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Calico Scottish Fold: Pictures, Facts, Origin & History

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Calico Scottish Fold

Height 7–10 inches
Weight 6–10 pounds
Lifespan 12–15 years
Colors White, black, orange, ginger, cream, blue, and gold
Suitable for Families, apartments, homes
Temperament Affectionate, loyal, needy

Calico coat patterns are intriguing and beautiful. The calico pattern in cats is defined as a tri-color coat that’s usually white with patches of black and orange, but there can also be dilute calico and tabby versions. Calico is found in the sweet-faced Scottish Fold, making this already adorable cat even more enchanting. Read on to discover what makes the calico Scottish Fold special and where this unique coat coloring comes from.

Calico Scottish Fold Characteristics


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The Earliest Records of Calico Scottish Folds in History

The calico coat coloring is older than the Scottish Fold cat breed and is found in many cat breeds. First, we’ll look at the coat coloring itself, then delve into the Scottish Fold’s interesting history and how the two merged:

Calico Scottish Fold
Image Credit: Artaporn Puthikampol, Shutterstock

The Calico Coloring

Calico was potentially first seen in cats in Egypt, as a historian wrote that he followed traces and descriptions of calico cats from the port. These cases were traced due to the mutant orange gene that affects calicos, meaning that they may not have always looked like the calicos we know and love today. These were then found along the Mediterranean, perhaps as the unique look of these pretty cats became more known.

The Scottish Fold

Scottish Fold cats were all bred from a single litter in Perthshire, Scotland. The original Scottish Fold Suzie (a little white cat with an unusual fold in her ear) produced a litter with two cats with folded ears. One of these was given to a local farmer who registered the Scottish Fold breed in 1966 with the GCCF (the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy) and, with the help of a geneticist, began the breeding program.

How the Calico Scottish Fold Gained Popularity

The Scottish Fold can come in several coat colors and patterns, including calico. Calico Scottish Folds gained popularity partially due to their celebrity status, with famous owners of Scottish Folds, including Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and Kristen Dunst, proudly showing their Scottish Folds off on social media.

Calico Scottish Folds have won best of breed in cat fancying competitions. In 2020, the CFA (Cat Fancy Association) crowned a female longhaired calico Scottish Fold as their best of breed.

Calico Scottish Fold kitten
Image Credit: Witsawat.S, Shutterstock

Formal Recognition of the Calico Scottish Fold

Scottish Folds were first recognized by the CFA in 1978, swiftly followed by TICA (The International Cat Association) in 1979. From there, more cat-fancying groups accepted the Scottish Fold as a recognized breed. But in the early 1970s, the GCCF removed the Scottish Fold from its recognized breed list, citing its serious health problems (osteochondrodysplasia) as the reason.

Top 5 Unique Facts About the Calico Scottish Fold

1. Every Calico Scottish Fold Cat Is Almost Certainly Female.

This is because of the genes that cause the unique calico coloring and how they are expressed in both female and male cats. Female cats have two X-chromosomes (xx), while male cats have only one (xy). The beautiful calico coloring comes from an abnormal expression of one of the X chromosomes, named “X-inactivation.” This means that one of the X chromosomes shuts off, causing the calico color and pattern. Because males only have one X chromosome, it’s much rarer for this to occur, and if it does, it will also cause other genetic abnormalities. Unfortunately, this also means that all male calico cats are infertile.

2. Not All Calico Scottish Fold Cats Will Have Folded Ears!

Each kitten is born with straight ears. Over their first few weeks of life, around 50% of the litter will develop folds in their ears. This is due to the way the mutation expresses in each kitten.

3. There Can Be More Than One Fold in a Calico Scottish Fold’s Ears.

Some calico Scottish Folds have just one small fold. Others have more tightly folded ears, giving them the most common Scottish Fold look. Some can have very tightly folded ears that are flat against the head, giving them a cap-like appearance.

4. Calico Scottish Folds Can Be Short or Longhaired.

Both types are accepted in cat fancying organizations as part of the breed standard. Long-haired calico Scottish Folds are rare and beautiful but will take a little more grooming than their densely furred, short-haired siblings.

5. Calico Scottish Folds Can Be “Classically” Colored, Dilute, or Even Tabby.

The most common calico colors are white, black, ginger, or orange. But these colors can be muted and come out as beautiful shades of cream, blue, and gold. Known as “dilute,” this lighter coloring is caused by a mutation that causes less of the color to express. The tabby portion of calico coloring can be found in the ginger or the black spots, with black often being more brown and black striped.

Calico Scottish Fold Kitten Sitting
Image Credit: Witsawat.S, Shutterstock

Does a Calico Scottish Fold Make a Good Pet?

Scottish Folds have calm temperaments and make good family pets due to their easygoing nature and love of playing. They are active and can be good company for other pets, including dogs. They are good with children if the child can respect them and their need for space.

Because all calico Scottish Fold cats suffer from varying degrees of joint disease, vets’ bills can be much more expensive than other cat breeds. Consider this before adopting a calico Scottish Fold, as lifelong medications and treatments may be necessary if their joint disease worsens.

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The calico Scottish Fold is an enchanting cat that’s both pretty and rare. They are friendly pets that keep their kittenish looks into adulthood. However, despite their wonderful personalities and angelic looks, calico Scottish Fold cats can be very unhealthy and suffer from pain due to a joint disease called osteochondrodysplasia. This is the same disease that gives them their distinctive ear folds.

If your calico Scottish Fold cat is male, it will likely have more health issues and be sterile. We hope this calico Scottish Fold profile has helped you understand these pretty cats and how special they are.

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Featured Image Credit: Witsawat.S, Shutterstock

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