Categories: Scottish Fold

Japanese like Scottish Fold cats and keep them inside

There appear to be two outstanding aspects of cat ownership in Japan; they overwhelmingly like the Scottish Fold cat breed and 99.5% of domestic cats in that country are full-time indoor cats. The information is interesting and it comes from Anicom Insurance.

Scottish Fold Mackenzie. Photo: copyright Helmi Flick

You have to ask yourself why the Scottish Fold is so popular. I have to say that I can confirm that this is true because during thousands of hours of surfing the Internet I have often seen an association between Japanese people and Scottish Fold cats.

Cat breedPercentage
1Scottish fold18.1%
3American shorthair9.9%
4Mixed breed9.4%
5Norwegian forest cat7.3%
6British shorthair6.5%
9Maine coon3.4%
10Russian blue3.3%

Created by based on data from the Anicom Popular Cat Breed Ranking 2020.


The Japanese have a word for cuteness and it is “kawaii”. One female blogger, Yumi Nakata, says that Japan is the Mecca of cuteness. She says that she hardly sees cute stuff in America and gets excited when she goes to a local Japanese supermarket. I thought that this cuteness culture in Japan was generated by young women and girls. Perhaps they are the core of the movement but it isn’t just about young girls. Apparently many major companies in Japan employ a cute mascot to represent their business. “Hello Kitty” is a very successful global Japanese mascot character. So why are the Japanese obsessed with everything cute?

Yumi Nakata believes that kawaii brings peace and calm into the lives of Japanese people. It’s an antidote to the harsh realities of working long hours under heavy social pressures. For me it’s a kind of opium of the masses to put it unkindly. It’s a healthy drug. Much healthier than actually taking drugs.

Scottish Fold. Photo copyright Helmi Flick

Scottish Fold cat

I believe that I have discovered why the Scottish Fold cat is so popular in Japan. As mentioned above the Japanese like cuteness. The Scottish Fold looks cute because their ears are folded down. This gives the cat the appearance of a baby because it makes the face more rounded. They have this rounded face and big round eyes. Domestic cats have eyes which are much larger proportional to their head size than humans. The regular domestic cat can have a baby-like face but the Scottish Fold enhances this appearance.

Therefore owning a Scottish Fold is like permanently owning a baby and babies are very cute. In fact the Scottish Fold is better than a baby because you haven’t got to deal with all the usual baby stuff. Of course you’ve got cat staff to deal with but I would suggest that it is easier than the baby stuff. And it’s cheaper. Domestic cats are more independent than babies. They can be left alone (but not too long please because they are quite sociable).


Maru is まる in Japanese. It means “circle” or “round”. Maru is the famous Japanese Scottish Fold who is so cute when he dives into boxes. His name supports my argument about roundness and cuteness. Although Maru’s ears are not folded (this is not uncommon for this breed). He’s still round though!

Indoor cats

Indoor cat. Picture in public domain.

I was surprised to learn that almost all Japanese keep their domestic cat inside all the time. This must be quite a change from the way it used to be. The concept of keeping domestic cats indoors all the time as a culture issue. The UK is almost the opposite to Japan where about 95% of cat owners allow their cats to go outside whenever they want to. So why do the Japanese like to keep their cats inside? Obviously it is safer and therefore they may be more concerned about safety than the British. I think it is linked to cuteness and cleanliness. If you keep a cat indoors, particularly a purebred, pedigree cat which is quite a precious sentient being, you want to look after her and you can achieve this by keeping your cat inside the home. It’s about a cat’s preciousness and ensuring that one’s possessions are looked after. It’s part of tidiness and control. I sense that the Japanese like tidiness and control over their environment which is built on self-discipline, another Japanese trait. This fits in with a desire to own a Scottish Fold cat. These are my thoughts and they are not set in concrete. Far from it. Do you have any viewpoints on this?

Some more on the Scottish Fold

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Do Scottish Fold cats have ear problems?

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American Shorhair kitten rebuffs Scottish Fold’s attempts to play

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Scottish Fold de-registered in the UK half a century ago but popular in America and Japan

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Feline Cuteness Can Come At A Hidden Price

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Calls to Ban the Scottish Fold Cat Breed

The Scottish Fold has been dubbed the "owl cat". The ears are flat against the head creating an owl-like appearance ...
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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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