Folded Facts

Is there something wrong with the cat’s ears?

No. They are not, as some people think, “broken”. The ear shape of the Scottish Fold is caused by an autosomal dominant gene. This gene is not “carried”. In mating, it requires only one parent with folded ears, to produce true Fold offspring. When a straight-eared cat is bred to one with folded ears, you can get kittens with either ear shape, but the ones whose ears are straight, will never produce kittens with folded ears unless bred to a folded ear cat.

Do you breed a cat with folded ears to another one, to make sure all the ears are folded?

While this would produce kittens with folded ears, the gene that causes the distinctive ear positioning, also may cause osteo problems with the kittens’ skeletal structure. By the Cat Fancier’s Association standard for breeding, a FE (folded ear) cat may be mated to a British Shorthair, American Shorthair, or a SE (straight eared) Fold. The first two enable the breed to widen their gene pool while retaining the basic body features of the breed, and the latter allows breeders to use established Scottish Fold bloodlines.

What is a “normal” ear for a Scottish Fold?

The ear positioning of Folds, can vary. The ears may have a very “tight” fold that keeps them down and close to the head, they may be only half or slightly bent over, and can also be as straight as other cats. The folding of the ear is not painful, nor a deformity, and does not impair hearing or movement.

Can their ears be cleaned, and do they need to be cleaned more or less than other cats?

Their ears require no more cleaning than an ordinary cat’s. They are soft, flexible, and can be lifted or moved for cleaning, without discomfort.

Can a cat with folded ears, move them?

Yes. The Fold’s ears are mobile, but the natural positioning means their motion is not as obvious. A Scottish Fold who can’t move his ears, may have suffered an injury, or other trauma such as frostbite.

Can you lift the ear on the Scottish Fold???

Yes. The ear is soft and flexable and lifts up easily for cleaning or inspection with no harm to the cat.

Are their ears always folded?

No. Kittens are born with ears that are straight. The folding occurs at about 21 days after birth. Some cats experience a “lifting” of their ears, anywhere from a slight opening, to nearly straight, due to stresses such as birthing or a hot and humid environment. These ears may not return to their original degree of folding, however a cat who has been born a Fold, will always produce folded ear kittens when bred.

How far do the ears have to fold, to be show quality?

For show, the ears should be well folded, capped to the head, and set on the side, so the overall impression is of a rounded head. The ears should be small, with round tips that point downward. Ears that are too loose (where the tips are standing out from the head/base of the ear), or only slightly bent, are not show material, although they can be bred and throw FE kittens. Scottish Folds with straight ears, are not shown. Sometimes the long-haired Scottish Fold enjoys the advantage of having their coat disguise a slight lifting or looseness of the ear, because the additional hair length adds to the rounded shape of the head.

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