First known as Flops, for their "floppy" ears, Scottish Fold became the breed's name in 1966. Scottish Folds with long hair are known by a number of names. For example, it is called the Highland Fold by the ACFA, AACE, and UFO; the Scottish Fold Longhair by the TICA, NCFA, ACA, CCA, and CFA; and the Longhair Fold by the CFF.
The very first Scottish Fold was a long-haired barn cat with white fur, called Susie. She was found in 1961 at a farm near Coupar Angus in Perthshire, Scotland. Susie's ears had an unusual fold in the middle, making her look like an owl. When Susie had kittens, two of them were born with the distinctive folded ears. One was owned by William Ross, a nearby farmer and cat-lover. Ross registered the breed with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy in Great Britain and started to breed Scottish Fold kittens with the help of Pat Turner. The breeding program ended up with 76 kittens in the first three years, 42 with folded ears. They suspected that that the ear mutation was from a dominant allele. This means that if one parent has straight ears, and one parent has folded ears, half of the kittens will be Folds.
Susie's only fertile offspring was a female Fold named Snooks, also white like her mother. A second kitten was neutered shortly after birth. Three months after Snooks' birth, Susie was killed by a car. All Scottish Fold cats are related to Susie and Snooks. This kind of ancestry is very rare, even among pedigreed animals.
The breed was not accepted for showing in Great Britain and Europe because people thought that they would be overly prone to ear problems such as infection, mites, and deafness, but the Folds were sold in America. The breed kept on growing using crosses with British Shorthairs and American Shorthairs. Despite the initial concerns, the Fold breed has not had the expected mite and infection problems. However, wax can build up faster than in the ears of other cats.
Folds are very popular pets because of their unique look, and their reputation as particularly loving companions. Fold kittens are usually much more expensive to buy than kittens of more common breeds.
All Folds are born with straight, unfolded ears. Cats that have the Fold gene will start to show the fold before 21 days. The first cats only had one fold in their ears. With careful breeding, breeders have changed the fold to a double or triple fold. This causes the ear to lie totally flat against the head.
|“||The breed's distinctive folded ears are produced by an incompletely dominant gene that affects the cartilage of the ears, causing the ears to fold forward and downward, giving a cap-like appearance to the head. Smaller, tightly folded ears set in a cap-like fashion are preferred to a loose fold and larger ear. The large, round eyes and rounded head, cheeks, and whisker pads add to the overall rounded appearance. Despite the folded ears, folds still use their aural appendages to express themselves – the ears swivel to listen, lay back in anger and prick up when the treat bag rustles.||”|
Folds are a medium-sized breed of cat (9–13 lbs. for males and 6–9 lbs. for females). They have round bodies, round heads, and round faces. They have big round eyes. Their noses are short with a gentle curve. They have medium to short sized legs. Their heads are curved at the top. They have very short necks. The eyes have a big gap which gives the Scottish Fold a "sweet expression".
Scottish Folds can be either long- or short-haired. They may have nearly any coat colour or mix of colours (including white) except pointed colours. According to cat-fancy website Terrific-Cats.com:
|“||The Scottish Fold Cats are found in a variety of coats and patterns. The Solid cats are white, black, blue, red, cream, blue-silver, or blue-cream. The silver cats are chinchilla or shaded. The golden cats are chinchilla or shaded. The cameo cats are shell or shaded. The smoke cats are black, blue, or cameo. The tabby pattern cats are classic, mackerel, spotted, ticked, or patched. The tabby cats are silver, blue-silver, blue-silver patched, red, brown, blue, cream, or cameo. The cats can also be tortoiseshell, calico, dilute calico, or bi-color.||”|
Scottish Folds, whether with folded ears or with normal ears, are normally good-natured and calm. They can adjust to other animals within a household very well. They tend to become very attached to their human caregivers. They are by nature quite loving. Folds receive high marks for playfulness, affection, and grooming. They are often clever, loyal, quiet, and do well in changing home situations.
Scottish Folds usually live for around 15 years.
Medical complications [change]
Because the ears fold nearly a month after birth, Fold kittens cannot be judged immediately as to their type or value, as the animal website PetFinder.com says:
|“||All Folds are born with straight ears. At around three weeks the ears begin to fold, if they are going to. Since it's not readily apparent how many Folds one has, breeders must play a waiting game until the ears develop their final folds. Even then it's difficult to tell if the folds will be the tight folds preferred in the show ring or the looser, pet-quality folds.||”|
One special medical problem comes in the Scottish Fold if both parents have folded ears. In such a case, their kittens will be very likely (1:4 ratio, or usually at least one per litter) to have a painful joint disease that can fuse the tail, ankles and/or knees. Scientists think the disease is caused by the dominant (folded-ear) gene. It is more likely to affect Folds with the gene twice, than mixed single with one recessive (unfolded-ear) gene. This disease can also affect Scottish Folds with one copy of the gene, but usually not as often or as badly. For this reason the breed is not accepted by either the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy or the Fédération Internationale Féline. This is the reasoning behind the widely-held belief that the only ethical manner of breeding Folds is Fold/nonfold and not Fold/Fold (in the same way Munchkins are bred).
The Scottish Fold is one of the main focuses in the short novel The Cat Who Went to Paris by Peter Gethers. The book and its two sequels, A Cat Abroad and The Cat Who'll Live Forever: The Final Adventures of Norton, the Perfect Cat, and His Imperfect Human, talk about the life of Gethers and his Fold, Norton. It starts with their first meeting and ends with Norton's death and Gether's life after the loss.
Cat guides about the Scottish Fold breed can be found. For example Scottish Fold Cats: A Complete Pet Owner's Manual (ISBN 0812049993), Guide to Owning a Scottish Fold Cat (ISBN 079382172X), and Scottish Fold Cats (Cats Set III) (ISBN 1577658671).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Scottish Fold|
- Petfinder "Scottish Fold"
- Pet Place: Choosing a Scottish Fold
- ScottishFold.com "Folded Ears"
- Cat Fanciers Scottish Fold FAQ
- CFA breed article on Scottish Folds
- Pegken's Cats "Scottish Fold"
- ScottishFold.com "History"
- Fanciers.com "Scottish Fold FAQ"
- Terrific Cats "Scottish Fold"
- ScottishFold.org "Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)"
- Osteochondrodysplasia in Scottish Fold cats – Australian Veterinarian Journal
- ScottishFold.org "Osteochondritis"
- ScottishFold.org "Cardiomyopathy"
- "The GCCF says Health Comes First" – The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy
- "Breeding and Registration Rules (date of issue: 01.01.2008)" — as described in §2.7.3 "Genetic Diseases" – Fédération Internationale Feline
- The Cat Who Went to Paris – ISBN 9780449907634 – by Peter Gethers
- A Cat Abroad – ISBN 9780449909522 – by Peter Gethers
- The Cat Who'll Live Forever – ISBN 9780767909037 – by Peter Gethers