Scottish Fold cat resting.

Scottish Fold Cat Breed

This quiet and companionable breed with unique folded ears is very loyal and gets along well with children.

Due to a rare genetic mutation, the ears of this breed fold forward to fit like a cap over the skull, producing a unique round-headed look. The first Fold cat to be discovered was an all-white, long-haired female, known as Susie, that was born on a Scottish farm in the 1960s.

At first, this cat and the folded-ear kittens she produced attracted only local interest, but then geneticists began taking notice and some of Susie’s descendants were sent to the US. Here, the breed was established, using crosses between Folds and British and American Shorthairs.

During the development of the Scottish Fold, a long-coated version also emerged. These cats need careful breeding to prevent certain skeletal problems linked with the gene responsible for ear folding, and due to this risk they do not meet with the approval of all breed authorities.

Scottish Folds are always born with straight ears that, in kittens carrying the folded-ear gene, begin to flatten forward within about three weeks. Cats that remain straight-eared are known as Scottish Straights. The Scottish Fold is still something of a rarity, more likely to be seen at shows than as a housecat.

The breed is known, however, for its loyal nature, and Scottish Folds that do become pets adjust easily to any type of family, making quiet and affectionate companions.

Traveling Companion

American writer Peter Gethers boosted the popularity of this breed with a biographical trilogy about his adventures with his Scottish Fold cat Norton, published in 2009 and 2010. Presented with a kitten as a gift, Gethers became an instant cat fanatic.

Norton traveled the world with his owner, accompanying Gethers on longhaul flights and sitting beside him in restaurants. When the cat died, at the age of 16, he had become well-known enough to merit an obituary in the New York Times.

Origin: UK/US, 1960s

Breed registries: CFA, TICA

Weight range: 6–13lb (2.5–6kg)

Grooming: Weekly

Colors and patterns: Most colors, shades, and patterns, including pointed, tabby, and tortie.