Learn about the breed

This days the Scottish Breed refers to group of four breeds – The Scottish Fold, longhair and shorthair and the Scottish Straight, longhair and shorthair. These can all be born in the same litter but by the time kittens are around 3 to 4 weeks old their ears may begin to show signs of folding. And the ‘degree’ of fold can vary from a looser ‘single’ fold to a tight ‘triple’ fold. Otherwise, both Scottish Folds and Scottish Straights are identical cats and have the same structural features and personalities.

The Scottish is a cat with unique ears tightly folded on the skull downward and forward. It has a round head, wide-set round eyes, firm chin and short neck. That all give it an owl-like appearance with cute expression the cat retains even when adult. The medium-size body with short legs is also rounded, completed by a flexible, medium to long tail that usually ends in a rounded tip.

A shorthaired Scottish has a dense, plush coat with a soft texture while a longhaired species has medium-long to long fur with britches, toe tufts, a thick tail, and tufts on the ears. He may also have a gorgeous ruff around the neck.

The Scottish Breed comes in many attractive colors and patterns, including solid, tabby, bicolor and particolor with eye color to correspond with the coat color. All these diversities came from Persians, American Shorthairs, Exotic Shorthairs and even Burmese that had been used for breeding programs before Scottish breed was officially recognized as a separate breed.

  • Affectionate, loving and loyal – but not ‘clingy’
  • Not given to loud vocal displays
  • Tend to be ‘one-person’ cats and bond closely with their owners
  • Adaptable and easy going, good with children and other pets
  • Mid-range in terms of activity level
  • Intelligent – like to play games/puzzles
  • Can be a little ‘needy’ and don’t like being alone for long periods
  • Sometimes a little ‘stubborn’ and (like all cats) have a mind of their own!

One other funny little ‘quirk’ that is unique to Scottish Fold Cats, is their strange ability to sit upright, on their butt with their back legs straight out, sort of like an otter, or even a furry little Buddah.

Breed History

All Scottish Folds can trace their genetic lineage back to one specific ancestor who lived in Scotland during the mid 20th century!

What we know today about the Scottish Fold cats was well presented by TICA on the introduction page under breed category  :

“The first folded ear cat was found in a barn on the McRae farm at CouparAngus in the TaysideRegion of Scotland. Her name was “Susie.” Friends of the McRae’s, Mary and William Ross were British Shorthair breeders who fell in love with Susie and were promised one of her kittens. In 1963 the Rosses were given a folded-ear white female they named “Snooks,” who was bred with an unknown red tabby male. Her first litter produced one male kitten, “Snowball,” who was bred to a white British Shorthair, “Lady May,” and their litter produced five folded kittens. Thus, begins the lineage of the Folds. Three of these kittens arrived in the US in 1970.


Susie, the first known Scottish Fold

Interesting discovery in history was that the 1975 Guide to the Cats of the World by Loxtonincludes the statement, “The idea of a drop-eared Chinese breed was a persistent one.” The first known written reference to these cats appears in 1796 in the Universal Magazine of Knowledge in which folded-ear cats were mentioned as wild cats in China. Guide to the Cats of the World continues, “A century later a sailor returned from China with a drop-eared cat….”

There is no more documented evidence of these cats until 1938 when a second cat was found with these characteristics. At that time the rare mutation was thought to be restricted to white longhaired cats.

Is it just coincidence that the first Folds in Scotland were white as the previously mentioned ones were and that the Oriental art also depicts white drop-eared cats? We cannot be certain, but sailors did roam the seas. These stories do persist and the idea of a natural mutation appearing from time to time is not without merit. “

Health Background

The Scottish is a hardy breed. Their typical lifespan is about 15 years. When properly bred, they do not have any special health or grooming issues. But there are strict breeding guidelines to follow to maintain the health of the breed. This means the responsible breeder never mates one Scottish Fold to another. Unfortunately, it has not always been like this.

Scottish Fold Breed Committee of TICA discovered some facts in their release:

“Once the folds were brought to America, little was known about the natural mutation which results in the folded ear. In the early 1970s Dr. Oliphant Jackson, an English geneticist, released a report stating that the breed carried a bone problem. The decision was made, the report stated, that changes and the vital use of outcrosses were needed to restore the original health of Folds. About this time, x-rays of Folds started showing bone lesions. According to Dr. Jackson’s report, there had been no previous mention of associated skeletal deformity before the ’70s. Scientists and breeders agreed that these were being caused by excessive in-breeding early in the history of the Folds rather than by the Fdgene itself.

It is through careful breeding over the last 15 –20 years that we are now seeing folded cats showing no adverse effects caused by the early inbreeding. Yes, we can have healthy, happy Scottish cats again as they were originally!”

Ironically, they are not recognized as a breed in their country of origin over concerns that the folded ear might lead to ear infections or deafness and because of a related cartilage problem.


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