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Scottish Fold Cat Facts

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Scottish fold cat resting on a multicolored piece of furniture

Distinguishable by their folded ears, Scottish Folds are quite easy to spot in a crowd. Interested to know what makes these cats so desirable among cat parents? Read on to find out more.

History of the Scottish Fold

As their name suggests, these cats originated in Scotland, specifically in the Tayside region. What is perhaps most interesting and unique about these cats' history is that so much is known about their ancestry. In fact, these cats can be traced all the way back to one singular cat who went by the name Susie.

Susie was a white barn cat who spent her time hunting down mice. So what made Susie so special, especially when compared with all the other barn cats? As you may have already guessed, it was her folded ears that earned her extra attention.

In 1961, a shepherd by the name William Ross took a special interest in Susie, and when she had kittens, he acquired one of them, which he named Snooks. Snooks then had kittens, and Ross took one of the males and bred him with a British Shorthair. So began the Scottish Fold. By 1971, these cats were already being imported into the United States.

What to Know About Scottish Folds

These cats are loving, social, and smart, so they make a great addition to families of all sizes and ages. Just remember, it's important to teach children how to handle and respect their four-legged family member properly. This will help ensure that your pet stays happy and healthy and your child stays safe from any unwanted scratches or bites.

Because the Scottish Fold personality is so sociable, these cats do not do well being left alone for long periods of time. Some Scottish Fold parents have discovered that by adopting two Scottish Folds, they can help keep each other company, and the cats will consequently not be bothered with being left home alone. No matter how long you leave your feline friend, the chances are that when you return home, they will want to sit in your lap for some quality cuddle time.

These cats can be found with a short-coated or long-coated appearance—many people refer to the long-coated versions as Highland Folds. These cats also come in a variety of colors and patterns, including solid, tabby, tabby and white, bicolor, and parti-color—this means it can be difficult to find two that look the same!

Another unique trait of these adorable kitties is that their eye color will be determined by their coat color—many Scottish Folds are even known to have two different colored eyes.

Some common questions pet parents have before adopting their own Scottish Fold include:

What Is the Typical Scottish Fold Temperament?

These cats have a very even temperament, meaning they are not abnormally active, but they are more energetic than just a lap cat. They are also sociable and friendly and enjoy playing games, exploring, and having some quality lap time with their family.

Do Scottish Folds Shed?

Yes. They shed just about the same amount as any other cat.

Are Scottish Fold Cats Hypoallergenic?

No, these cats are not hypoallergenic, so people with cat allergies should steer clear of this cat breed.

How Big Do Scottish Folds Get?

Although medium-sized, these cats typically have a compact build. Females of this breed typically weigh in between 6 and 9 pounds, and males weigh in between 9 to 13 pounds. While these are the average weights, each cat is unique, so there is a chance that your cat could weigh more or less than the average.

What's the Average Scottish Fold Lifespan?

On average, these cats live to be 11–15 years old. This number can be affected by many factors such as your cat's living environment, their daily health and exercise routine, and whether they have any pre-existing health conditions.

gray Scottish fold cat resting atop a beige sofa


Overall, Scottish Folds do not require any special grooming. In order to keep their coat healthy and to remove dead hairs, your cat should be brushed at least once a week—more brushing typically means less hair on your furniture and your clothes.

Besides a good brushing, your feline friend will also need to have their nails trimmed every few weeks, or as needed. There are many cat toys and scratching posts available that you can get for your cat to help them naturally wear down their own nails. Although you will still need to trim them, having a toy for scratching should help spread out the trimming sessions.

It is additionally important to brush your cat's pearly whites at least once a week. A weekly teeth cleaning can help prevent periodontal disease.


Due to their folded ears, it is essential for Scottish Fold parents to check their cat's ears on a weekly basis and to clean the ears as needed.

If the ears appear dirty, you can use a 50/50 mixture of water and cider vinegar, or you can acquire a veterinarian recommended ear cleaner. Simply moisten a cotton ball or soft cloth with your preferred cleaner and gently wipe out the ears. Avoid using cotton swabs to clean your cat's ears because they can accidentally cause damage or pain to your cat's inner ear.

As a pet parent, you have surely noticed that cats, on occasion, will have discharge that can build up in the corners of their eyes. To clean up around their eyes, use a soft, damp cloth and wipe outward from the eyes. Just make sure to use a separate area of the cloth for each eye—this will prevent the risk of spreading any potential infection from one eye to the other.

gray Scottish fold cat under a white sheet

Common Health Issues

Like any other breed, Scottish Folds are also susceptible to some health issues. According to our claims data*, the top conditions that affect these cats include:

  1. Anemia – This occurs when there is a drop in your cat's red blood cells, causing the cell count to be lower than normal.
  2. Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) – Also known as chronic kidney disease (CKD), this is typically more common among older cats.
  3. Weight loss – If a cat has an unhealthy weight, it almost always leads to many other health issues. Talk to your veterinarian about recommended food and diet plans for your cat.
  4. Blindness – Signs of blindness can include your cat bumping into furniture more often, having difficulty going up and down steps, moving all together at a slower pace, or you may notice a milky or cloudy appearance on their eyes. If your cat's loss of sight is a slow progression, chances are they will adapt and be able to still live a normal life.
  5. Arthritis – Symptoms your cat can exhibit if they have developed arthritis can include decreased flexibility, lethargy, overall stiffness, and discomfort when they are picked up or handled.

If you notice any of these symptoms or irregular behaviors from your cat, it's key to take them to their veterinarian for a checkup. Although there are many feline health issues that cannot be completely cured, there are many treatment options available that will help allow you to give your cat a happy and healthy life.

Fun Facts About Scottish Folds

Learn some more fun facts about these adorable cats!

  • For a short period, these cats were known as "lop-eared cats," but their name was later changed to the name we know today—Scottish Fold.
  • Scottish Folds are not recognized as a breed in Scotland because of a concern that their folded ears could lead to various ear-related medical problems.
  • Musician Taylor Swift owns two Scottish Folds—Meredith Grey and Olivia Benson. Talk about some Insta-famous kitties!
  • These cats are—funnily enough—known for posing in interesting positions. They have been known to stand up on their back legs, they will sleep sprawled out on their back or belly, and they oftentimes sit just as a human would.

What Should You Name Your Scottish Fold?

After bringing your new kitten or cat home, you have an extremely important decision to make—choosing a name. Check out some of our recommended names!

  • Walter
  • Luther
  • Florence
  • Nellie
  • Mabel
  • Sprout
  • Opal
  • Bo
  • Arthur

*Internal Claims Data, 2019

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.


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