Scottish Folds are good “people” cats with a temperament that is generally sweet, bright and quiet with an easy-going nature with other humans and pets alike. They have a teddy bear or owl-like appearance with their small folded ears and rounded faces and body.
Scottish Fold History
All purebred Scottish Folds can trace their lineage back to a white barn cat named Susie, the first folded-ear cat discovered in Scotland in 1961 by William and Mary Ross.
After receiving one of Susie’s folded-ear kittens and with the help of English genetists, the Rosses started a breeding program using British Shorthairs and farm cats. These cats were first called “lops” after the lop-eared rabbits, but in 1966 they were renamed “Scottish Folds” in honour of their origin.
The Scottish Fold Personality
The Scottish Fold is a blend of other breeds: the British and American shorthairs. Both of these breeds are placid and calm, and usually agreeable to extended handling. Thus, the Fold has evolved as a sweet-tempered cat; devoted but not demanding; bouncy on occasion, but never too boisterous, more likely to charm than to challenge; displaying a British sense of decorum along with an American sense of self-confidence.
Breeding the Scottish Fold requires lots of patience and a special knowledge of proper breeding practices. First established by breeding to British Shorthairs and domestic cats, the Scottish Fold is now only allowed to be outcrossed with British and American Shorthairs (and Scottish Straights). This is necessary to enlarge the gene pool to produce health, vigour and soundness for the continuation of the breed.
The characteristic ear-folding of the breed is caused by a spontaneous mutation, a fusion of the middle section of cartilage cells (mesoderm) in the embryo. It is a incomplete dominant gene that must be present in one parent to pass on to offspring.
Breeding a folded-ear cat to a straight-ear (SE) cat ONLY is recommended. Breeding folded-ear cats together may cause complications such as cartilage mutation in the tail making it rigid and foreshortened, and stiffness or deformities in the hind legs and feet.
Scottish Fold kittens are not born with folded ears. The ears of the kittens that carry the gene start folding usually about the 21st day. The folding process begins by the crimping of the outer edge of the ear near the base, which gradually tightens with the ears tipping downward onto the head, giving the appearance that they are sliding off the top sides of the head. There are different types of ear folding: single fold; loose-in-back, tight-in-front; and tight, double, capped-to-the-head fold, which is the most desirable in the showring.
Choosing the right Scottish Fold for you:
All Scottish Folds, whether folded ear or straight ear, make wonderful companions. If you decide that this breed is for you, be patient for it may take a while to find that right one due to the rarity of the breed and limited number of folded ear kittens in each litter.
Care and grooming will require weekly brushing; cleaning of ears, eyes and teeth; clipping of claws; an occasional bath with a good shampoo when needed; a well-balanced diet high in vitamins, minerals and protein; fresh water daily; adequate space for exercise in a clean, indoor environment; and most important, lots of love.
Producing sound, healthy kittens is the breeder’s responsibility. But as the cat is a being of nature, certain factors may arise that are out of the breeder’s control such as ears lifting or unfolding in warmer temperatures, during pregnancy or a heat cycle, or stiffness in the tail developing later on.
There is still a lot to learn about this breed, and to assure a future for the Scottish Fold, it is important that the breeder keep informed of any problems arising from kittens sold, eliminate problem cats from the breeding program, maintain sound breeding/cattery standards, and breed only straight to fold ear cats.
How Scottish Folds Communicate
The Scottish Fold is, for the most part, not a talkative cat. Except when the females are in heat, Folds save their voices for certain occasions; like when they have been locked in a closet by accident, if you pull their fur too hard while grooming, or letting you know it’s time to eat. Folds are known, for no other reason than the sheer joy of life, to jump into your lap with a cheerful greeting. Folds seldom talk just to admire the sound of their own voices; they usually have a definite reason for saying something, and it is up to the discerning owner to decipher each individual cat’s message.
There are books on the market on how cats communicate, and what the different sounds might mean. However, you know your cat, and probably know exactly what they are saying, and thinking too. The most strange, yet endearing, verbal communication is the silent meow, not exclusive to the Fold, but still very common among them. They will open their mouth and mime the word meow, yet no sound emerges. Usually these “sounds” are a message of greeting, endearment, perhaps a complaint, or even simply “baying at the moon.”
The British Shorthair is one of the most popular domestic cat breeds. British shorthairs have dense, plush coats that are often described as crisp or cracking, referring to the way the coat breaks over the contours of the cat’s body. Their eyes are large, round and wildly set and come in a variety of colours, through the copper or gold eyes of the British blue are the best known.
The British Shorthair is a muscular cat, with a cobby body and thick legs. They have a round, broad head. with large, wide eyes and a cheeky cheshire cat grin. Their relatively small ears with rounded tips are set far apart. They have pert snub noses and slightly rounded chins.
The males of this breed are larger then the females, and the size difference between
them is easily noticed to other breeds. The male’s average weight is 5-9 kilograms
whereas a female weighs around 3-5 kilograms. British Shorthairs are wonderful cats for people who work, as they are very happy to simply laze around the house while their owner is out. They do not get destructive or need other animal for company. They are not a very vocal breed but will meow to communicate with their owners. The breed has become a favourite of animal trainers because of its nature and intelligence, and in recent years these cats have appeared in Hollywood films and television commercials.
Both Scottish Folds/Shorthair and British Shorthairs come in a longhaired version, from the use of Persian cats in forming the breed.