A pet owner's guide to Scottish fold cats

These cats take their name from their unique ears, which are normal at birth but, thanks to the work of Scottish fold breeders, go on to develop a single, double or triple fold within the first few weeks of life. Scottish fold cats come in two distinct varieties: short-haired and long-haired.


As the story goes, the first Scottish fold was spotted by a farmer in Scotland during the 1960s. Though its folded ears were considered an anomaly, the cat was undeniably adorable. Scottish fold breeders took over from there, creating one of the cutest and most beloved feline breeds in the world.


Size: Full-grown females average 6 to 9 pounds in weight, with males tipping the scales at about 9 to 13 pounds. A Scottish fold purebred cat is medium in size, with a rounded head and body.

Coat: The short-haired variant has a plush, soft and even coat, not unlike the fur seen in the Russian blue breed. Long-haired Scottish fold cats have a wispier appearance when fur is allowed to grow, though clipped fur on the face and legs is considered desirable in show cats.

Eyes & Ears: Golden eyes are the most common, though this breed can also have blue, green, blue-green and mixed-color eyes. In general, the eyes are broadly spaced. The ears are the breed's identifying characteristic and lay folded over towards the head. The ears of cats with double or triple creases may actually lay more or less flat against the skull.

Tail: These cats have flexible tails. The short-haired Scottish fold cat has a soft, fur-lined tail, while long-haired cats have bushy tails covered in frizzy hair.

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With its soft, gentle meows and sweet, affectionate temperament, it's little wonder this breed has endeared itself so deeply to cat lovers. A Scottish fold kitten makes a good addition to a multi-pet household, as it will adapt well to other animals.

Health and Care

Grooming: Long-haired cats shed more profusely than their short-haired cousins and may need more attentive brushing to remove dead fur. Otherwise, these cats will more or less groom themselves, though regular professional care will benefit long-haired animals.

Activity Level: These cats display varying energy levels, from low to high, depending on each individual's temperament. However, most Scottish fold cats enjoy a romp in the outdoors, due to their origins in the Scottish countryside.

Health Problems: This breed is susceptible to a heart condition known as feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Feline distemper can also be a problem in older cats. On the whole, though, this breed is hardy and healthy.

Average Lifespan: Scottish folds live an average of 12 to 14 years.

Tracking Down Scottish Fold Cats for Sale

When it comes to Scottish fold cats, demand usually exceeds supply. Expect reputable breeders to charge as much as $1,000 or more for healthy, vaccinated, pet-quality Scottish fold kittens. Breeding- and show-quality cats sell for much more. Prospective owners may be placed on waiting lists or entered into lotteries for available kittens.