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Home > Cats > Cat Breeds > Scottish Fold Cat Breed Info: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Scottish Fold Cat Breed Info: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Scottish fold cat_shutterstock_papa1266

The Scottish Fold cat breed is known for the natural mutation that causes their ears to fold. They bend forward towards the top of their head, which results in the “fold.” They are often described as having an “owl-like” appearance due to their forward-facing ears.

Breed Overview


8 to 10 inches


6 to 9 pounds


11 to 15 years


Nearly Any

Suitable for:

Families of all sizes, those with plenty of time


Friendly, Laidback, Affectionate

The Scottish Fold became their name in 1966, but the breed existed far before that.

Unlike some other breeds with similar genetic mutations, the Scottish Fold cat breed’s genetic mutation is dominant. That means only one parent needs to carry the gene for the kittens to be affected.

Scottish Fold Characteristics

High-energy cat will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy cats require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a cat to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train cats are more willing and skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Cats that are harder to train are usually more stubborn and will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some cat breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every cat will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds' potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some cat breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other animals. More social cats have a tendency to rub up on strangers for scratches, while less social cats shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your cat and expose them to lots of different situations.


Scottish Fold Kittens

Scottish Fold Kitten
Image Credit: maratius78, Pixabay

These cats are still quite rare today, so they tend to be an expensive cat breed. If you’re considering having a Scottish Fold, do lots of research on this cat breeder, and make sure you find a reputable breeder. The Scottish Fold is prone to certain health issues, so it is very important to know you’re getting a healthy kitten.

When you bring a Scottish Fold home, be ready to have an energetic kitty by your side. They do great with active families who can offer them plenty of playtime and mental stimulation. Keep reading the Scottish Fold’s care guide to know what type of food, exercise, and grooming your kitten needs to grow into a happy and healthy cat.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Scottish Fold

These cats are known for their laidback nature and friendliness. They adjust to other animals quickly, as long as they are introduced from an early age. They become very attached to their human caregivers and are known for following their people around the house. They are pretty affectionate and love to cuddle. They are quite playful and enjoy a good romp, though they aren’t necessarily as active as some other dogs.

These cats love hanging outdoors. Catios are a great option for these felines. They may also learn to walk on a leash, particularly since they love their people so much. They are quite intelligent, so they need a great deal of mental stimulation. They love puzzle toys and games. They enjoy fetch and can even be trained to play hide-and-seek. They are fairly stubborn, though. They need quite a bit of encouragement to perform tricks and such.

They don’t do well by themselves for an extended period. They don’t do well in a family where they will be left alone for an extended period of time. They are most suited for families where someone will be home for most of the time.

Folds are well-known for sleeping on their backs. This may be because of their ear shape, though they don’t necessarily know the exact reason why. They have a complex list of meows and are generally soft-spoken. They do tend to talk quite a bit, but they aren’t extremely loud when they talk.

Scottish Fold
Image Credit: guvo59, Pixabay

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

Yes. They are particularly suitable for families. They can get along with younger children as long as they are handled gently. They do best with lots of attention, which is usually accomplished best by a bigger family. They can also be good cats for seniors that are home much of the time.

The important thing is that these cats are given the attention and stimulation they need.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

They are typically laidback, so they can get along with other pets. Early socialization is important, as these cats can be fairly stubborn in some cases and may not enjoy sharing their resources with another pet. However, cats that are kept around other felines and dogs from a young age often get along just fine.


Things to Know When Owning a Scottish Fold

Food & Diet Requirements

These cats do not have any special dietary needs when compared to other cats. They thrive off of a diet that is high in protein and fat. As obligate carnivores, they need to eat mostly or even only meat. Cat foods full of high-quality meats is the best.

Scottish Fold Cat
Image Credit: notoneko, Pixabay

Cats also need to a varied diet to thrive. This prevents potential deficiencies and can prevent allergies as well. Cats that eat the same source of protein all the time may be more likely to develop an allergy to that specific protein. This is why common ingredients in food are also common allergies.

Exercise 🐈

These felines need quite a bit of exercise to thrive. They can be quite wild in some cases, especially when they are younger. They do best with plenty of toys and climbing structures. These cats may even learn to walk on leashes, which can be a great form of exercise. You may want to consider outside playing structures as well, where the cat can get some exercise without potentially becoming victim to wild animals or cars.

Training 🧶

These cats are intelligent. However, they are also quite stubborn, which makes training difficult. They may learn how to do something, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will do it when they are asked. These cats typically learn to use a litterbox easily and may even enjoy walking on a leash – two things that are often self-rewarding for the feline.

However, things like sitting are often more difficult to teach. The cat will readily learn, but may not preform if they don’t want to.

Grooming ✂️

These cats do not require much specialized care. They may need brushing once a week to remove dead hair and prevent hairballs. If the cat is longhaired, they may need to be brushed even more often to keep tangles from developing.

Their teeth should be brushed to prevent periodontal disease. Because these cats are intelligent, you can train them to brush their teeth without much of a fuss. Their nails may need to be trimmed, though some cats scratch enough to prevent this from being an issue.

Their ears need to be checked weekly. They are prone to ear wax accumulation and ear infections. They may need to be cleaned with a cotton ball or a damp cloth. If you notice any problems, you should contact your vet right away.

Scottish Fold
Image By: guvo59, Pixabay

Health and Conditions 🏥

The average lifespan for a Scottish Fold is 15 years. They are generally pretty healthy. However, due to their genetic differences, they are prone to a few different diseases. Some of these are common among all cat breeds, though a few are specific to this feline.

Minor Conditions
  • None
Serious Conditions
  • Osteochondrodyplasia
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopath

Serious Conditions:

  • Osteochondrodyplasia:This is an abnormality that affects how the cartilage developed – and, therefore the bone as well. This is the condition that causes the ear folds in the diseases. The cartilage just doesn’t develop correctly. Any feline with folded ears will have this condition. It’s why their ears are folded!This condition can cause malformed bone structures and degenerative joint diseases far earlier than other cats. This affects all sorts of different limbs and structures. Cats with two of the folded ear trait are more prone to these problems, as the trait is stronger than those with only one of the gene. They can also develop arthritis at varying degrees of severity, even if they only have one gene.Breeding folded cats with unfolded cats has resulted in fewer of these problems, however. Many have been interbred with shorthaired breeds, like the British shorthair and American shorthair. Still, this feline has not been accepted by many cat groups.Many breeders currently only bred folds with non-fold cats, as this prevents cats with two folded ear genes. Those with two genes are more prone to tail problems, arthritis, and other degenerative problems.
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: This is a disease in which the heart muscles become thickened, which makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood properly. Cats often change their activity levels to cope with their disease, as it makes them wear out faster. Cats with this problem are more likely to develop heart failure, blood clots, and hypertension.This disease is hard to diagnose, as there aren’t many symptoms. Usually, the cat simply becomes less active until the heart begins to fail and is unable to pump efficiently at all.Because the blood flow in the heart is altered, blood clots are more likely. These can be potentially deadly if they end up in the lungs or something similar. They can become lodged in the aorta, which can cause obstruction to the blood flow in the lower legs. This can be potentially fatal, though some cats may recover.This condition cannot be cured. However, it may improve with the right treatment. Treatment may involve diuretics if there is heart failure present. This can help reduce fluids that accumulate in the chest. Beta-blockers can reduce the heart rate if it is too fast.Aspirin is usually prescribed to reduce the chance of blood clots. However, aspirin can be toxic in the wrong amount, so you should always work with your vet to determine the correct dosage. The dosage may need to be changed regularly. Too much aspirin can cause vomiting and bleeding.Drugs to lower blood pressure may be necessary as well.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Scottish Fold

1. They are typically produced by breeding a folded-ear cat with an unfolded-ear cat.

This is because the folded ear gene is dominant. A kitten only needs one to have the folded ears. However, if a kitten inherits two of the genes, the effects on their skeleton and cartilage are even more pronounced. This can cause health problems. To prevent two genes from being inherited, a cat without folded ears is usually used, as this completely eliminates the chance that the kitten will inherit two folded ear genes.

2. They aren’t accepted by many cat associations.

Due to their many health problems, many cat associations do not accept them to be shown or registered. In other words, they are “banned.”

3. They are born with straight ears.

When these cats are born, they actually have straight eats. The folds don’t develop until around 18 to 24 days old. However, many kittens don’t have folded ears at all. Because of how they are bred, only 25A% to 50% of a given litter will develop the folded ears. The other half will not inherit the folded ear gene.



The Scottish Fold is a unique breed of cat. While they are best known for their folded ears, not all of these cats actually have the folded ears. They are also prone to a few health problems, though this has improved in some years. Their health will likely continue to improve. Currently, their health is still enough of a concern for them to be left out of many feline associations.

These felines are best for families with plenty of time, as they need quite a bit of mental and physical stimulation. They also don’t like being left alone for long periods. They are not quite as independent as other breeds.

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Featured Image: papa1266, Shutterstock

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