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Home > Cats > 5 Cat Breeds With Folded Ears: Pictures, Origins & Info

5 Cat Breeds With Folded Ears: Pictures, Origins & Info

Scottish fold kitten on wooden table

If you’ve spotted a cat with a distinctive trait before, you might have wondered how many other breeds share it. Folded ears are one of the most recognizable unusual traits found in modern cat breeds, and celebrity endorsements of some folded-ear breeds have made them more popular still.

Despite the popularity of folded ears, only five breeds feature them! Despite how they look, folded ears can come with several problems. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the five breeds with folded ears and discover what it means for the health of the cats.


The 5 Cat Breeds With Folded Ears

1. Scottish Fold

white scottish fold cat
Image Credit: nat Hongkham, Shutterstock
Average Weight: Up to 13lbs
Lifespan: 11-15 years

Scottish Folds are among some of the most recognizable breeds in the world thanks to their signature ear folds, rounded faces, and huge eyes. The Scottish Fold originated in Scotland in 1961 when a barn cat named Susie gave birth to a litter of kittens who developed the same folded ears as their mother.

Celebrities have fallen head over heels for these owl-like cats, with stars like Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran owning one (if not more!). Scottish Folds come in many colors and patterns, including blue, gray, lilac, and tortoiseshell.

2. Scottish Kilt (Scottish Fold Munchkin Cat)

scottish fold munchkin mix cat
Image Credit: Kellee Kovalsky, Shutterstock
Average Weight: 4–9lbs
Lifespan: 11-15 years

The Scottish Kilt is a relatively new crossbreed created by merging two distinctive breeds of cat: the Scottish Fold and the Munchkin. Munchkin cats are known for their short, bent legs; the stocky limbs give the cat a “sausage-dog” appearance.

The Scottish Kilt combines the folded ears of the Scottish Fold with the shortened legs of the Munchkin to create a unique feline. However, because the two traits involve mutations to the bone and cartilage, the Scottish Kilt often suffers from debilitating and painful musculoskeletal conditions.

3. Longhaired Scottish Fold

scottish fold orange cat on the streets
Image Credit: The Len, Shutterstock.jpg
Average Weight: Up to 13lbs
Lifespan: 11-15 years

The Longhaired Scottish Fold is classed as a separate breed of the Scottish Fold, despite being the same except for their long hair! Longhaired Scottish Folds have fluffy furnishings and bushy tails. These beautiful cats were created when the gene for long hair was expressed in a litter of short-haired Scottish Fold kittens, resulting in the semi-longhair variant.

The Longhaired Scottish Fold shares all the temperament traits as their short-haired siblings do, but they have fluffy ruffs around their necks and silky britches adorning their hind legs, making them a highly desirable breed!

4. Foldex

foldex cat in the couch
Image Credit: Tossatis chongjiragal, Shutterstock
Average Weight: 6–14lbs
Lifespan: 12–15 years

The Foldex is a new breed of folded-ear cat developed in 1993. As a cross between the flat-muzzled Persian and the folded-eared Scottish Fold, Foldex cats were bred to look as much like teddy bears as possible!

Betty-Ann Yaxley first presented the breed in a Canadian cat show and gained so much attention that the Canadian Cat Association accepted the breed into its ranks. They were accepted in the experimental class of breeds in November 1998 and as a new breed in 2006. The Foldex quickly gained popularity as a pretty cat with a muzzle that’s not too short.

5.  Ukrainian Levkoy

Ukrainian Levkoy (3417712206)
Ukranian Levkoy (Image Credit: Nickolas Titkov, Wikimedia Commons CC 2.0 Generic)
Average Weight: 8–12lbs
Lifespan: 12–15 years

The distinctive Ukrainian Levkoy is a hairless cat created in the 2000s by Elena Biriukova of Ukraine by breeding the hairless Donskoy with the folded-eared Scottish Fold. These beautiful cats are normally only covered in a very short, downy “peach fuzz” that shows off their wrinkled bodies and long faces, though some can be born with longer fur.

They share the same folded ears as the Scottish Fold, but that, unfortunately, means that the Ukrainian Levkoy often suffers from debilitating health problems.


What Causes Folded Ears in Cats?

The folded ears are caused by a genetic mutation. This mutation affects the bone and cartilage around the body, including the cartilage forming the ear pinna (the outer ear that’s visible in cats). This causes the characteristic crumpling and folding of the outer ears, resulting in the rounded look people seem to adore.

The gene in question is known as the Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid family member 4 gene (TRPV4), which causes the folded ears and a whole host of other health problems, too.

Do Cats With Folded Ears Have Health Problems?

Unfortunately, all cats with folded ears will suffer from a disease known as osteochondrodysplasia (also commonly known as Scottish Fold Disease) to varying degrees. Osteochondrodysplasia is a condition caused by a change in the TRPV4 gene, which causes the malformation and degradation of the cartilage throughout the body.

This results in arthritis, pain, and a diminished quality of life for severely affected felines. It’s sad that all cats, no matter the breed or pedigree, will suffer from this debilitating condition if they have folded ears.

This condition can hinder mobility and cause daily (sometimes severe) pain. For this reason, many veterinary and animal welfare organizations disagree with breeding cats with folded ears.

Scottish fold cat in salon
Image Credit: Standret, Shutterstock

Are All Folded Ears the Same?

Folded ears in cats are not all the same! There are varying degrees of folding, ranging from just a tiny amount to the entire ear almost flattened to the head. This can be seen most readily in Scottish Folds, as the breed standards of many feline fancying groups call for ears folded down tight to the head “like a cap.”

Kittens born to these breeds don’t have their ears folded at birth, either! The folding occurs naturally over 5 weeks, and not all kittens born to a litter with folded ear parents will have folded ears themselves.



Cats with folded ears are some of the most recognizable breeds due to their sweet looks and resulting popularity. The five breeds we mentioned are bred to have folded ears. However, ear folding is caused by a genetic mutation, and any breed of cat can be born with folded ears in theory.

Despite their cute looks, folded ears present a host of other health conditions, including osteochondrodysplasia, which causes the folding of the ear pinna in the first place.

Featured Image Credit: dien, Shutterstock

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