Scottish Fold Life Expectancy – How long?

The life expectancy of your special bond with your feline companion

What is the lifespan of a Scottish Fold?

Clear and to the point, a Scottish Fold cat is expected to live up to 15 years. But, since this is a hardy, special breed with certain health issues, their lifespan can be different from one to another.

A cat lover and owner cannot imagine their life without their adored pet. But do you know that saying “no matter how much we love them, we have to let them go”? It hurts, but it is true of any being in our lives.

Scottish Fold is no exception. Their lifespan is limited, like it or not. When living with them, we feel like it’s going to be like that forever. Realistically, we know it won’t. Yet, it is in our hands to take care of them and prolong their stay. Let’s move on to numbers.

scottish fold life expectancy

What is the lifespan of a Scottish Fold?

Clear and to the point, a Scottish Fold cat is expected to live up to 15 years.

But, since this is a hardy, special breed with certain health issues, their lifespan can differ.

What influences the life expectancy of a Scottish Fold?

The most important aspect is breeding. When properly bred, the cats shouldn’t develop any health problems.

The genetics of the Scottish Fold make it a contender for the disease. There are strict guidelines for breeding them. If not respected, the kittens might have their life shortened from the get-go.

To make sure you have a healthy cat, only one parent must have the “folded ears” gene. This means Scottish Folds are not to be bred between them. The best combinations are with the American Shorthair or the British Shorthair. The kittens will be healthy and in good form.


The mutant gene that gives the folded ears affects the cartilage of the cats. When both parents pass out the gene, the kittens will suffer from congenital osteodystrophy.

What is congenital osteodystrophy?

It is a degenerative disease that causes deformities to their bones. The cartilage in the vertebra, legs, and tail thickens gradually. Symptoms can appear early on and worsen throughout the life of the cat:

  • A short and thick tail
  • Thickened and tender bones
  • Stiffness in legs and tail
  • Slow movement or limping
  • Lethargy
  • Pain

The disease is not life-threatening, but it can lower the cat’s quality of life. There is no cure for the disease and cats with the gene from both parents may become unable to move. In such cases, veterinarians can suggest euthanasia to avoid the unnecessary suffering and pain.

Aside from the genetic factors, grooming and lifestyle of the cat can also influence the length of their lives.

How to prolong the life of a Scottish Fold?

Straight-eared Scottish Fold

Straight-eared Scottish Fold

If you don’t own a Scottish Fold yet, you can begin by choosing one with better chances at a longer life.

The straight eared Folds – because they don’t usually carry the responsible gene, they have longer lifespans. Of course, you will be missing on the main trait of this breed – the folded cute ears.

But if you need to decide between cuteness and life expectancy, know that the ones with straight ears live longer lives. They are healthier, the cost is lower and all the great personality quirks are still there. All that is missing are the ear folds.

The typical Folds – the Scottish Fold that we all recognize is the one with folded ears. These cats carry one copy of the gene that causes their look.

With the proper grooming, healthy nutrition, and active routine, they could live up to 15 years. However, it doesn’t mean that they will not develop diseases over time. Regular veterinarian checks can help identify and control to some extent the feline OCD, kidney disease or cardiomyopathy.

scottish fold

The homozygous Folds – no breeder should make this happen. Yet, there are homozygous cats out there which means they carry two copies of the gene. It is the results of mating two folded-eared cats.

At first, these kittens will look healthy and well. But as early as their first 6 months, they will begin to exhibit symptoms. The bone deformities, low mobility, and related pain lead to euthanasia. Such little fellows get to live 5 years at most.

Glucosamine supplements and joint treatments can help a suffering Fold with stiffness and pain relief. But in time the condition gets worse and shorten the life of your pet.


This is true of any cat. Constant grooming will keep the fitness of your cat at a high.

Shorthair Folds require brushing once a week. The Longhaired one needs brushing at least twice a week to remove hair tangles and dirt.

Nail trimming, teeth brushing and eye cleaning with a wet cloth are imperative as well.

Because of their folded ears, infections and mites could become a problem. Check your cat’s ears weekly and clean any dirt that you find. Be gentle with unfolding their ears not to damage the cartilage. A friendly advice is to clean the ears with lukewarm water or a vet recommended solution and a cloth. Avoid the cotton swabs as they can damage the internal ear.

scottish fold life

Things you should do on a regular basis for health and fitness:

  • Vet check-ups (X-ray, CT, MRI and general check for lameness or pain)
  • Dental care
  • Vaccinations
  • Supplements
  • Clean environment
  • Freshwater at all times
  • Good nutrition
  • Spending time & playing with your cat, affection
  • Toys & proper conditions to keep them active (prevent obesity and keep them moving)

Life expectancy of related cat breeds

There are other cat breeds that share some characteristics with the lovely Scottish Fold. When choosing a mate to breed your Fold, you create relations that will reflect in the future baby cat.

American Shorthair

American Shorthair – a good contender for making healthy Fold babies. They are medium-sized cats with a muscular build and good overall health. They fit well with families, friendly and adaptable.

Lifespan: 15-20 years

American Shorthair

American Shorthair

British Shorthair

British Shorthair – another great nominee for the breeding contest of a Scottish Fold. They are medium to large cats with the males considerably larger. Much like the Fold, they are round with a short and dense coat. Easy-going, calm and affectionate cats.

Lifespan: 12-20 years. The average age is around 11.8-12.5 years, but with good care, they can live long lives.

British Shorthair

British Shorthair

Russian Blue

Russian Blue – these medium-sized cats know how to entertain themselves. Good for busy families, they are graceful and beautiful. The blue coat and the almond-shaped green eyes is an instant fall-in-love trigger. Keep them active by playing fetch with them. Preventing obesity through good nutrition prolongs their lives by your side. But they are generally healthy with no genetic problems.

Lifespan: 15-20 years provided you tend to their needs.

Russian Blue

Russian Blue


Chartreux – they have adorable round heads and eyes and a thick double coat. Medium in size, they are the friendliest cats ever. Grooming is easy and their exercise needs are fulfilled because they love to run and play. Healthwise, they are prone to kneecap problems, hip dysplasia, kidney disease, and urinary stones. Regular vet visits are recommended.

Lifespan: around 15 years.




All in all, as long as your Scottish Fold has been bred responsibly, health should not be an issue. Paired with your conscious care-taking and regular check-ups, your cat companion has all the premises to live a long life.

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