Take one look at the beautiful and adorable Scottish Fold breed of cat and it will soon be no secret why this feline bears the name “Scottish Fold.” With his folded ears and majestic looking face, this is a cat who has stolen the hearts of many with his loving personality. He loves nothing more than to lounge around with his favorite people while soaking up their love and affection. He’s eager to spend time with his loved ones and will happily stick around for any activity they may be doing just to spend more time with them. Their unique folded ears give them an appearance that may remind some of an owl. A genetic mutation that affects this cat’s cartilage throughout his body is responsible for the ears being folded over. This unique features adds to the adorable appearance of this very affectionate kitty.
History of the Scottish Fold
The Scottish Fold’s history can be traced back to one specific and very special cat named Susie, who lived in the Tayside region of Scotland and was first noticed by a local shepherd in 1961. The beautiful white cat with ears that happened to be folded over made her stand out and William Ross, the local shepherd, wanted to know more when spotting Susie, who was an excellent mouser in the barn. William Ross had a special love of cats and when Susie had a litter of kittens, he gave one of them a home. He named the cat, a female, “Snooks.” She later went on to have kittens with a local British shorthair cat and the litter of kittens were being called “lop-eared” cats. The name later changed to “Scottish fold,” which was also a salute to the country of origin that these marvelous cats first came from.
As other cat breeders became more involved with Scottish Folds, they determined that the gene for folded ears was a dominant gene. This means that if just one parent carries this gene, the resulting litter of kittens will also have folded ears. Susie, the first Scottish Fold, also carried the gene for long hair. The breed of cats with folded ears and long hair is often referred to as the Highland Fold. The long-haired version is also sometimes referred to as a Scottish Fold longhair, Longhair fold, and Coupari.
In 1971, Scottish Folds were imported to the United States of America. Most cat associations began recognizing the breed by the mid-1970s. However, in Scotland, their county of origin, they are still to this day not recognized as a breed, as Scotland believes that the folded ears in this breed of cat can cause ear infections and other problems due to the cartilage being different in this breed.
Size of the Scottish Fold
The Scottish Fold is considered a medium-sized cat. Males typically weigh anywhere from nine to thirteen pounds, while females weigh approximately six to nine pounds. The body structure, especially the head and fact, is very round. This adds to their cute and unique appearance. The body is also rounded with a “padded” look. Medium to short legs are seen on this cat. The Scottish Fold’s wide-spaced eyes give her a sweet and gentle expression on her face.
Personality of the Scottish Fold
The Scottish Fold is an extremely good natured cat who is accepting of other animals in a household, adapting to them very well given a little time to adjust. Like any animal, the Scottish Fold should be properly introduced to other animals in a household, which includes introducing the cat with each one behind closed doors at first so each animal can “meet” each other through the door and adjust to the scent of the other animal in the beginning before having a face-to-face meeting. The Scottish Fold may be more accepting of other animals in a household than many other cats would. This very sweet and friendly cat is adaptable, making her a very easy cat to live with for humans and animals alike.
The Scottish Fold tends to become deeply attached to her human that cares for her and she is extremely affectionate. Prolonged time away from her caregiver should be avoided, as she may become sad and depressed. This breed of cat is also noted for their high intelligence and sense of playfulness. She loves to engage in play with other animals and her human friends. This cat also likes to groom herself, keeping her coat pristine and primped. Being the social cats they are, they very much dislike being alone for long periods of time. This can lead to loneliness, which in turns makes them feel a strong sense of depression. The Scottish Fold needs to be around the people and other animals they are attached to in order to feel happy and fulfilled.
Being the intelligent cat they are, the Scottish Fold can, at times, be stubborn and set in their ways. They have many quirks they carry with them, and many of these quirks are harmless and actually quite humorous. The Scottish Fold loves to play outside and enjoys outdoor games, but will also happily partake in indoor games as well.
Scottish Fold Kittens
All it takes is just one parent to have the folded ear gene and the kittens resulting from that litter will also take after the parent with the folded ears. Scottish Folds can have litters of six to eight kittens, but this can vary. Before adopting and bringing home a Scottish Fold kitten, it’s important to remember that they should remain with their mom and litter mates until at least nine weeks old.
Remaining with their mother and litter mates is important for a number of reasons. First, their mother will teach them valuable skills such as how to use the litter box. They will grow strong and healthy from nursing on their mother’s milk. Remaining with their litter mates will also teach them valuable social and play skills that will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
It’s important to note that the ear fold in a Scottish Fold kitten may not be completely visible until around twelve weeks of age. Like all kittens, Scottish Fold kittens are playful. However, the Scottish Fold breed of cat tends to be very calm and placid, so these kittens may exhibit a very calm manner even at their young age.
Health of Scottish Folds
Scottish Folds are the result of a genetic mutation which causes the folded ears. Typically, they can live to be around fifteen years old. Scottish Folds are susceptible to a few health conditions. While common in many breeds of cats, Scottish Folds are susceptible to polycystic kidney disease, a disease affecting the kidneys which is incurable. It can be managed through diet and subcutaneous fluids to help prolong the life of the cat and manage comfort during the progression of the disease. Another common disease Scottish Folds are susceptible to is cardiomyopathy, a disease affecting the muscles of the heart. In some cases it can result in heart failure.
Osteochondrodysplasia is another health issue affection Scottish Folds in which the cartilage throughout their body is irregular. The bone development is also considered irregular in cats who are affected by this condition. This condition is actually what causes the ears to be folded over. In many studies that have been conducted, it has been found that all Scottish Fold breed of cats are affected by this condition. Homozygous folds are negatively affected by faulty bone structures and as a result of this, are prone to the development of painful degenerative joint disease at a fairly young age. The condition can also, at times, affect heterozygous folds. However, when it affects them, it is usually at an older age and in a more mild manner.
An ethical breeder of Scottish folds will only breed one parents with the fold gene instead of two cats that carry the fold gene. They do this to avoid the result of homozygous folds, which are prone to a variety of painful health conditions. Some experts argue that the breeding of folds should be stopped altogether to avoid producing litters of kittens with these health issues. In the same way that munchkin cats are bred (fold/fold), it is considered unethical by many cat experts because these cats can develop severe, painful, progressive arthritis. Because of this reason, the breed is not recognized by such associations as Governing Council of the Cat Fancy or the Fédération Internationale Féline.
Care of Scottish Fold Cats
The coat of a Scottish Fold should be groomed at least once per week to distribute oils and remove dead hair and dry skin. Long-haired Scottish folds should be brushed at least twice a week to ensure that the coat remains free of tangles and mats. Nails should be trimmed at least once every two weeks. This will ensure comfort of your cat and prevent the nails from snagging and getting caught on carpets, blankets, and furniture.
Just like humans, felines also benefit from having their teeth brushed. The best way to help a cat adjust to tooth brushing is to start at a young age. Gently use a tooth brush for a cat to brush the teeth. Never use toothpaste made for humans, as it is toxic to cats. It should be avoided at all costs. Instead, ask for a toothpaste for cats from your veterinarian’s office or use no toothpaste on the toothbrush. Use a gentle brushing technique. Once a week will be sufficient.
A soft and damp cloth can be used to wipe corners of the eyes of discharge. This should be done daily or every couple of days, as dry discharge can be uncomfortable for your cat. Use a separate area of the cloth to remove discharge, as this will prevent spreading any infection from one eye to another.
The ears need to be check at least once a week, especially because they are folded. Folded ears can run a special health risk. Check for any signs of redness or irritation. If you see this, schedule a visit to the veterinarian immediately, as this could be a sign of an ear infection. This could mean that your cat is experiencing pain and irritation in her ears and it may need to be treated. Don’t wait, as doing so can lead to the infection getting worse. Never use cotton swabs to clean the inner ear of your cat, as this can damage the inner ear. Instead, a damped cotton ball can be used to gently clean the ears.
It is imperative to keep the litter box extremely clean. Scottish folds are particular about the hygiene of their litter box and strongly dislike using a dirty litter box. This can encourage them to go to the bathroom elsewhere if their litter box is not kept tidy and clean. Keeping their litter box clean and immaculate will prevent any litter box issues from occurring and will make both of your lives easier and happier.
Feed your Scottish Fold a high quality cat food that included a high quality protein. Avoiding by-products and grains is also a good idea, to keep their diet healthful and free of any unnecessary ingredients that don’t benefit the feline diet. Some Scottish Folds may have special dietary needs if they experience special health problems. Cats with arthritis may need supplements to help them manage their arthritis.
Scottish Folds, especially those with health conditions such as arthritis, are best kept as indoor only cats to prevent attacks by other animals or the spread of disease from other animals. Cats can carry an array of diseases that are widely and easily spread to other cats. Keeping your Scottish Fold as an indoor only cat also keeps them safe from other dangers such as cars in the neighborhood. Because this is a very beautiful cat, they also run the risk of being stolen by other people. Keeping your cat indoors will prevent this from happening. You can help your cat enjoy the outdoors while being an indoor only cat by allowing them to enjoy an enclosed porch or patio, for example.
Coat Color of the Scottish Fold and Grooming
When a Scottish Fold kitten is first born, he has straight ears. By twelve weeks old, the folded ears can be seen. The ear fold can vary from just a single fold bent forward to a double fold that exhibits a tighter fold. Short-haired folds posses a dense and plush coat that is silky and beautiful. A long-haired fold has a medium to long-haired coat as well as britches, which is longer hair at the upper thigh area. Long-haired Scottish folds also have toe tufts and a plumed tail as well as tufts at the ears. Coloration and patterns of the Scottish Fold includes an array of coat colors including solid colors and tabby. Tabby and white, bicolor, and particolor is also seen in this breed. The eye color usually depends on the coat color of the cat. For example, white colored Scottish folds have been seen with blue eyes as well as odd colored eyes, which means they possess different colored eyes in each eye.
Grooming of the Scottish fold requires at least weekly brushing for the short-haired variety. Their dense and plush coat needs a good brushing at least once a week to keep the undercoat free of any mats and tangles. This will also help to distribute oils throughout the coat, which helps keep the coat shiny and silky looking. Brushing weekly helps to remove dead hair and keep the coat healthy. Long-haired Scottish folds should be brushed at least twice a week, as mat and tangle prevention is important with the longer-haired varieties. Mats in fur are painful for the cat and should be avoided, as this can lead to poor circulation for the cat. Daily brushing may be necessary for Scottish folds with long hair.
Children and Other Pets
Again, the Scottish Fold is quite the agreeable cat and generally adapts well to other animals and people in the household. This sweet and friendly cat is much-loved by both people and other animals in the house. That said, the Scottish Fold should be given time and patience to adapt to any new surroundings or people and animals in her environment. It’s important to be reasonable and not expose the sweet and gentle Scottish Fold to any dogs that are not cat-friendly. Only expose the Scottish Fold, who is laid back in nature and very sweet, to cat-friendly dogs.
The Scottish fold is good with children. Her gentle and patient manner makes her a good choice for families, but young children should be supervised around all animals. It’s important that children are taught to be gentle with animals, including the Scottish Fold, as she won’t appreciate having her fur tugged at or her tailed pulled.
The Scottish Fold greatly enjoys attention she gets from children with good manners who treat her gently and respectfully. She loves to be with her family and spend time with them. Her playful nature will delight people of all ages. This intelligent and sweet cat is also very capable of learning a few words and tricks. She will love chasing toy mice, teaser toys such as a “fishing pole,” and simply being with her family. She will enjoy being gently groomed with a soft brush and is happy to sit quietly while curled up next to her favorite humans and animals alike for quiet evenings or days spent at home. She greatly dislikes being left alone for long periods of time, as this is a social cat who will become lonely and depressed when left alone.