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The Scottish Fold Cat

scottish fold cat

The Scottish Fold is a distinctive looking cat that looks unlike any other. In the early 1960s a farm in Scotland had an unusual looking kitten. A fellow shepherd, William Ross, took in the barn cat and reproduced the look.


A genetic spontaneous mutation resulted in a folded down ear. They have a folded ear and a normal ear with a “working” cat body that is well muscled. They can be crossed with American Shorthairs or British shorthairs but independently should be a medium sized cat with a short, dense coat. The folded ears give an “owl” or “teddy bear” look to the cat’s rounded head.


Kittens are born with straight ears but at 3-4 weeks often the ears will fold down. scottish fold kittenBy 11-12 weeks the quality can be determined, and only those folded ear cats of Scottish lines are allowed in the show ring. Because of this the straight ear offspring of Scottish lines are also in demand for breeding programs.


This is a look produced with incomplete dominance – not every kitten will have the ears folded. This is a hardy cat developed for the barnyard. They are quiet cats that can be long haired or short haired. The unique ears are their defining characteristic. They’re normally calm cats that adore the company of people.


The Scottish Fold is an undemanding cat that was crossbred to keep genetic problems from taking hold. Skeletal deformities started with inflexible foreshortened tails, progressing into bone lesions. It was thought at one point this was connected to the gene that caused the ears to fold, but with outcrossing to expand the gene pool the ears were preserved while the other problems were decreased with fresh bloodlines.


The breeding bloodlines were threatened in the UK and a cat breeder brought forth there was but two breeders maintaining the Scottish Fold. The request for US breeders brought an increased interest in reviving the breed.

 scottish fold

Today the breed standard focuses on the head (55 points), body (40 points) and color (5 points). The ears should fold forward and down, with tightly folded ears valued more than larger, looser ears.


These cats can’t be confused with any other breed due to their unique ears. The wide range of colors and both long and short haired cats available is a further appeal for fans of these cats. There have been unfounded concerns in the past of ear infections and deafness. The lack of interest by English and European breeders became a threat to the breed until American breeders including an English couple in the USA brought some Scottish Folds to the US. A focus to keep the bloodlines healthy has been a focus for breeders of these cats. Genetic health is an asset for breeder but also for pet owners.

 scottish fold kittens

From a breeding standpoint the ears are a challenge. Proper breeding of a folded ear to not folded ear means a 50% chance of folded ear kittens – but individual litters may produce none (but carry the trait genetically!) while others might have one ear fold and not the other.


The calm nature of the Scottish Fold is an asset also, and a breed to challenge breeders who are patient and enjoy the planning that goes into this breed more than many others. The result is a healthy, distinct cat that is no ordinary barn cat.

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