It’s fun to have a pet with a unique characteristic, but it’s important to do your research before adopting a pet just because it looks cool or has some interesting characteristic that other pets don’t. It’s also important that, if you’re adopting an animal from a breeder rather than from a shelter, you select a reputable breeder who carefully breeds pets for good health and longevity, not for their looks alone.
If you’re considering adopting a Scottish fold or if you already have, you may be interested to know more about the breed and what you can expect out of your new pet. Here, we’ll address a number of facts about the Scottish fold (sometimes affectionately referred to as a “lop” or an “owl in a cat suit”) to help you determine if this might be a good choice for you or to help you learn the needs and characteristics of your new pet.
The History of Scottish Folds
Interestingly, all Scottish fold cats can trace their lineage back to a single female named Susie, who lived on a farm in Scotland in the 1960s. Susie’s mother was a cat with normal ears, but her father was unknown, and she was born with folded ears that never stood up on their own. The farmer’s neighbor adopted one of Susie’s kittens, which also had folded ears, and began breeding it with local farm cats and British Shorthairs to create a new breed of cat that later came to be known as the Scottish fold.
However, the breeding of Scottish folds for their cute ears was not without its consequences. In 1977, the intentional breeding of Scottish folds was banned after geneticist Oliphant Jackson learned that roughly one-third of Scottish fold kittens developed osteodystrophy, a type of skeletal lesion.
Great Britain’s Governing Council of the Cat Fancy still does not accept the Scottish fold as registered breed as a result of its past health issues, but breeders and geneticists in the United States have worked to eliminate the bad genes from this breed, resulting in what is now considered a very healthy cat. It’s still important to seek out a reputable breeder or consider adopting from a shelter, but the concerns for the health of the Scottish fold are no longer nearly as prominent as they once were.
Physical Characteristics of Scottish Folds
Scottish folds are actually born with straight ears like other kittens, but their ears begin to fold down after a month or so of life. Not all cats born of Scottish fold parents get folded ears, but only the ones with folded ears are eligible to represent their breed in cat shows.
Some Scottish folds have just one fold in each ear, so their ears are loose and floppy. Others have double- or triple-folded ears, making their ears more immobile.
Aside from their unique ears, this breed is known for having a round face and a short, flat nose. Their bodies are also roundish and stocky and medium in size, they have a dense coat of short or semi-long fur, and they come in all colors except for pointed color combos.
Scottish Fold Behavior
Scottish folds are sweet, social, and calm cats. They have quiet voices and love people, making them great pets for the elderly or families with children or other pets. It can also be a good travel companion, as it gets used to new surroundings quickly. It does not like being alone much and does well when paired with another cat if its human companion is not going to be home a lot.
This cat breed is known to sometimes sit up on its hind legs, making it look even more like a bunny. It also likes to lie on its back, making it look like an otter.
Caring for a Scottish Fold
For the most part, caring for a Scottish fold is exactly the same as caring for any other cat. They need a high-quality cat food that’s rich in protein and a good mix of vitamins. An excessive amount of vitamin C could make their ears straighten out and cause other health issues, so it’s important to strike the right balance. This breed is also prone to obesity, so be sure to exercise proper portion control.
Short-haired Scottish folds need to be brushed once a week, while the long-haired variety may require more in-depth grooming. It’s important to clean a Scottish fold’s ears regularly, because the folds can encourage ear mites and infections.
Watch the video below to learn more about this unique breed of cat!