Scottish Fold cat breed information and advice
Scottish Fold cats can be traced back to a white farm cat called Suzie, born in Perthshire, Scotland in 1961. Suzie had an unusual fold in her ears, caused by a naturally occurring mutation. First known as lop-eared cats, this marked the first stage of their development.
But what separates them and makes them distinguishable from other cat breeds, also makes them controversial. The distinctive fold of the ears is sometimes seen as an undesirable deformity. As it stands, the Scottish Fold (or Highland Fold as the long-haired version is known) isn’t recognised by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy of Great Britain. Our guide helps you decide whether a Scottish Fold cat is right for you.
Scottish Fold cat facts
4-6 kg (males); 2.7-4 kg (females)
moderate (short-hair), high (long-hair)
affectionate, sweet, gentle
Scottish Fold cat insurance
Scottish Fold cats are known to have problems with osteoarthritis due to the genetic mutation responsible for its folded ears. Make sure you protect your cat with cat insurance to help with the cost of any treatment that your cat may need.
Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance
With Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance, you can cover your Scottish Fold cat from 8 weeks old. You’ll be able to take out new cat cover up to your cat’s 10th birthday. To make sure your Scottish Fold is looked after in their senior years, take out pet insurance before their 10th birthday and renew the policy year after year.
How to care for a Scottish Fold cat
Short-haired Scottish Fold cats will only need grooming once a week, if you have a long-haired cat, it will be twice a week or more. As with any other cat, they should have a balanced diet and lots of exercise to keep them at a healthy weight.
Feeding and nutrition
Make sure you provide your Scottish Fold cat with a nutritious, balanced diet. If you buy your kitten from a breeder, get them to provide you with a feeding schedule so you can stick to their routine and feed at the same time every day.
Try and keep to the same food they’re used to and if you decide to change their diet, best do it gradually to avoid any stomach upsets.
A weekly comb or brush will keep a short-haired Scottish Fold coat soft and in good condition. Long-haired Folds need more attention as they have longer hair on their thighs, a tail plume, toe tufts and tufts on their ears. They may have a ‘ruff’ around their neck too.
Scottish Folds are moderately active cats and will enjoy playing with interactive toys. A cat tree or perch will also keep them entertained. Regular exercise will help to prevent them from becoming overweight so make sure you always have time to play with them.
These smart cats can be trained to play fetch and do other tricks with time, patience and treats. And you shouldn’t have much of a problem toilet or litter training a Scottish Fold.
Temperament and behaviour
Scottish Fold cats are typically good-natured and easy-going with soft voices and a wide range of purrs and meows. Their affectionate temperament makes them great companions and they’re usually good with children. They don’t like to be left alone for too long so are best suited to homes with other pets.
They like to play and explore outdoors, but make sure the outdoor space is enclosed and safe. They are also known to have a strong prey drive and be good hunters. Something to bear in mind when letting them out.
Common health problems
The folded ears of the Scottish Fold are inherited as a dominant gene mutation. This affects the cartilage throughout the body and causes the ears to fold forwards and downwards. Scottish Fold kittens are born with unfolded ears that fold over by the time they are 3 weeks old. Kittens that don’t develop folded ears are known as ‘Straights’. Check out our pet insurance policies to help cover any treatment your Scottish Fold cat may need.
Scottish Fold osteochondrodysplasia
Osteochondrodysplasia is a degenerative joint disease. It affects cartilage and bone development due to the gene that causes the folded ears. Cats that have two copies of the abnormal gene (homozygous) develop severe osteoarthritis early in life and aren’t used to breed from. Cats that have one copy of the gene (heterozygous) can have less severe osteoarthritis. This can develop in early adulthood or a milder version can develop when the cat is late middle-aged and onwards. While there’s no cure for the genetic abnormality, osteoarthritis can be managed through medication, supplements and changes to their environment.
AD-PKD is an inherited condition that has been known to affect Scottish Folds. The condition causes cysts to form in the kidneys. Affected cats usually develop signs of kidney disease between 3-10 years of age. There’s no cure, but treatments are available that may help to improve the cat’s quality of life. Affected cats should not be allowed to breed.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
HCM is a serious heart condition that affects many cat breeds. Cardiomyopathy means disease of the heart muscle, in the case of HCM, the heart muscle becomes thick. This prevents the heart from working properly and leads to heart failure. Long-term medication can slow the disease down but unfortunately there’s no cure.
So, is a Scottish Fold cat right for you?
The laid-back, friendly Scottish Fold will get along with children who treat them kindly, other cats and cat-friendly dogs. This makes them a good choice for families but if left alone all day, they may need another cat to keep them company. When you return home, they will enjoy playing before curling up on your lap to be close to you.
Scottish Folds may look cute, but they are a controversial breed. Owners need to be aware of the long-term health problems associated with the breed.
How much are Scottish Fold cats?
Scottish Folds are quite rare so their price can be high. Expect to pay between £600 and £1000 for a Scottish Fold kitten. Always buy from a responsible and reputable breeder.
Are Scottish Fold cats healthy?
Scottish Fold cats are generally healthy but can be affected by a condition known as osteochondrodysplasia. This affects cartilage and bone development and can lead to severe osteoarthritis. The breed can also be affected by polycystic kidney disease and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
What do Scottish Fold cats eat?
Scottish Folds should be fed a diet adapted for their age, health condition, and weight. Feed them a high protein, low carbohydrate, low-calorie food but make sure they don’t eat too much. Being overweight will make any joint problems worse.
Why do Scottish Fold cats sit like that?
One of the interesting traits of Scottish Folds is that they can often be found sitting or lying in unusual positions. They may lie on their backs with their legs stretched out or paws in the air, sitting on their hind-legs or sitting up like a Meerkat. Or you may find them sitting in a position with their legs stretched out and their paws on their stomach (the Buddha position). No-one knows exactly why they like these positions, but they must find them comfortable!
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