Scottish Fold information and facts you should know
The Scottish Fold cat is a popular breed mostly known for a fold on its ear cartilage that is actually caused by a genetic mutation. It is often described as having an owl-like appearance because the fold on its ear cartilage causes its ears to grow forward and downward toward the front of its head.
This breed has been a controversial topic among cat lovers and registry organizations due to this mutation. Studies suggest that it can cause serious health problems in some cats (more on that below). Despite this genetic abnormality, breeders have managed to produce healthy Scottish folds with a lifespan of up to 18 years.
More Information on Scottish Folds
The Scottish Fold is a medium-sized cat; the males normally grow from between 4 to 6 kilograms, while the female of the species grows from between 2.7 to 4 kilograms. It is also typical of the Scottish Fold to have a round appearance, mostly caused by its uniquely circular head, large round eyes, and very short neck. Furthermore, the nose of the breed has a gentle curve, and its legs are shorter than those of other breeds.
In terms of the quality of its fur, the Scottish Fold can come in almost any colour combination, the length of its hair being diverse as well.
Scottish Fold History
The first Scottish Fold was a white barn cat who lived in the early 1960s and whose owners called “Susie”. She lived in Scotland — Perthshire specifically — and had the unusual folded ear cartilage that the breed is known for having today. Eventually, Susie delivered kittens, two of them having folded ears. It was then that a cat enthusiast, William Ross, who also farmed nearby, requested to be given one of Susie’s kittens. The request being granted, Ross then sought the help of gene expert Pat Turner to breed Susie’s offspring. This endeavour resulted in 76 kittens — just in the first 3 years — and more than half of them had folded ears while the rest were born with straight ears. The conclusion was thus made that the unique ears of the Scottish Fold was a result of some sort of genetic mutation. It can therefore be said that all Scottish Folds who have ever lived are Susy’s descendants.
The Scottish Fold is now recognized by most organizations as an official breed and participates in various championships around the world, exception to this are The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy and the Federation Internationale Feline.
Temperament and Personality
The Scottish Fold’s affectionateness with humans and its adaptability to varied environments has made them very popular among cat owners. They have a soft, tiny purr and are comfortable in the company of both many people and single people. They are even good company for other pets, including dogs. Their purrs and mews display great variety even though they don’t have a strong urge to vocalize (most of them). They are very playful and suitable for families with children.
They are very easy to train and learn new tricks easily because they are highly intelligent. It also has some funny poses when sitting, the most famous of them is The Buddha Position. You may also notice them sleeping at their backs, something quite rare in the animal kingdom.
Scottish fold grooming needs
As for grooming, the rule of thumb is brushing once per week if your little friend is a short-haired one and daily brushing is recommended for long-haired folds. Many owners are bored to brush their cats and pay institutes and pet saloons for baths, brushing etc. This is a bad idea for two reasons:
- Big salons don’t care about your pet as much as you do, no matter what they say. See here.
- Brushing and grooming has always been in the animal kingdom a move of affection, therefore it is a great opportunity for you to bond with your Scottish fold independent of his/her age.
I almost forgot to mention the best part, if done right, most of them love being groomed!! Check out this guide for more info if you have never done it before.
You should also brush her/his teeth at least once a week, some nail trimming might be needed once a week or every two weeks, depending on how much your cat trims them by her self. Cats have a natural edge to trim their nails in various surfaces, including your furniture! That’s why a scratching post is a must if you decide to own a cat, Scottish folds are no exception to this rule.
Scottish Fold health
The first folds were a breed with many health problems, some of them persisting to this day. Fortunately, with very careful breeding most of the problems have been diminished. All these problems are due to genetic abnormalities of the mutation that cause the ears to fold. It is believed that all the folds develop osteochondrodysplasia (OCD) to some degree. Homozygous Scottish Fold cats that have two copies of the the mutant gene suffer from severe OCD and for this reason breeding two folded cats is considered unethical. Heterozygous cats that have only one copy of the gene also develop OCD at some point in their life but in milder forms. Scottish Folds with normal ears also know as “straights” that are produced from breeding of folded/non-folded cats don’t carry the mutant gene, never develop OCD, but they do have the great temperament and personality that all Scottish Folds share. To sum up, there are three types of Scottish Folds.
- Straights. They share all the characteristics of their brothers except the folded ears. They are the healthiest ones.
- Heterozygous. They carry only one copy of the mutant gene, they do have folded ears and usually suffer in later life from mild OCD.
- Homozygous. These carry two copies of the mutant gene and do suffer from severe OCD early in life. Homozygous are produced when both parents carry at least one copy the gene. If this is the case there is a 25% chance for each kitten to be homozygous, therefore breeding two folded cats is considered unethical and breeders avoid it.
You should have a regular check on your vet to be sure that your fold remains healthy. It’s diet is vital if you want your cat to remain healthy as she/he ages. Forget about “Garfield” style cats. If your Scottish Fold is overweight it has much higher chance of suffering from OCD. Given proper nutrition your fold should stay fit and strong for many years.
Even with this genetic abnormality Scottish Folds now-days are much healthier than their ancestors, an outcome achieved through careful breeding. As we speak Scottish Folds have a life expectancy of 18 years.
With all that being said about osteochondrodysplasia, it is obvious that physical exercise is very important. Here the rule of thumb is to treat your cat as it already has OCD so in case it really develops OCD later in life, to be as mild as it can be. It is recommended that you make an exercise plan together with your vet. If exercise is combined with proper nutrition your fold, straight or not should remain healthy till very old age.
Other Scottish Fold Information
Scottish Fold kittens are actually born with straight ears. It is only when the kittens are three or four weeks old that their ears may start to fold. However, not all Scottish Folds have folded ears. Nonetheless, even Scottish Folds with straight ears have the wonderful temperament and personality that make the breed very popular to own. As a result, Scottish Fold cats for sale are quite hard to come by, and the supply can never seem to catch up with the demand from cat lovers around the world.
The first folds had only one fold in their ears, the breeders have pushed it further and with the help of selective breeding they’ve made it to increase the fold to a double or even triple crease. Cats with a triple crease have their ears lie totally flat and give to these adorable animals probably the roundest face, a pet has ever seen on this planet.
As a nice closing, enjoy this video showing Scottish folds playing around. 😉
Scottish Fold Information and Facts Video
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