One of the most easily recognizable cat breeds, the Scottish Fold has thousands of adoring fans worldwide. Find out what makes these bent-eared beauties so celebrated, (and we’re not just talking about Taylor Swift’s cats Olivia and Meredith!) everybody loves a Scottish Fold.

Facts About Scottish Fold Cats

The first Scottish Fold cat was found at a farm in Perthshire, Scotland in 1961. The cat looked as if she had stubby ears, or ones that had shrunken and were tipped against her head. When she had kittens, two had the same ear defect, which then inspired nearby breeder and cat fancier, Willian Ross. He partnered with a geneticist to begin breeding cats who had folded ears, which be believed was the result of a dominant gene.

Right Ross was, for within the first three years of breeding this new kind of cat, Ross and Pat Turner (the geneticist) successfully bred over 76 cats. The majority of these cats (well over 50% of them) turned out to have the trademark folded ears.

Scottish Fold cats were recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1977. They are also recognized as one of the top ten most intelligent cat breeds.

Every Scottish Fold cat is a descendant of Susie, the original cat found in Scotland in the early 1960’s. The Scottish Fold breed is also grandfather to the Ukrainian Levkoy (ranked as one of the ugliest cats in the world), who is a cross breed with the Donskoy (or Russian Hairless cat). Just like barn owls, Scottish Folds originate from barn-dwelling cats. They are feisty survivors, who resemble the barn owl’s large eyes and seemingly ear-less heads.

All Scottish Fold kittens are born with regular pointy ears, like that of other cats. Within the first three weeks, cats with the fold gene will witness their ears starting roll forward. This simple “floppy-ear” fold is only one variation of the “deformity.” Some breeders are so selective that their cats have a double or triple fold that falls smoothly against their heads.

These cats are a medium sized breed, weighing between 6-14 lbs. They can have short coats or long coats, and thick skin around the neck.   Scottish Folds come in a variety of colors including: solid shades, tabby, tortoiseshell, smoked colored fur, calico, bi-color, and uncommon colors like chocolate, silver, black and blue, or lavender.

Scottish Folds are good pets but they may be inclined to bond with one human in a group specifically. They are social cats that do not prefer to be alone of unattended. They are among the quieter cats, though they will make you aware if they need anything.

Scottish Folds come from hearty stock (a barn cat from cold Scotland is a staunch creature!) and do not suffer from many health problems. Though people used to believe that Scottish Fold cats were prone to deafness (for obvious reasons) there is no proof that this breed is more susceptible than others. Two of the most common ailments of the Scottish Fold is polycystic kidney disease and cardiomyopathy, but most of them tend to live up to a healthy 15 years.

Not only are the Scottish Fold cats found in the Highlands of the United Kingdom, they have been highlighted in books, anime series, on social media platforms. One internet sensation is a Scottish Fold named Waffles the Cat, whose Facebook page has 1.3 million likes!