Scottish Fold cats are immediately recognizable by their unique ears that give them their name; they are a recently developed and officially recognized breed.
In 1961 a shepherd, William Ross, spotted the first known Scottish Fold cat at a farm near Coupar Angus in the Tayside Region of Scotland, Northwest of Dundee. The unusual looking cat was Susie, a white barn cat. Ross learned that Susie’s mother was a straight-eared white cat. Her father was unknown, so it was unclear whether Susie was the first of her kind, or whether the folded ears had simply never been noticed before. Susie’s brother was also a Fold.
Ross and his wife, Mary, were enchanted by the feline and when Susie produced two folded-ear kittens a year later, they acquired one, a white beauty like her mother, whom they named Snooks. The breed came to America in 1971 with three of Snooks’ kittens.
The Rosses started a breeding program and proceeded to investigate establishing a new breed by attending cat shows and talking with breeders. At this time, they called the breed ‘lop-eared,’ after the rabbit variety.
The unique feature of this cat was that her ears folded forward and downward on her head. The resulting look gave the impression of what many say is an owl. This look has captured the hearts of many American cat fanciers and judges. The Scottish Fold was granted championship status by The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) in 1978.
Scottish Fold kittens are born with straight ears. Only half the kittens or fewer develop folded ears. At about three to four weeks of age, their ears fold. It is usually at around 11 to 12 weeks of age that the breeder can determine the quality or category of the cat based on the folded ears (pet, breeder or show). Presently, only folded-ear cats of Scottish lineage are permitted in the show ring, and breeders strive to produce show cats.
The folded ears are a direct result of a dominant gene affecting the cartilage of the ears. There are three degrees of fold ranging from folded tips to very intense folds with the ears tight to the head. To eliminate skeletal birth defects that can occur through inbreeding, the straight ear progeny of Scottish Folds are invaluable to the breeding program. Usually only one folded-ear parent is bred to produce healthy kittens. Due to the rarity of the fold, it is very hard for the supply to keep up with the demand.
Scottish Folds are also known for their signature sitting posture known as the Buddha Pose. They hunch backward with their stomach displayed and front legs draped across the belly.
Scottish Folds are hardy cats, much like their barnyard ancestors. Their disposition matches their sweet expression enhanced by big, round eyes and soft, oval faces. They enjoy human companionship and will give their loyalty to one family member while befriending all constant people in their world.
They have tiny voices and are not extremely vocal. When angry or agitated, their ears can lay back like most cats. They are intelligent and playful companions.
Scottish Folds can be almost all colors or color combinations found in cats. There are both long- and short-haired kinds. The long-haired development is attributed to crossbreeding with Persians introduced to strengthen the breed hardiness.
Prices for adults and kittens can be high, up to $1,500 depending on the color, degree of ear fold and pedigree. One legitimate New York breeder is:
Name: Marina Boss
Cattery: Cheshiresmile (TICA)
Notes: European Champion lines. Written health guarantee with genetic health guarantee. Veterinary health certificate provided at time of sale. FeLV and FIV negative. Blue, lilac, chocolate, cream, colorpoints. Short-haired only.
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Visit the Cattery: http://www.cheshiresmilecattery.net