Highland Fold

Other names: Highland straight

Highland Fold
Highland Fold

The Scottish and Highland breeds both originate from Scotland. The Highland is simply a long-haired Scottish with ears that either fold-forward or are straight. In competitions, these are two distinct categories.The Highland is medium-sized with a rather rounded body and is known to be easy-going, both with humans and other animals, as well as generally being a healthy breed.


Key facts about the Highland Fold

  • Life expectancy : Between 13 and 15 years
  • Temperament : Affectionate, Calm, Intelligent
  • Type of coat : Long
  • Price : Between £400 and £1000

Physical characteristics of the Highland Fold

Adult size

Female cat Between 12 and 14 in
Male cat Between 12 and 14 in

They reach their adult size at around 1 year old.


Female cat Between 7 and 11 lb
Male cat Between 9 and 13 lb

Coat colour

Black / seal, blue / grey-slate, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, fawn, red, white
All coat colours are allowed.

Coat patterns

Solid / plain, tabby, solid and white, tabby and white, silver/smoke and white

Type of coat

Mid-length, dense and silky

Eye colour

Blue, aquamarine, ice blue, green, golden yellow

All eye colours are accepted but they must match the coat.


Semi-cobby, this cat has a solid bone structure and a powerful musculature. The fur is dense, silky and forms a collar around the neck. The head is round, with accentuated cheeks, emphasising the impression of roundness. All colours of coat are allowed but the colour of the eyes must match that of the coat. 
Unlike the Fold variety whose ears fold forwards due to a genetic mutation, the Straight variety has very straight ears. 
The Highland is kind and as long as they are given enough time to play, they adapt well to all kinds of lifestyles.



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Very attached to their owners, this teddy bear decides when it’s time for a cuddle.


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Like many cats, they can be quite calm but they equally appreciate time to play, which helps them use up their energy.


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This is a calm and docile breed that nonetheless requires a daily play session.


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The ability to adapt to different ways of life make this an intelligent breed.

Fearful / wary of strangers

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There are of course differences between individual cats, but in general the Highland breeds adapt well to new situations.


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Being very close to their owners, they need the right balance of time alone and time together.

Behaviour of the Highland Fold


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This is not a talkative breed but they don’t need a voice to communicate, their body language is more than enough!

Need for exercise / Sporty

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Despite their calm nature, a Highland Fold requires regular exercise to make use of the energy they build up during their long hours of napping. It is thus recommended to provide a cat tree and make time to play with your cat every day. This will help them stay fit and develop their feline instincts.

Tendency to run away

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The Highland breeds have little interest in exploring and prefer being near the family.

Greedy / Gluttony

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This is not known to be a greedy breed but it is still important to provide a balanced diet.


Highland Fold and cats

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As long as each cat has their own space, this breed will get along just fine with feline companions.

Highland Fold and dogs

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Being of a sociable nature, they adapt well to other pets, including dogs.

Highland Fold and children

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An easy going breed, they’re perfect family cats.

Highland Fold and the elderly

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Their calm nature make this a great choice of cat for an elderly or more laid-back owner.


On average, the price of a Highland kitten is between £400 and £1000, the price often varies according to the lineage, the breeder, the age or even the sex. For the monthly budget, it will cost on average £25/month to provide for their needs, by providing a quality diet and ensuring their good health.


A weekly brushing will suffice except during the moulting periods when daily brushing is recommended.


This breed doesn’t lose much hair except for in Spring when they can shed some of their undercoat.

Nutrition of the Highland Fold

Given their tendency to spend their days napping, it is important to keep an eye on your cat’s diet to avoid excessive weight gain.

Health of the Highland Fold

Life expectancy

This breed has a fairly typical life expectancy for a cat, between 13 and 15 years with significant differences between individuals depending on lifestyles.

Strong / robust

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With a dense undercoat, they cope better in the cold than in the heat.

Tendency to put on weight

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Ensuring they play every day is a good way to prevent weight-gain.

Common illnesses

Generally a rather robust breed, they can still succumb to the same illnesses as other cats. If your cat has access to the outside, it is recommended that they be vaccinated against infectious diseases such as Coryza, Leucose, Rage and Typhus, according to your vet’s opinion.

  • The Straight variety does not suffer from any hereditary diseases.
  • The "Fold" variety may be affected by hereditary diseases due to the presence of the "Fold" gene:
  • Osteochondrodysplasia
  • PKD
  • HCM

Osteochondrodysplasia causes bone and joint diseases resulting in rigidity of the lower spine and tail, lameness can be significant and can, in its most severe form, lead to paralysis. The Fold gene, more precisely named Folded ear (Fd), is responsible for this affliction. It is for this reason that reproduction between two Fold cats is prohibited. Nevertheless, a cross between a Straight and a Fold can also produce a kitten carrying the disease. There is still a real risk even with a heterozygous cat. It is only through careful selection of your cat or kitten as well as regular check ups with the vet that you can guarantee that your cat won’t suffer from this disease. 
PKD, polycystic kidney disease, results in renal problems which causes different symptoms. It affects different breeds of cats, including the British and the Persian, breeds used to produce the Scottish. There is no specific treatment for this disease. It is therefore strongly recommended to have the breeding animals genetically tested to ensure that they do not carry PKD.
HCM or Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy also affects several breeds of cats, including the British and the Persian. It produces a gradual thickening of the cardiac muscle tissue that causes breathing difficulties. Again, affected cats should not be used for breeding.


The average number of kittens per litter is 3.36.

Since the Fold gene can lead to the undesirable consequences described above, it is forbidden to reproduce two Fold individuals. One of the parents must be straight-eared, however the Fold gene is a dominant gene. That being said this combination of Straight and Fold does not guarantee that individuals will not be affected by the Osteochondrodysplasia.

Improving the genepool is the main objective of breeders who hope to reduce the risk of diseases linked to the Fold gene. Something they hope to achieve through rigorous breeding controls. 

The only authorised crossing with the Highland are: Scottish / Highland Fold & Scottish / Highland Straight; Scottish / Highland & British (Shorthair / Longhair) and Scottish / Highland & American Shorthair (since 2015).

Good to know

Folds with white coats have long been thought to have a propensity for deafness, but this deficiency is related to the colour of the coat and not to the shape of the ears. It was also wrongly thought that the Fold shape of the ears made them prone to parasites.

Origins and history

The history of the breed originates from a Scottish farm and the birth, in 1961, of a cat named Susie, with ears bent forward. William and Mary Ross bought one of the female kittens from this cat’s litter, whom they call Snook. They decided to have Snook reproduced in such a way as to fix the folded ears trait, which turned out to be a dominant gene. Since this gene is at the origin of hereditary diseases, breeding is carried out in the safest possible way whilst maintaining the particularity of folded ears.


Good names for a Highland Fold: Chubbs, Joie, Owl, Ruffles

Find out name ideas for your cat here