Saturday, October 26, 2013


It's pretty easy to tell a Scottish Fold cat if you see one because their ears usually fold over.  Also, the males wear little plaid kilts.  Hahahaha!   Just kidding about the kilts!

But anyway, this breed got started back in 1961, when a man named William Ross, who lived on a farm near Coupar Angus in Perthshire, Scotland, noticed that one of his neighbors had a barn cat with folded-over ears.  This cat was white, and her name was Susie.  When she had kittens, two of them also had folded ears, so Mr. Ross, who was a cat fancier, adopted one of the kittens.  Then he started working with a geneticist named Pat Turner, and they began to breed Scottish Fold cats.
In the first three years of their breeding program, they produced 76 kittens.  Forty-two had folded ears and 34 had straight ears.  They figured out that the folded ears were caused by an incomplete dominant gene that was the result of a spontaneous mutation.  Only Scottish Folds with folded ears can be shown in competition.  The cats with straight ears can't be shown, but they can be used in breeding.

Photo:   Vladimir Chubarov

Fold kittens are all born with straight ears, and it takes about three weeks before their ears start folding over.  The original Scottish Folds just had one fold in their ears, but selective breeding has created folds with double or triple creases.  This causes the ear to lie all the way flat against the head.  And since the cats have round heads and round eyes, they look kind of like owls.  But even though they have flattened ears, Folds can still turn their ears to listen for important sounds such as scampering mice or can openers.

Kostj at en.wikipedia

The coat of a Scottish Fold can be long or short, and it can be any color or combination of colors.  Folds are affectionate, playful, intelligent, soft-spoken, and they adapt easily to new situations.  Sometimes cats will bond especially with one person in the household, but they are not clingy.  They get along well with children, dogs, and other animals in the home.

Unfortunately, the same gene that causes the crease in a Scottish Fold's ears can also do bad things to the cartilage and bone development in the rest of its body.  This condition is called
 osteochondrodysplasia, or OCD for short.  A kitten that inherits the folded-ear gene from both parents is much more likely to develop OCD.  This condition will cause the joints to become painful and the bones to be enlarged.  Some cats end up crippled because of this, but others have few symptoms.

Photo:  en:user:Jwang018

Ethical breeders avoid Fold-to-Fold matings, and mate Folds to Straights instead.  This cuts down on the amount of OCD, but it can still happen.  There is a lot of controversy among breeders, researchers, and cat registry groups.  Some researchers recommend that folded cats not be bred at all.  The Scottish Fold breed is not accepted by either the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy or the Fédération Internationale Féline because of the OCD issue.  But the Cat Fanciers' Association does recognize the breed.

Anyway, a lot of people enjoy having Scottish Fold kitties as pets, even if they are not going to show them.  They have good temperaments, and they look just goofy enough to be really cute.  There is a big demand for Fold kittens, so you might have to pay more for one, if you want it.  Personally, I think you should just rescue a kitten from a shelter, even if it doesn't have those cute little fold-up ears.  But that's just my opinion.

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