The Scottish Straight Cat Breed: The Non-Folded Eared Feline

Adorable Scottish Straight cat with round eyes and plush fur.

The Scottish Straight is a relatively new and rare breed of domestic cat that emerged as a variation of the popular Scottish Fold cat. With their medium-length coat, round face, and distinctive straight-up ears, the Scottish Straight offers cat lovers an alternate version of the sweet-faced Scottish Fold, without the controversial folded ears. Read on to learn all about this unique cat breed, from its origins and appearance to its temperament and care.

What Exactly is the Scottish Straight Cat Breed?

The Scottish Straight belongs to the Scottish breed group, which also includes the better-known Scottish Fold. While the Fold is defined by its distinctive forward-folding ears, the Scottish Straight stands out for its complete lack of ear folding. Originally occurring in the same litters as Scottish Fold kittens, the Straight is identical to the Scottish Fold in every way except for its upright, non-folded ears. 

Today, The International Cat Association (TICA) recognizes the Scottish Straight as a distinct pedigreed breed, along with organizations like the Domestic Cat Registry. Other major associations like the Cat Fanciers' Association do not currently recognize the Scottish Straight.


Tracing the Origins of the Scottish Straight 

To understand the background of the Scottish Straight, we have to go back to the first Scottish Fold cat. The breed traces its origins to a white barn cat named Susie, who was found in 1961 on a farm near Coupar Angus in Perthshire, Scotland. Susie had a natural genetic mutation that caused her ears to fold forward, giving her a sweet, owl-like appearance.  

A local shepherd named William Ross took an interest in Susie and her unique ears. When she had a litter of kittens, Ross discovered one kitten was born with folded ears like Susie, while the others had straight, upright ears. This folding trait became the foundation of the Scottish Fold breed, while the straight-eared kittens were simply considered normal domestic cats.  

As cat fanciers bred Scottish Fold cats and worked to establish the breed in the 1960s, straight-eared kittens continued to be born in Fold litters. While the folded-ear Fold kittens were celebrated and bred, the Straight kittens were viewed as inferior and simply adopted out as pets. 

The Scottish Straight Emerges as a Distinct Breed

For decades, straight-eared cats born to Fold parents were discarded from Fold breeding programs. However, by the 1990s some cat fanciers began to appreciate the appeal of the Scottish Straight’s appearance and sweet personality, which mirrored the beloved Fold in every way except for the ear type. 

Starting in the early 2000s, organized breeding efforts began to establish the Scottish Straight as a real breed in its own right. TICA officially recognized the Scottish Straight breed in 2005, and other associations followed. The Scottish Straight remains quite rare compared to other breeds, but dedicated breeders are working to promote the unique Straight as an alternative to the controversial Scottish Fold.


What Do Scottish Straight Cats Look Like? 

Scottish Straight cats have the same medium-sized, rounded body type and facial features as the Scottish Fold breed. The biggest difference is of course their ears, which stand completely upright rather than folding forward. Unlike the Fold, the Straight is at no risk for ear cartilage or joint problems.

Beyond their defining upright ears, Scottish Straights have:

  • A rounded head and cheeks
  • Large, round, widely-spaced eyes 
  • A medium-length nose and muzzle
  • A sturdy, rounded body on medium-length legs
  • A medium-length tail that tapers at the end
  • A dense, plush coat that can be short or long 

Scottish Straights come in many colors and patterns including solid, tabby, bi-color, and calico. Both long and short-haired variants exist within the breed. Overall, they have a sweet expression reminiscent of a British Shorthair or Persian cat.

What is the Temperament of the Scottish Straight Like?


By all accounts, the Scottish Straight breeds tend to be intelligent, loyal, and affectionate. They form close bonds with their human families and gravitate toward playtime, petting, and snuggling on laps. Scottish Straights get along well with other cats and cat-friendly dogs.

Since Scottish Straights come from the same lineage as Scottish Folds, they share a similar sweet, gentle personality complemented by their round faces and open expressions. They love playing games and learning tricks. Scottish Straights are often described as more active and energetic than the calm Scottish Fold.

Overall, the Scottish Straight is an ideal family companion when provided with lots of love and attention. Their playful spirit and curiosity keep life fun and interesting for their owners.


Are Scottish Straight Cats Healthy?

One of the main reasons cat lovers are drawn to the Scottish Straight is they avoid the significant health issues seen in some Scottish Folds. Specifically, Scottish Folds can suffer from debilitating cartilage and bone diseases due to the gene that causes their ears to fold. Scottish Straights do not carry this mutated Fold gene and therefore don’t suffer from these joint problems. 

However, there are some other genetic diseases Scottish Straight cat owners should be aware of:

  • Polycystic kidney disease - An inherited disorder that causes fluid-filled cysts to develop in the kidneys. This can eventually lead to kidney failure in severe cases.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - The most common form of heart disease in cats, in which the walls of the heart thicken. Can lead to heart failure, blood clots, and sudden death. 

Responsible Scottish Straight breeders will screen their breeding cats for PKD and HCM to reduce the chances of passing these diseases to kittens. Overall, the Straight is considered a fairly hearty and healthy breed.


What Kind of Care Do Scottish Straight Cats Need?

Scottish Straight cats are relatively easy to care for compared to some breeds. Here are some key care guidelines:

  • Grooming - Regular weekly brushing and combing is advised to control shedding and keep the coat tidy.
  • Exercise - Scottish Straights are moderately active and playful. Ensure they get at least 30-60 minutes of playtime per day. 
  • Feeding - Feed high-quality dry cat food and don't free-feed. Scottish Straights can be prone to obesity.
  • Health - Schedule annual vet checkups and vaccinate as normal. Monitor for potential kidney and heart issues seen in the breed.
  • Litter Box Training - Scottish Straights generally adapt well to litter boxes with minimal hassle.
  • Lifespan - Scottish Straights enjoy a typical lifespan of 12-15 years or more with proper care.

Overall, the Scottish Straight is well-suited as a family companion for those who can provide ample time for play, cuddling, and interaction with this affectionate and energetic breed.


Should You Consider Adopting a Scottish Straight Cat?

For cat lovers seeking a cute, friendly, and lively breed, the Scottish Straight makes an excellent choice. Their physical appearance mimics the beloved Scottish Fold while avoiding fold-related health problems. Scottish Straights bond deeply with their families and light up any home with their cheerful, playful energy.

Here are some key advantages and considerations if you're interested in acquiring one of these unique kitties: 

Pros of the Scottish Straight:

  • Sweet, cute folded face without ear problems
  • Affectionate, bonds strongly with families
  • Energetic and playful personality
  • Adapts well to other pets when socialized
  • Generally healthy without Scottish Fold issues

Potential Cons:

  • Can be prone to kidney and heart disease
  • Rare breed not easily available
  • Needs ample playtime and interaction
  • Has moderate exercise needs  

For the right owner, the Scottish Straight offers the best qualities of the Scottish Fold's looks and personality without the ethical issues surrounding folded ears. While still hard to find, more Scottish Straight breeders are working to promote this irresistible breed. 

In Conclusion 

With their distinct upright ears and rounded facial features, the Scottish Straight gives cat lovers an opportunity to enjoy this sweet-faced breed without the controversies of the original Scottish Fold. Though still a new and emerging breed, the playful, affectionate Scottish Straight makes a delightful family companion for those drawn to their endearing looks and loyal personality.

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