Cat Breeds: Scottish Fold
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Cat Breeds: Scottish Fold

The Scottish Fold is a breed of domestic cat that has an unusual mutation causing the cartilage of its ears to ‘fold’ or bend forward and downwards in the direction of the front of their heads. This gives the cat a look often likened to that of an owl and is sometimes nicknamed the lop-eared cat.

Breed history

The first known Scottish Fold was a white barn cat named Susie who was found in a farm in Perthshire, Scotland in 1961. Her ears had an unusual fold in the middle and when she had kittens, two of them also had the folded ears. A cat acquired from a neighboring farm by William Ross also had the folded ears and by 1966, the breed was registered by the GCCF in the UK. Geneticist Pat Turner was instrumental in this early breeding program, which saw 76 kittens produced in the first three years of which 42 had the folded ears. This allowed them to establish the mutation is a simple dominant gene.

After its initial success, the breed with withdrawn by the GCCF after a crippling limb and tail deformity began to occur along with ear problems such as mites, infections and deafness. However, the breed was exported to the US and was crossed with both British and American Shorthairs, leading to a reduction in these problems.

Description

All Fold cats are born with straight ears and the gene causes them to fold from around the age of 1 days. If the ears remain unfolded, they are called Straights. Originally, these cats had only a single fold in their ears but selective breeding has resulted in double or even triple folds that cause the ears to be flat against the head.

The Scottish Fold cats are of medium size with males reaching around 9-13 lb while females are around 6-9 lb. Their whole body structure is described as rounded with large, round eyes and a short nose. Their legs are medium to short and have a rounded, padded look to them while the head is domed and has a short neck. Their broadly spaced eyes lead to them being said to have a ‘sweet’ expression. Their coat can be either long or shorthaired and have almost any color combinations on their coat. Their average lifespan is around 15 years.

These cats are susceptible to polycystic kidney disease and cardiomyopathy, as are many domestic cat breeds. They can also be prone to Osteochondrodysplasia, OCD, which is a developmental problem affecting cartilage and bone throughout the body and is caused by the same genes that makes the ears fold.

Personality

These cats are known to be outdoors cats who like to be outside and play games, being very active. They can be aggressive if provoked, biting or scratching with little warning and are known for having sharp teeth. They are also very intelligent animals who can become depressed if they are lonely or bored. They are also known as a stubborn breed that can make them difficult to rehome.

These cats have a soft voice and a large range of vocalizations. Their habits include sitting with legs stretched out and paws on their belly, jokingly called the Buddha Position and also for sleeping on their backs.


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