Scottish Fold at a glance
What is a Scottish Fold?
The Scottish fold is a naturally occurring breed that originated in Scotland. The most recognised feature of the Scottish fold is the curled down ears, which gives the breed a beautiful round face.
The Scottish fold is a somewhat controversial breed of cat with many veterinarians calling for the breed to be banned due to concerns over the health of the breed.
The first Scottish fold appeared as a spontaneous mutation in 1961. Susie, a white kitten with folded down ears, was born on a farm near Coupar Angus in Scotland. A neighbouring farmer and cat enthusiast by the name of William Ross noticed Susie’s unusual ears which he pointed out to Susie’s owners, Mr and Mrs McRae. Two years later, Susie had a litter of kittens, producing two offspring with folded ears. William Ross received a white kitten called Snooks. Snooks was bred, producing more offspring; at this point, the new breed was called Lop Eared Cats.
Pat Turner, a London based breeder, visited the Ross’s, returning home with a male called Snowdrift. She began an experimental breeding programme with the breed. Patricia convinced the Ross’s to change the name to Fold.
Three of Snowdrift’s descendants arrived in the United States in the early 1970s, and the breed received championship status with the CFA in 1978. However, some registering bodies no longer/refuse to accept Scottish Folds due to the effects the fold gene has on the breed (see below).
Effects of the Scottish Fold gene on the body
The ears are in the normal pricked position at birth but start to bend forward around four weeks of age. The gene responsible for the ears is known as the Fd which causes the cartilage of the ear to fold forwards. The Fd is a dominant gene with incomplete penetrance. Offspring only need one copy of the gene to inherit the trait. The heterozygous Scottish fold will have one copy of the Fd and one copy of the non-fd gene, i.e., Fdfd.
Unfortunately, the gene responsible for the folded ears also has an impact on the skeletal system. Osteodystrophy or osteochondrodysplasia is a condition that affects cartilage throughout the body, including bone lesions, thickening of the tail, bones in the hind legs becoming thickened and arthritic, resulting in pain and discomfort.
Scottish folds should never be allowed to mate together as the offspring will be homozygous (i.e., have two sets of the Fd gene, making it double-strength, so to speak). This results in debilitating skeletal deformities. Permitted outcrosses are the British shorthair and American shorthair. Kittens may have folded ears or straight. The straight eared offspring are known as Scottish Straight.
The Scottish fold is a medium-sized, well-muscled cat with a heavy bone structure. The most prominent feature of the breed is the ears which are wide-set and point down and forwards, which gives the head and face a round appearance. This folding occurs in three levels, like an accordion:
- Single fold
- Double fold
- Triple fold
The coat of the Scottish fold is short and dense, all colours and patterns are accepted.
The Scottish fold calm, well-adjusted, intelligent and affectionate breed of cat who gets on with everyone. Although they are affectionate, they are not clingy or in your face like some other breeds.
If you are out of the house for long periods, consider adopting two cats to keep each other company.
- The Scottish can be prone to arthritis in their middle to senior years due to osteodystrophy, a disease characterised by a thickening of the cartilage in the joints.
- Polycystic kidney disease.
Choosing a Scottish Fold
Purebred cats should only be purchased from a registered breeder, which means they are registered with one of the main cat councils such as the Cat Fanciers Association or The International Association. A registered cat breeder will have a prefix (cattery name), and a registration number. Always check with the relevant cat association that they are genuinely registered. The best place to find a breeder is either via the cat council website or by visiting cat shows.
Research the breeder by using a search engine to see if there are any negative reviews, and what was said.
Where possible (pandemic aside), visit the cattery and meet the kitten and his or her parents. Kittens should be friendly, curious and energetic with no signs of disease such as a runny nose, or weepy eyes.
Kittens should stay with their mother until they are between 10-12 weeks old. By which time they should have been desexed, microchipped, vaccinated and treated for parasites.
The Scottish fold makes a great family pet as they get along with children, cats, and dogs.
Famous Scottish Folds
Taylor Stift has three Scottish Folds named Meredith Grey, Olivia Benson and Benjamin Button.
Frequently asked questions
Why are Scottish folds banned?
Scottish folds are banned in Scotland, as well the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy due to concerns that the gene which causes folded down ears also causes skeletal abnormalities in later life.
Are Scottish folds hypoallergenic?
No, the Scottish fold is not hypoallergenic.
Are Scottish folds lazy?
Scottish folds aren’t a lazy breed, but they are more chilled than some of the more energetic cat breeds.
Do Scottish folds shed?
Yes, Scottish folds shed. This can be reduced by grooming weekly to remove shed hairs.
Why are Scottish folds cute?
The round, expressive face of the Scottish fold gives them an owl-like appearance, which many people find adorable.
Do Scottish folds like to cuddle?
The Scottish fold is less demanding than other breeds but is still a cuddly cat who enjoys spending time on their favourite human’s lap.
Are Scottish folds aggressive?
Genetics and positive early experiences can shape a cat’s personality. A well-raised Scottish fold should be a sweet-natured cat with no signs of aggression.
Are Scottish folds good family pets?
Yes, due to their sweet, laid-back nature, the Scottish fold makes a great family pet.