Coat Length: Short hair / Long hair
Body Type: Moderate
Appearance: Scottish Folds are medium-sized cats with rounded heads and prominent cheeks. Males can weigh from 4 to 6kg and females between 2.5 and 4kg. Their coat can be either long or short-haired and in any colour combination or pattern. They have rounded eyes and eye colour depends on the colour of the fur. In some cases a cat can be born with different coloured eyes, one blue and one gold eye for instance. This is called oddeye. Folds are usually recognised by their distinctive folded ears.
Grooming Requirement: For the shorthairs grooming once a week is needed and for longhairs – twice a week.
Activity Level: Average
Affection: Very affectionate
Time Alone: 4 to 8 hours
Attention: Needs average attention
Temperament: Folds are intelligent and kind cats that love attention. They’re not very vocal so you won’t hear their voice often. They’re moderately active and like to play with teaser or puzzle toys. They adapt to new people and environments easily but tend to stay devoted to one particular person.
Interesting Facts: All Scottish Folds are naturally born with normal straight ears. The distinctive fold develops within 21 days.
Behaviour Toward Other Animals and Kids: Folds love people and are friendly and affectionate pets. They do well in families with children as they love to play with them. If you already have a dog this won’t be a problem, as long as it is cat-friendly, or at least not aggressive. If you have toddlers in the house though you should be more careful, supervise cats and children until the child is old enough to understand that it’s in his or her own interest to treat cats gently.
Common Health Problems: Health issues that may occur are polycystic kidney disease, osteochondrodysplasia, degenerative joint disease and hypotrophic cardiomyopathy.
Lifespan: Average 11 to 14 years.
Breed founders, William and Mary Ross saw the first Scottish Fold, a white barn cat called Susie, at a farm in the Tayside Region of Perthshire, Scotland in 1961. A year later, the Rosses obtained one of Susie’s kittens – Snooks, who had the unique folded ears, too, and started a breeding programme, using British shorthairs and farm cats to enlarge and strengthen the gene pool. Originally, the folded-ear kittens Snooks produced were called ”lops”, after the lop-eared rabbits. The Rosses started registering their unique cats with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF). In 1966, the breed was renamed to Scottish Fold to honour their origin.
The first Folds were imported into the USA in the 1970s when three of Snooks’ kittens were sent to Dr. Neil Todd in Massachusetts, who was researching spontaneous mutations. They were registered by the CFA and many other associations and quickly became popular, but in the 1970 GCCF banned the registration of Folds due to concerns about ear disorders and deafness, which were later rebutted. Scottish Folds were granted championship status in 1978, but were not accepted for competition in CFA until 1993. The longhaired version of the fold was not officially recognised until the mid-1980s, although longhair kittens had been appearing in Scottish Fold litters since the beginning. Today, Fold breeders can use British Shorthair and American Shorthair as an outcross in their breeding programmes.
The distinctive folded ears of the Scottish Fold are produced by an incomplete dominant gene and are the result of a spontaneous mutation. Scottish Fold kittens are born with straight ears. At about 3-4 weeks of age, the ears fold – in some kittens only. In some, they remain straight. Only folded-ear cats of Scottish lineage are permitted in the show ring but straight-ear ones are invaluable to the breeding programmes. It is highly recommended that only a folded-ear cat to a straight-ear cat is bred. Breeding folded-ear cats together may cause complications such as cartilage mutation in the tail and stiffness or deformities in the hind legs and feet.
All concerns about ear health and deafness from the 1970s have been rebutted. Scottish Folds are not prone to ear infections or ear mites and are generally hardy cats with a lifespan of approximately 15 years. If you’re considering buying a Fold kitten, keep in mind that only one of the parents should carry the gene responsible for the fold. A responsible breeder will never breed two Folds, but out-cross with an American or British Shorthair. If both parents contribute the folded gene, there’s a possibility for the kitten to develop a genetic condition that causes deformities of the vertebral, leg and tail bones due to cartilage thickening.
Folds love attention and will enjoy any activity involving human interaction. Intelligent and moderately active, they can keep busy for hours with teaser toys and brain stimulating puzzle toys. Scottish Folds are well-suited for indoor living but if given the chance, they will gladly roam and investigate the backyard – their ancestors are farm cats, after all. Folds bond closely with their owners and love spending time with them. If your routine means you won’t be home for the most part of the day, consider getting two cats to keep each other company and play together. Lack of exercise and a feeling of isolation can lead to behavioural problems.
The short-haired Fold’s dense plush coat is easily maintained silky soft with weekly brushing, while long-haired cats need to be brushed at least twice a week as their longer coats matt more easily. Pay attention to any tangles in the britches (longer fur on the upper thighs), toe tufts, and the plumed tail.
Provide a well-balanced diet of premium quality dry and wet food. Avoid cat formulas which contain animal byproducts and filler grains and monitor calorie intake – Folds are prone to excess weight gain. Leave out bowls (about three) of water in different areas of the house – this will stimulate the cat to drink more. Place the food bowls on a platform so the cat doesn’t need to bend too much. Keep the food dishes away from the litter-box to avoid contamination. Provide a fresh supply of cat-grass – it gives nutrients and helps with digestion.