The Scottish Fold cat occurred as a spontaneous mutation in farm cats in Scotland. The breed has been established by crosses to British Shorthair and domestic cats in Scotland and England. In America, the outcross is the American and British Shorthair. All bona fide Scottish Fold cats trace their pedigree to Susie.
Scottish Folds are typically intelligent, sweet-tempered, soft-spoken, and easily adaptable to new people and situations. They are loyal and tend to bond with one person in the household. While they will usually allow others to cuddle and pet them, their primary attachment becomes quickly clear as they single out their chosen human. They thrive on attention, but it must be on their own terms. Despite their devotion, they are not clingy, demanding cats and usually prefer to be near you rather than on your lap. They enjoy a good game of catch the catnip mouse now and then as well, and keep their playful side well into adulthood.
Despite being folded, the Fold’s ears are still expressive and swivel to listen, lay back in anger, and prick up when a can of food is opened. The fold in the ear can become less pronounced when the cat is upset or ill. Although some Fold family members report an increased production of wax buildup in their cats’ ears, the folded ears typically do not make the cat more susceptible to mites or ear infections. The previously reported susceptibility to deafness may be related to the fact that some early Scottish Folds were white, and white cats can be prone to a type of deafness that’s unrelated to the Fold gene.
All Scottish Folds can trace their pedigrees back to a cat named Susie found in 1961 on the McRae farm near Coupar Angus, a town in Perth and Kinross, Scotland. This white female farm feline had unique, folded down ears, and British Shorthair breeders William and Mary Ross, upon seeing this unusual cat, recognized her potential as a new breed.
William Ross asked the McRaes if he could purchase the cat, and was promised a kitten from Susie’s first litter. Susie’s mother was a straight-eared white cat, and her father was unknown, so it’s unclear whether Susie was one of the first of her kind or whether the folded ears had never been noticed before. In 1963, Susie produced two folded-ear kittens, and as promised William and Mary Ross were given one—a folded-ear white beauty like her mother that they named Snooks.
On the advice of British geneticist Peter Dyte, the Rosses started a breeding program using as outcrosses the British Shorthairs that were close on hand in their cattery, and random-bred domestics. They took the name Denisla as their Fold cattery named after the two rivers, the Den and the Isla, which flowed past their cottage.
William and Mary Ross quickly realized that the gene governing the folded ears was dominant; only one parent needed the gene in order to pass along the unique trait. Any cat possessing one copy of the fold gene produced about fifty percent of Fold kittens.
Originally, the Rosses called their new breed Lops after the lop-ear type of rabbit. In 1966, however, they changed the name to Scottish Fold, in honor of this most extraordinary trait and the country in which the breed was found. The same year, the Rosses registered their Scottish Fold cats with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF). Along with other enthusiasts they gathered along the way, the Rosses began the process of achieving acceptance for their folded friends.
At first, a number of breeders and fanciers were enthusiastic about this new and different breed, but soon GCCF became concerned about potential health problems. At first, they were worried about ear infections, ear mite infestations, and deafness, but these concerns were proven unfounded. However, GCCF soon became concerned about genetic problems, which were, unfortunately, very real difficulties. By 1971, GCCF closed registration to Scottish Folds and banned further registration in their registry. To continue toward the show ring, the Scottish Fold had to pack up its kilts and move to North America.
All genuine Scottish Folds can be traced back to Susie. The Scottish Fold was accepted for CFA registration in 1973; in May 1977 Scottish Folds were given CFA provisional status. In 1978, the Fold became a CFA champion breed. In an amazingly short period, the Fold earned acceptance in all the North American cat associations and a place among North America’s most popular breeds. The longhaired version of the breed was not officially recognized until the mid-1980s, although longhair kittens had been cropping up in Scottish Fold litters since the genesis of the breed. Suzie may have carried the recessive gene for long hair, being a cat of uncertain origin.
The use of a number of Persians in early outcrosses also helped establish the longhair gene. Today, all associations have accepted the Scottish Fold Longhair for championship, although many associations have a separate standard for the longhair and call it the Highland Fold or the Longhair Fold. The Scottish Fold Longhair is known by three different monikers, depending on the association. AACE, ACFA, and UFO call the breed the Highland Fold; CFF refers to the breed as the Longhair Fold. In CFA and TICA, the longhaired Scottish Fold is a division of the Scottish Fold breed and shares one standard in each association. In CCA, the breed is called Scottish, and both hair lengths share one standard, although the two hair lengths are judged as separate breeds. In addition, CCA accepts the Scottish Straight Shorthair and the Scottish Straight Longhair under the name Scottish; these are Scottish Folds that don’t possess folded ears. The Scottish Shorthair, also called the pert-ear, has the same personality and body type as the Scottish Fold; they just don’t have folded ears. Since the Fold doesn’t breed true, the pet-quality pert-ear can be bought relatively inexpensively. In the Australian Cat Federation (ACF), the Scottish Shorthair is accepted as a breed in its own right.
Medium, rounded, and even from shoulder to pelvic girdle. The cat should stand firm with a well-padded body. Overall appearance is that of a well-rounded cat with medium bone
Well-rounded with a firm chin and jaw. Muzzle should have well-rounded whisker pads. Head should blend into a short neck. Prominent cheeks with a jowly appearance in males. Nose to be short with a gentle curve. Profile is moderate in appearance.
Ears fold forward and downward. Small. Ear tips are rounded.
Wide open with a sweet expression. Large, well-rounded, and separated by a broad nose. Eye color to correspond with coat color. Blue eyed and odd eyed may appear in all white, bicolor and van patterns.
Short, coarse legs. Toes are neat and well-rounded with five in front and four behind.
Tail should be medium to long but in proportion to the body. Tail should be flexible and tapering which may end in a round tip.
Any color or pattern with the exception of those showing evidence of hybridization resulting in the colors chocolate, lavender, the Himalayan pattern, or these combinations with white. Eye color appropriate to the dominant color of the cat. Odd eyed and blue eyed may appear in all bicolor and van patterns. Odd eyed will have one blue and one gold eye of equal color depth.
Medium-long to long hair length.
Dense, plush, even. Short to medium-short in length. Soft in texture.
Full of life. Standing away from body due to density, not flat or close
lying. Coat texture may vary due to color and/or regional, seasonal