Is There A Difference Between Scottish Fold Cats & American Curl Cats?

Scottish Folds and American Curls are both charming cats to look at with very distinctive features. Both breeds boast usual shapes to their ears which are as a result of a genetic mutation. However, the breeds are distinctly different in other ways and each breed originates in different countries as their names suggest with the American Curl being native to the States and the Scottish Fold coming from north of the border in Scotland.

A Little Background History on Both Breeds

The Scottish Fold first appeared on the scene back in the sixties in Perthshire, Scotland whereas the American Curl appeared around twenty years later and was produced by a standard cat bred in North America and which had a litter of kittens that  were born with "spontaneously-mutated" ears.

The Difference in the Shape of the Breeds Ears

The main physical difference between the breed is in the shape of their ears with an American Curl boasting lovely arched ears that curl backwards over their heads. This arch has to be at a 180-degrees to meet breed standards.

However, when it comes to the Scottish Fold, their ears lie forward on their heads in a flat position toward their faces. The breed can have one to three folds in their ears which gives these lovely pussy cats theri gorgeous and very unique look. Scottish Folds that boast three folds in their flattened ears are considered to be "show quality" felines.

The Difference in Temperament Between the Breeds

When it comes to temperament, the Scottish Fold is typically a lot more easy going and is thought of as a laid-back character, much more so than an American Curl which tend to be a lot more active with many dog-like characteristics and extremely attentive personalities. American Curls love being around people and enjoy being the centre of attention. However, they are not particularly good around children which means they are not the ideal choice as a family pet. American Curls are real comedians and stay very kitten-like even as they get older which is another of their endearing characteristics.

The Scottish Fold is very sociable too and is typically an extremely loyal pet to have around. They boast being clever pussy cats that love to play games usually assoicated with dogs like "fetch". In fact, it is very easy to train a Scottish Fold to perform all sorts of tricks and they adore being around children. If the breed is well socialised from an early age, they also get on well with other pets and appreciate the company of another animal when their beloved owners are out at work. Scottish Folds are softly spoken pussy cats and are extremely funny when they fall asleep which is usually in some quite extraordinary positions whether it's on their backs or leaning up against a wall with their front paws lying on their bellies!

The Difference in Appearance Between the Breeds

Both breeds come in a variety of colours and can either be short or long haired with the latter needing a lot more care when it comes to grooming. However, an American Curl has a silkier and softer coat than that of a Scottish Curl and they tend to shed less too. Both breeds can have a variety of eye colours with some of them boasting copper coloured eyes which is the most common colour seen in  the Scottish Fold.

Do The Breeds Suffer the Same Health Issues?

The shape of their ears, whether it's an American Curl or a Scottish Fold occurs due to a genetic mutation, this can lead to some health issues in both breeds. An example being that if handled too roughly, an American Curls ears can be easily damaged or if someone tries to physically bend their ears further back over their heads it can cause injuries too. This is because the breed has a rigid cartilage at the base of their ears which can be damaged, though the rest of their ear is much more flexible.

The Scottish Fold suffers genetic issues if two of them are bred together. These genetic health issues affect a cat's bones and skeleton which an often become quite deformed and enlarged as a result of breeding two Scottish Folds together. The typical signs that there may be a problem are as follows:

  • Limited mobility
  • A still and quite rigid tail
  • Splayed toes
  • Short legs

How They Are Bred

Both the Scottish Fold and the American Curl are produced by cross-breeding them with "non-pedigree" cats. As a result it is quite normal for half of a litter to have normal ears and the other half to have the mutated unusual shaped ears typical of the breeds.

Breeders never cross a Scottish Fold with another Scottish Fold and the same can be said of American Curls because their offspring as mentioned before suffer unwanted health issues and this includes using any of the litter that has straight ears.


Although both the Scottish Fold and American Curl do look a little alike, they are quite distinct breeds which boast very different characters. If you are looking for a funny and amusing cat to share your home with and do not have any children, an American Curl could fit the bill perfectly. However, if you are looking for a family pet, the better choice would he the laid-back and gorgeous looking Scottish Fold – the breed is just as amusing character-wise but boasts being much better around children.

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