Cat Breed 101: The Scottish Fold

March 19, 2023by petpal3

Have you ever seen a cat with floppy ears? If not, then you’ll be amazed by the Scottish Fold. This cat breed is unmistakable because of its signature look: folded ears that give it an owl-like appearance. It’s also known as the “lop-eared” cat because of this unusual trait. 

The Scottish Fold is a one-of-a-kind cat breed that you may want to consider welcoming into your home. However, before you call a reliable breeder, there are many things you need to know about this breed. Read on to learn more about it!

History and Origin of the Scottish Fold
Scottish folds are the cutest
Photo from Pixabay

The Scottish Fold cat breed originated in — you guessed it — Scotland. The first Scottish Fold was a white barn cat called Susie. She was found in 1961 in Perthshire, Scotland. 

Susie was not your typical cat, as she had folds in the middle of her ears. This trait gave her a rather round face that resembled an owl. A fun fact to note is that the lineage of all Scottish Fold cats can be traced back to Susie!

Susie eventually had kittens of her own, and surprisingly, two of them also had folded ears. A nearby farmer named William Ross got one of these kittens. In 1966, he registered it with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) in the UK. Prior to its registry, it was called the “lop-eared” cat or simply “lop,” after its ears’ resemblance to those of lop-eared bunnies.

With the help of geneticist Pat Turner, William Ross began breeding Scottish Fold kittens. Soon enough, the cats with folded ears multiplied and established the breed. They found that the folded ears were due to a mutation in a dominant gene.

Notable Physical Characteristics of the Scottish Fold
Most scottish folds do have folds in their ears
Photo by Pixabay

The most remarkable characteristic of the Scottish Fold is that its ears fold forward and downward. The original Scottish Folds only had one fold in their ears, but breeders have increased them to multiple folds. Because of this, some cats have ears that lie flat against their heads. If a kitten is born without the ear folds, it’s called a Scottish Straight.

Scottish Fold cats generally have rounded features: from their eyes to their heads and cheeks. They’re medium- to large-sized cats with medium to short legs. They also have short necks.

Scottish Folds come in various colors and patterns — from white to calicos. Their fur is dense and soft, and they could either be short- or long-haired.

Behavior, Temperament, and What to Expect

The Scottish Fold is an even-tempered and good-natured cat that can tolerate other animals in the house. These cats are usually affectionate toward people and can easily get attached to their pet parents. They may also get lonely when left alone. 

Scottish Folds are playful cats. They particularly like being outdoors and love playing games with their caretakers. Their voices are soft, too, which many find endearing. 

Short-haired Scottish Folds require grooming once a week, while long-haired ones need to be brushed at least three to four times weekly to prevent matting.

When it comes to health, Scottish Fold cats are susceptible to some diseases like cardiomyopathy. Also, because the characteristic fold results from a difference in their cartilage, these cats are also vulnerable to joint diseases.

The Takeaway

Scottish Fold cats are remarkable to look at, especially given their round features and owl-like head. Their folded ears make them unique, and their soft voices also add to their appeal. However, they’re susceptible to joint diseases because of their genetic mutation, so it’s best to remember that before taking care of one.


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