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White Scottish fold cat sitting on a tree

Breed overview

  • Weight — 6-8 pounds (female), 8-13 pounds (male)
  • Coat characteristics — All hair lengths, colors, and patterns are found.
  • Enrichment needs — Average
  • Intelligence — Average
  • Vocalizations — rare and quiet
  • Life span — 9-12 years
  • Temperament — sweet, affectionate, easily adaptable
  • Hypoallergenic — No
  • Origin — Scotland, United Kingdom

Scottish fold fun facts 

👉 Coming up with a pet name can be fun but tricky. Search no further! According to PetScreening’s 2024 database, the majority of our users name their male Scottish Folds Simba and Leo. Meanwhile, most of our users with female Scottish Folds love Luna, then Mia.

  • The Scottish fold has one of the roundest heads. They also have a very round body too. Perfect for pets and cuddles.
  • Scottish fold kittens aren’t born with the fold. Their ears don’t get their permanent folds until about 12 weeks old. Some kittens in the litter will have unfolded ears.
  • These cats have a super sweet expression. This is due to their loving nature, round head, and big round eyes.
Grey Scottish fold kitten laying on a bed

Scottish fold temperament and characteristics 

Scottish fold cats are very affectionate and adaptable. These cats do great with a family — fast or slow-paced — but tend to pick out a single person to form a close bond with. They are often described as very chill cats and do not demand your attention. They love being showered in affection and playing with their family, and even enjoy being brushed as part of playtime.

Their gentle temperament makes them great family cats; however, extra care should be given when handling their tails and other joints. Many families find they remain playful well into adulthood, but without active play, folds can become somewhat couch potatoes.

You’ll typically find that your Scottish fold is very quiet and rarely makes any noise. Their ears, however, are still very expressive of their moods. If you notice a change in your cat’s behavior or if they become lethargic, talk to your vet about determining if your cat may be experiencing anxiety or depression.

Common Scottish fold health problems 

Generally, Scottish folds are a healthy breed. However, because of the mutation to produce the fold in their ear, the cartilage throughout their body is weaker, which makes them more prone to certain health problems. If you see any changes to your cat’s behavior, please see your vet.

  • Osteochondrodysplasia.  This is a genetic condition that affects the bones and cartilage and it impacts all Scottish Folds. Osteochondrodysplasia causes the folded ear and will result in mild to severe degeneration of the cartilage and fusing of the bones.
  • Arthritis. Many folds will develop arthritis, especially in their tail. This condition is where the joints become inflamed and cause pain when moving.
  • Obesity. Just like humans, kitties with rich, full diets and low activity can easily develop obesity. Folds have a higher predisposition to develop obesity compared to other breeds.

🚨Male neutered cats are susceptible to urinary tract infections (UTIs) which can lead to fatal blockages if left untreated. Make an appointment with the vet immediately if you notice that your cat is having accidents.

Cost of caring for Scottish fold

Currently, there is no treatment for osteochondrodysplasia. All Scottish Folds will develop this condition to some extent, and your main expense will be the treatment for pain management. Depending on the severity and progression of the condition, you may need to talk with your vet about getting special items for mobility. Almost all folds develop arthritis, and every cat needs an annual checkup with their vet.

One way to help offset the cost of these expenses is to get pet insurance when you get your kitty. Because of the prevalence of these degenerative conditions, try to get a plan as soon as possible to get the best benefits. If pet insurance isn’t an option, consider starting a savings account to cover expected and unexpected expenses.

Because of the difficulty in breeding Scottish folds, expect to pay a large sum for a purebred. Depending on location and lineage, a kitten can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000. Adopting from a rescue can range from $200 to $500.

Calico Scottish fold cat on a dining table

History of the Scottish fold

All Scottish folds can trace their history back to a kitten born in 1961 named Susie. She was born on a farm in Scotland, where a neighbor saw her folded ears and fell in love with her. From there he bred her with British shorthairs to try and develop the fold.

As word got around the globe, Scottish folds gained popularity in the United States.  American breeders helped develop the breed by crossbreeding Scottish Folds with American and British shorthairs. Because of the genetic mutation of the folded ears, Scottish fold cats are not bred with each other. The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy initially denied the registry of the breed due to the health issues that were arising from breeding two folds together. However, Scottish folds were officially accepted as a breed in 1973.

Caring for your Scottish fold

The best part of caring for your Scottish fold is giving them the opportunity to have a long full life. Regular vet visits and staying up to date on vaccinations have a huge impact. FidoAlert is also a great option to help owners have peace of mind in the event that their cat becomes lost.


When it comes to brushing your fold, there are slight differences depending on the coat length. If you have the short-haired variety, then you can get by with just once a week. If your kitty has a longer coat, they’ll need to be brushed multiple times a week. When you’re brushing, keep an eye out for any non-shedding hair loss. This is a sign something’s not quite right, and you may want to consult your veterinarian.

Groomer visits aren’t necessary even for long-haired folds. If they get into anything sticky or nasty, you might need to give them a full bath. Otherwise, pet wipes should do the trick.

Be sure to pay special attention to their ears to get rid of any wax build-up or dirt.

Regardless if your cat is an expert at grooming themselves, there are still some routine tasks that you should help with to prevent issues like gingivitis. Brushing your cat’s teeth, bringing them to the vet for routine dental care, and trimming your cat’s nails are all essential to a healthy cat and a happy you.

Scottish fold cat held by owner outside at the fairground

Diet and nutrition

Because of their predisposition to obesity, it is important to feed your kitty food that is high in protein. The best starting point for feeding your fold is to follow the serving suggestions on your cat food bag. You can also talk with your veterinarian to set up a meal plan.

Although cats drink less water than a dog their size, it is still important to make sure your cat is getting enough water. Cats typically prefer moving water over water that sits still. Cat water fountains can be a very beneficial investment in your cat’s health.

Enrichment and environment

Some Scottish folds still have a very strong hunt drive in them passed down from the famous barn cat Susie. Many enjoy having a secure outside area to play in and hunt. If your fold has some mobility issues, it might be better to give them an area inside designed specifically for their hunt needs. They love chasing laser pointers or a wand toy.

🚨 When designing their outside play area, make sure the weather isn’t too hot or too cold for them.

It’s very important to keep your kitty active and moving. Because they start so round with a large appetite, they can easily develop obesity. Daily play and exercise can help ensure your kitty lives a long and healthy life. Because of their active nature, they may get bored with simpler toys or toys you can’t share in playtime with them.

Scottish fold cat hiding in a cardboard box

Breeds similar to the Scottish fold

Not quite sure that a Scottish fold is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Laperm cat. This breed is a strong option if you’re looking for a striking appearance and loving, playful nature without major health concerns.
  • Japanese bobtail. Here is another breed with a noteworthy appearance. This breed is a bit chattier and more playful than the Scottish fold.
  • Selkirk rex. These cats are very mellow and chill like a fold, but prefer to be in your lap all times of the day.

Frequently asked questions

How much does a Scottish fold cost?

A purebred Scottish fold can cost from $1,500 to $3,000.

Why are Scottish folds considered rare?

Because of the genetic mutation that causes the fold, Scottish folds can’t be bred with each other. Breeding them with other domestic cats means that not every kitten will have a folded ear.

Is a Scottish fold cat a good pet for me?

Scottish fold cats are independent, loving cats. They love spending time and playing with their humans, but may not want to spend a lot of time in your lap.

Why are Scottish fold cats so expensive?

Scottish folds have a high cost due to the difficulties when breeding them. Responsible breeders will make sure their cats don’t pass on debilitating health issues.