Scottish Fold / Highland Fold

  • Scottish Fold cat

    Alan Robinson, Animal Photography

  • Orange Scottish Fold

    Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography

  • Orange and White Scottish Fold cat

    Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography

  • Scottish Fold cat

    Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography

The Scottish Fold is a medium-size cat with a rounded head and big round eyes, although he is known for his standout feature: ears that fold forward, giving him the appearance of a furry owl. His coat, which comes in many colors and patterns, can be short or long. The longhaired variety is known as the Highland Fold.

Breed Characteristics

Adaptability 5 stars Energy Level 3 stars Shedding Level 3 stars
Affection Level 5 stars Grooming 1 star Social Needs 3 stars
Child Friendly 4 stars Health Issues 1 star Stranger Friendly 3 stars
Dog Friendly 5 stars Intelligence 3 stars

Did You Know?

Some Scottish Fold cats don't have folded ears. But these straight-eared cats are just as lovable and can still be used for breeding.

Drop-eared cats such as the Scottish Fold are not as unusual as they might seem. Spontaneous genetic mutations, such as curly coats or folded ears, occur in cats on a fairly regular basis, and the Scottish Fold is the result of such a mutation. All of today’s Folds descend from a Scottish fold-eared cat named Susie who was found by a shepherd in 1961.

Scottish Fold kittens are born with what look like normal ears. The ears soon begin to bend forward, usually two to four weeks after birth. By the time he is three months old, the typical Scottish Fold has a distinctly owlish look, thanks to the unusual carriage of his ears.

Not all Folds, well, fold. Some have ears that stay resolutely pointed. Sometimes known as Scottish Shorthairs, they have the same sweet temperament as the Folds and are important in breeding programs. Scottish Folds come in many different colors and patterns, with the exceptions of chocolate, lavender, the Himalayan pattern, or a combination of these colors and white. They weigh between eight and 13 pounds and live for 13 or more years.  There is also a longhaired variety known as the Highland Fold.

This is a sweet, calm cat who enjoys being around people. He’s adaptable to many different environments and can get along well with children, other cats, and friendly dogs. Folds frequently stand on their hind legs, for all the world like meerkats on a nature show, or arrange themselves in other unusual positions. They like to play fetch and will follow their people around the house. You’re never lonely when you have a Scottish Fold. The Fold isn’t a talkative breed, but when he does make noise, it’s in a soft, small voice.

Groom a shorthaired Scottish Fold weekly to keep his coat shiny and healthy. A Highland Fold should be combed twice a week to prevent or remove mats and tangles. The only other grooming the Fold needs is regular nail trimming, ear cleaning, and tooth brushing.

The Scottish Fold is well suited to any home with people who will love him and care for him. Keep him indoors to protect him from cars, diseases spread by other cats and attacks from other animals.

Other Quick Facts

  • Scottish Folds come in many different colors and patterns, with the exceptions of chocolate, lavender, the Himalayan pattern, or a combination of these colors and white. There is a longhaired variety known as the Highland Fold.
  • The Scottish Fold is often described as resembling an owl, teddy bear or pixie.

Next: History ›

The History of Scottish Folds

When Scottish shepherd William Ross spotted a cat with unusual ears that folded over instead of standing up and later acquired one of her kittens, little did he know that his find would be the start of a new breed. Susie, a white barn cat, had the unusual ears, and her kittens did as well. The cats, which became known as Scottish Folds, were developed into a breed that is now 50 years old. Breeds that were used to create the Scottish Fold were Persians, American Shorthairs, Exotics and Burmese.

Today, they can be outcrossed to American Shorthairs and British Shorthairs, but Scottish Folds have a look that is all their own, with a rounded body, a rounded head and round eyes. Scottish Folds are recognized by several registries, including the Cat Fanciers Association and The International Cat Association.
 

‹ Previous: Overview

Scottish Fold Temperament and Personality

The Fold is an outgoing and curious cat who enjoys following his people around and being involved in whatever they are doing. You’re never lonely when you have a Scottish Fold.

Clever and dexterous, Folds can often be found opening cabinets to see if they can find something to play with or snack on. It’s not unusual to see a Fold using his paws to splash at water or steal a bit of food from his owner’s plate. His favorite game is fetch, and he is a good candidate for food puzzles that will challenge his brain and reward his dexterity with treats or kibble.

Choose a Fold kitten who has been well socialized by the breeder and whose parents are outgoing and friendly. The breeder can help you choose the kitten that is best suited to your personality.
 

‹ Previous: History
Next: Health ›

What You Need to Know About Scottish Fold Health

All cats have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on kittens or who tells you that her kittens are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons.

The Scottish Fold may develop a skeletal abnormality called osteochondrodystrophy, which can be painful or crippling.  It’s the reason why straight-eared Folds are so vital to a breeding program; the condition occurs when Folds are bred to Folds. Avoid purchasing a kitten or cat with stiff or inflexible legs or a tail that is short and thick. Polycystic kidney disease has also been reported in the breed. It is always wise to buy from a breeder who provides a written health guarantee.

Remember that after you’ve taken a new kitten into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Keeping a Scottish Fold at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to protect his overall health. Make the most of your preventive abilities to help ensure a healthier cat for life.

‹ Previous: Personality
Next: Grooming ›

The Basics of Scottish Fold Grooming

Groom a shorthaired Scottish Fold weekly to keep his coat shiny and healthy. A Highland Fold should be combed twice a week to prevent or remove mats and tangles.

The only other grooming the Scottish Fold needs is regular nail trimming, usually weekly, and ear cleaning only if the ears look dirty. Use a gentle ear cleanser recommended by your veterinarian. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath. Start nail trimming and teeth brushing early so your kitten becomes accepting of this activity.

‹ Previous: Health
Next: Finding ›

Choosing a Scottish Fold Breeder

You want your Scottish Fold to be happy and healthy so you can enjoy your time with him, so do your homework before you bring him home. For more information on the history, personality and looks of the Scottish Fold, or to find breeders, visit the websites of the Cat Fanciers Association, Cats Center Stage, the Fanciers Breeder Referral List, and The International Cat Association

A reputable breeder will abide by a code of ethics that prohibits sales to pet stores and wholesalers and outlines the breeder’s responsibilities to their cats and to buyers. Choose a breeder who has performed the health certifications necessary to screen out genetic health problems to the extent that is possible, as well as one who raises kittens in the home. Kittens who are isolated can become fearful and skittish and may be difficult to socialize later in life.

Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include kittens always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any kitten, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Those things are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.

Whether you’re planning to get your feline friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and unhealthy catteries can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick kitten, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy kittens.  Put at least as much effort into researching your kitten as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.

Be patient. Depending on what you are looking for, you may have to wait six months or more for the right kitten to be available. Many breeders won’t release kittens to new homes until they are between 12 and 16 weeks of age.

Before you buy a kitten, consider whether an adult Scottish Fold might be a better choice for your lifestyle. Kittens are loads of fun, but they’re also a lot of work and can be destructive until they reach a somewhat more sedate adulthood.With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health. If you are interested in acquiring an adult cat instead of a kitten, ask breeders about purchasing a retired show or breeding cat or if they know of an adult cat who needs a new home.

Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with “pet lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the cat from both understand your rights and recourses.

Kitten or adult, take your Scottish Fold to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.

Adopting a Cat from Scottish Fold Rescue or a Shelter

The Scottish Fold is an unusual and uncommon breed. It is unlikely that you will find one in a shelter or through a rescue group, but it doesn’t hurt to look. Sometimes pedigreed cats end up at the shelter after losing their home to an owner’s death, divorce or change in economic situation. Check the listings on Petfinder, Adopt-a-Pet.com or the Fanciers Breeder Referral List, and ask breeders if they know of a Scottish Fold who is in need of a new home.

Wherever you acquire your Scottish Fold, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with “pet lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the cat from both understand your rights and recourses.

Kitten or adult, take your Scottish Fold to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.
 

‹ Previous: Grooming

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