The Scottish Fold: The Intelligent and Adaptable Cat Breed

The Scottish Fold is a curious and intelligent cat. Its affectionate and adaptable personality makes this unique breed a wonderful pet.

Apr 4, 2023byKatie Wickliff
intelligent scottish fold cat

The Scottish Fold is an excellent choice for people looking for a calm feline companion. These friendly kitties welcome affection and love from children and other animals. They are intelligent and curious but have a mellow disposition. Read on to learn all about this distinctive cat breed.

Breed Overview

gray scottish fold cat
  • Adult Height: 8-10 inches
  • Adult Length:
  • Adult Weight: 6-13 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 13-15 years
  • Coat Length: Short
  • Coat Texture: dense, plush, and even
  • Coat Colors: nearly any coat color or combination, including black, cream, white, silver, red, chocolate, fawn
  • Coat Patterns: solid color, bi-color, tabby, tortoiseshell, calico
  • Affection Level: high
  • Shedding: yes
  • Origin: Scotland

Characteristics of the Scottish Fold

scottish fold cat

The Scottish Fold is a small cat with a rounded head and body. The eyes are also large and round, adding to this breed’s sweet, “owl-like” appearance. Their coat is usually short, soft and comes in a wide array of colors and markings.

The Scottish Fold gets its name from its country of origin and from its uniquely folded ears, which is the result of a genetic mutation. Not all Scottish Folds’ ears fold, however. For health purposes, this breed is outcrossed with British or American Folds, resulting in some cats with folded ears and some without. Kittens who are going to have folded ears start developing this trait at about 3 or 4 weeks old, but the Fold is not guaranteed permanent until about 3 months old.

This breed’s ancestors were barnyard cats, and today’s Scottish Fold retains some of their original prey drive, making them an intelligent and curious cat who will thrive on some mental stimulation. However, they are quiet and undemanding. Although they usually choose a favorite human, Scottish Folds get along well with the entire household. They adapt as quickly to a loud, bustling household as they would to a single person’s home.

Caring for the Scottish Fold

striped scottish fold in basket

In the breed’s early days, the Scottish Fold had several ear-related health issues, including deafness, ear mites, and ear infections. Thankfully, responsible breeders developed a much healthier cat over time. Today’s Scottish Folds are mostly hardy and healthy.

One primary concern for these cats is a painful skeletal abnormality called osteochondrodystrophy. This condition can occur when folded-eared Folds are bred together, which is why straight-eared Folds are crucial to any breeding program. When purchasing a Scottish Fold, it is extremely important to choose a reputable breeder who offers a written health guarantee.

Due to their folded ears, owners should clean ears weekly with a veterinarian-approved ear cleaning solution especially for cats. This breed’s coat is easily groomed by brushing once or twice weekly, and your Scottish Fold should have regular nail trims.

Starting grooming and nail clipping early on in your cat’s life will help them tolerate the process, making it easier for you to keep them healthy. If you have any concerns about your cat, your veterinarian is a great resource.

History of the Scottish Fold

orange scottish fold cat

As the name suggests, the Scottish Fold originated in Scotland. In 1961, a man farmer found a small white cat in a barn. He noticed that her ears were uniquely folded, and these ears piqued the interest of a cat fancier named William Ross.

Ross and his wife adopted one of Susie’s kittens that had inherited her folded ears, and, working with a geneticist, the Rosses developed a new breed: the Scottish Fold. Today, all Scottish Folds can trace their lineage to Susie and her kitten, Snooks.

Initially, many of the kittens developed osteochondrodystrophy, and breeding in Great Britain ceased. However, after breeders determined the cause of the skeletal abnormality, they took great care to breed the Scottish Fold responsibly and safely. In 1978, the Cat Fanciers Association recognized the breed, and today, the Scottish Fold is one of the most popular purebred cats.

Fun Facts About the Scottish Fold

taylor swift and scottish fold
  • American singer and songwriter Taylor Swift owns two Scottish Fold cats, which she named Meredith Grey and Olivia Benson.
  • Scottish Folds can resemble humans in a pose lovingly called “The Buddha Sit,” they tend to sleep sprawled on their backs, and often sit up on their hind legs like prairie dogs!
  • Originally, the Scottish Fold had the name “Lop Eared Cat.”
  • Even though these cats originated in Scotland, they are not currently recognized as a breed in the country because of health concerns.
  • Although straight-eared Scottish Folds are essential to any breeding program, only Scottish Folds with folded ears are allowed in the show ring.
  • This breed has three degrees of ear folds: single, double, and triple.
  • The adaptable Scottish Fold does well as an indoor or outdoor cat.
Katie Wickliff
byKatie Wickliff

Katie is a Colorado-based writer, educator, and animal lover who firmly believes life is better with a pet by your side. She currently shares her home with various creatures. In her free time, Katie loves to explore the mountains with her family and their Rough Collie, Story.