Ear! Ear! A Guide to the Scottish Fold Cat Breed

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short-legged cat, the munchkin cat scottish fold sitting in windowThe Scottish Fold cat gets its name from the unusual manner in which its ears present. These kitties are really affectionate and love to be around people and children. They are in fact kiddy-kitties and a special addition to any family. They’re so much more than just their cute ears!

The Brief History of Scottish Fold Cats 

As in the event of many a new cat breed, this unusually eared cat came about as a result of a naturally occurring mutation in what would otherwise be an ordinary cat.

Susie was the mother of the Scottish Fold breed. Of course, she was from Scotland, where she earned her keep as a mouse hunter in a barn near a place called Tayside. Susie was white in color with little, folded ears.

It is quite feasible that Susie would have gone unnoticed by and large, had William Ross, the shepherd, not come upon her in 1961. Susie became in the family way with a local Tom, and William the shepherd adopted a little girl from the litter.

This little kitten named Snooks went on to have a son who was bred with a British Shorthair. Voila! The “lop-eared cats” were born, and credence was later given to their heritage by naming them the Scottish Fold Cat breed. It is after all preferable to be named after your country of origin than the “lop-eared rabbit”.

Breeders jumped in and the mutation that resulted in the folded ears was determined to be the dominant gene. Susie’s long hair was another desired trait, and some breeding associations call the longhaired variety the Highland Fold.

American cat associations recognized the Scottish Fold Cat as a breed in the mid-70s after they arrived in the country in1971. American Shorthairs and British Shorthairs are prime breeds with which to out-cross the Scots Fold. Scottish Folds are not a recognized breed in Scotland, who fear that cartilage problems in the mutated ear could result in deafness or ear problems.

The Appearance of the Scottish Fold Cat Breed 

Scottish Fold Cats are medium-sized cats which are said to resemble owls, with the ears cropped on the head like a cap. The broadly spaced eyes and short nose also lend themselves to owlishness.

The folded ears are their deciding feature and these range in appearance. A single fold bends forward halfway up the ear; a double fold is tighter and the triple fold lies tightly against the head.

scottish cat ginger scottish fold cat in bag

Their bodies are rounded and well-padded and they can either be long or short haired. Either way, the coat is dense and resilient. Kittens are born with straight ears and if they are going to fold, they do so at around four weeks.

They come in many colors and patterns. Coat color determines eye color; white and bicolor team with blue eyes. One eye color is usually different from the other.

The Highland Fold is the longhaired variety, which has medium length to long fur, toe tufts, a plumed tail, and tufts of fur on the ears. The fur on the upper thighs is longer, known as britches, and some cats have a ruff around the neck.

What’s the Difference? Scottish Fold VS! 

Being a breed of mutant determination, a Scottish Fold cat could be compared with other breeds presenting mutant features.

The Difference Between Scottish Fold/Munchkin Cat

The Munchkin cat has a dominant mutant gene which presents in shortened legs. Unlike the Scots breed, Munchkins hail from Louisiana in the United States where the forerunner was bred with a domestic cat to launch what was to become a breed all its own.

Neither Scots Folds nor Munchkins may be bred with their own breed as the mutation becomes dangerous and in the case of the Munchkin, lethal. Scots Folds also have short legs, although not to the point that they are a special trait as in the Munchkin. Both breeds are loving and adore companionship.

Breeding of Munchkins with Folds is not unknown, but is nevertheless a contentious issue, with opinions on both sides of the fence.

Scottish Fold vs. Scottish Straight Cat 

You would be hard pressed to find differences between these two, besides of course the obvious folded ears. While these two breeds are used for breeding the Scots Fold, the only real difference between the two is that the Fold presents with the folded ears.

Scottish Straights were originally bred white, but like Scots Folds, now come in a range of patterns and colors. Both breeds are gentle, intelligent and adjust easily, whether to a household of children or a family with other pets.

Scots Folds are bred from Scottish Straights. Breeding Folds with Straights is encouraged to breed healthy kittens with the folded ears.

scottish fold kittens for sale

Average Size and Weight!

A Scottish Fold cat typically weighs in anywhere between eight and 13 pounds and is a medium sized breed.

Coats and Colors Explained! 

Since these kitties come in a variety of patterns and colors and are either long or short-haired, their coats range in appearance in almost as many ways as is possible in a cat. The Solid cats are white, black, blue, red, cream, blue-silver, or blue-cream.

Both the silver and gold cats are chinchilla or shaded while Cameo cats are shell or shaded. The smoke cats are black, blue, or cameo.

The tabby cats are silver, blue-silver, blue-silver patched, red, brown, blue, cream, or cameo.

As for patterns, the tabby is classic, mackerel, spotted, ticked, or patched. Other patterns include tortoiseshell, calico, dilute calico or bi-color.

The Beautiful Black Scottish Fold! 

Beautiful is indeed an apt description of this cat. The Black Fold is of the Solid color type and has all the features, traits and characteristics of the Scottish Fold but in black.

What Are Their Grooming Requirements? 

Folds are not high maintenance cats but they do shed. Comb out the coat weekly to get the skin oils combed through and remove dead hair.

Longhaired Folds could do with an extra grooming weekly to avoid tangles. Tightly folded ears should be checked more frequently, but once a week should typically suffice. Wipe the ears out with a cotton ball moistened with equal measures of warm water and apple cider vinegar. A soft cloth can also be used but never use cotton swabs as these can damage the inside of the ear.

Dental hygiene is always important to prevent periodontal disease. If you can’t get to is daily, then weekly is better than not at all. Nail-trimming is probably required once or twice a month.

Discharge on the corners of the eyes is quite normal and should be wiped away with a soft, damp cloth as necessary. Remember to avoid spreading possible infection by using a separate area of the cloth for each eye.

flat faced cats, the scottish fold cats sitting in cat beds

Temperament and Personality: What to Expect! 

Folds love company. They are sweet natured and have soft voices which they rarely over-use. They are playful, affectionate, intelligent, loyal, soft-spoken, and very adaptable. The family Fold will have no problem getting along with other pets. You can expect a loving cat, curious beyond measure, who loves to solve puzzles and be where you are.

What is the Lifespan of this Scottish Cat? 

A healthy Scottish Fold Cat can live up to 15 years.

Cats with Short Legs Can Live Long Lives! 

These kittens learn how to get to high places, as cats do, and they probably don’t even know that they should feel disadvantaged.

List of the Breed’s Potential Health Issues! 

As with any breed, health issues arise, and so too with this bundle of cuteness.

  • Osteochondrodysplasia is a better term for dwarfism and is a disorder of the development of bone and cartilage.
  • Degenerative joint disease affects the cartilage throughout their bodies but is typically seen in the tail, ankles, and knees.
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) impairs kidneys when cysts replace normal kidney tissue.
  • Familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a heart condition where thickening occurs in the walls of the chambers of the heart.

Scottish Fold Cat for Sale! 

This is a rare breed and comes at a high price, but remember that the buck does not stop at the price tag.

How Much do Scottish Fold Kittens Cost? 

Expect to pay between $1,000 to $2,000 for a kitten.

Adult Scottish Fold Price

You’ll probably won’t find adults for sale, but you may be fortunate enough to rescue an adult from a shelter!

cute scottish fold munchkin cat licking paw

What to Look for in Reputable Scottish Fold Breeders! 

Reputable breeders will perform medical tests necessary to screen out genetic health problems. They will raise kittens underfoot and not outdoors. Helpful websites to source breeders are the Cat Fanciers Association, the Fanciers Breeder Referral List, and The International Cat Association.

Adopt, Don’t Shop! Ask an Animal Shelter About Scottish Fold Kitten Rescues!

Being a less common breed, you might not be lucky enough to find a Fold as a rescue or at a shelter, but it can’t help to try. Listings on Petfinder or Adopt-a-Pet.com may help, or you can ask your vet.

Common Questions on the Scottish Fold Cat

Can I breed my male and female Fold without risk to the kittens? 

Can I trust a Fold to get along with our new baby?

Does my Fold need specific care for its ears? 

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