The first Scottish Fold cat was a delightful find by a Scottish shepherd, William Ross, in 1961. It was spotted on a neighbor's farm in the Tayside region of Scotland. Named Suzie, this cat wore a beautiful white coat and carried a most intriguing pair of folded ears. Its parentage was unknown and this unique trait of the ears was considered to be of a natural genetic mutation.
Ross subsequently acquired one of Suzie's kittens, also a white female, and named it Snooks. Snooks then started to have its own offspring from which Ross took one male kitten and bred it with a British Shorthair. This began the development of the lop-eared cats, which was what the Scottish Fold was first called.
Many breeders soon caught on with this fascinating breed. It was later determined that the gene responsible for the folded ears is a dominant one and is the result of a cartilage defect. Thus, it is important that only cat in the breeding pair has folded ears to prevent skeletal deformities.
Scottish Folds were first introduced in the United States in 1971. Most of the cat associations in North America had granted its recognition by the mid 1970s. It has also made its way to be among the top 10 most popular breeds among United States cats fancy.
Even though Suzie had also passed down the beautiful longhair gene to its descendants, the longhair variety of the Scottish Folds were not recognized until the mid 1980s.
Physical appearance and attributes
The Scottish Fold is rounded in every sense of the word. Males usually weigh between 9 – 13 pounds while females are typically between 6 – 9 pounds. It has a medium body supported by medium boning. Even though roundness describes its form, it is firm to the touch with good musculature. The length of the legs is in good proportion to its body. Strength is exhibited in the legs and it treks on neat, well-rounded paws. It carries a medium tail that is of substantial flexibility.
The head is rounded in every angle. The muzzle is moderately broad with pronounced whisker pads and a firm chin. Viewed in profile, a nose break and the prominence of the brow bones are evident. The nose is short and broad, setting the large and rounded eyes wide apart. Eye colors should conform to its coat color. Blue eyes and odd eyes are however exceptional to solid white, bi-colored and van patterned coat. The head blends well into a short and thick neck.
The defining feature of a Scottish Fold is its pair of small-medium folded ears. They tips are rounded and would fold forward and downward over the head. There are three degrees of folded ears, namely, the single, the double and the coveted triple fold; each would increase the degree of the downward fold slightly. However, not all Scottish Folds have folded ears. The kittens are born with straight ears, and the folding of the ears will happen at about three weeks of age on some of the kittens. The entire composition of the facial features produces an image that resembles the owl, but the Scottish Fold is nonetheless one of the cat breeds with the sweetest expression.
Scottish Fold can come in both the longhair and Shorthair varieties. Shorthair variety has a short-medium length coat. The high density and lushness of the coat make it appear to be standing away from the body. Also, the liveliness of the coat is credited to the soft and light texture. The texture would, however vary according to coat colors, the regions as well as the changing seasons. Longhaired Scottish Fold wears a medium-long length coat with a luxurious ruff carried around its neck. The hair length would also extend into its tail, turning it into a thick and gorgeous plume.
What is beautiful about this breed is also how the coat can come in a plethora of colors and patterns. However, some associations would not accept coats that show evidence of hybridization or those in pointed patterns.
Personality and temperament
Another unmistakable attribute about the Scottish Fold is its propensity to be in a certain position. Spot it relaxing on its rump with its two forelegs resting on its abdomen with not a care in the world. Though folded, the ears are no less active. Coupled with it's sweet, chirpy voice, it uses the ears to communicate its instincts and emotions.
Intelligent and moderately active, the Scottish Fold seldom ventures onto high perches and would rather find pleasure in teaser toys and tricks. Another of its favorites is to be around its favorite people and seeking to be involved in their household activities.
Scottish Fold would seek for attention, but is not clingy; and though it is friendly and adaptable to children and other pets, its devotion and affection is usually reserved for that one person with whom it has a special bond.
Not the least shy of all cat breeds, the Scottish Fold would get along well with strangers and would welcome any willing playmates.
Care and health issues
A healthy Scottish Fold would have a general lifespan of about 15 years. Health issues that might be of concern include degenerative joint disease. This usually occurs in the tail, but can also happen in knee joints and ankle, causing pain and weak mobility. Another common health issue is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), which is a form of heart disease that results in congestive heart failure.
The coat of Scottish Fold requires combing only once a week to remove dead hair and to distribute skin oils. The longhair variety would, however require more frequent brushing to prevent matting. Nails should be trimmed whenever necessary. Check for redness and odor in the ears that might indicate infections. In order to prevent periodontal disease, the teeth should be brushed regularly with vet-approved products.
The ideal home
This breed is suited for indoor living. A safe adventure zone equipped with the necessary cat toys and gym sets will be necessary for a hearty growth. Playful, adaptable and easy-going, the Scottish Fold is an ideal companion and playmate for children and other friendly pets. It is difficult not to be charmed by this naturally sweet-tempered, affectionate yet undemanding cat and to make it a treasured pet for your home.