replacement are musts.

The Scottish Fold’s unusual genetics do place it at greater risk for several health conditions—including polycystic kidney disease (PKD), degenerative joint disease (most often in the ankles), and a condition called osteochondrodysplasia (OCD), which impedes the development of bone ant cartilage throughout the body.

Is the Scottish Fold Cat Right for You?

Scottish Folds make great house pets and are very affectionate, smart, and talkative. They thrive as indoor pets and get along well with kids and other animals—but they don’t mind being the only pet in the house either and will accept all the pampering you can give them. If this sounds like a good fit for your household, you may want to open your home and your heart to a Scottish Fold.


Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.

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