We’ve heard several people say that cats aren’t active enough – unlike dogs. People have complained that cats sleep too much and have attitude issues – intentionally ignoring you when they’re being called and only showing up when they want to or when they’re hungry. Because of these complaints, some pet lovers turn to dogs instead for that active companion they want. We have good news for you, not all cats love to be idle and laze around.
Allow us to reintroduce to you (drumroll please) the Scottish Fold. The Scottish Fold breed is unique in several ways. They get the name ‘fold’ from the way their ears fold forward and downward. And no, they do not meow with a Scottish accent. These cats have been described as sensitive, active and expressive among other things. So if you’re looking for an active, fun and loving cat, you’re pretty much looking for a Scottish Fold. They love to play and they don’t like to be left by themselves. They love attention, even if it’s from another cat. Companionship is important to them. They want to be part of every activity – going for walks, hanging out at the backyard, name them.
These cats are as special as they appear. So if the Scottish Fold is the kind of cat you’re looking for in a feline buddy, stick with me. I’ll guide you through the important information you need to know about this adorable cat breed before you dash off to the pet store.
History of the Scottish Fold Cat
Scotland is not only known for its bagpipes and kilts. The most adorable thing to come from that country is the Scottish Fold. As its name suggests, the Scottish Fold originated from Scotland. It has a unique appearance which it owes to a natural genetic mutation. All Scottish Folds can trace their genetic lineage back to one specific ancestor who lived in the mid-20th century and her name is Susie!
Susie was a white Scottish Fold barn cat. She was discovered in 1961 in a farm in the Scottish county of Perthshire. Susie was a cat with unusually folded ears that is still distinctive and well-recognized today. She earned her keep as a mouser in a barn in Scotland’s Tayside region. Susie had several kittens in one litter and two of her kittens obtained her unique folded ears. She was noticed by William Ross, a neighboring farmer who had an interest in cats.
Ross was able to acquire ownership of one of Susie’s kittens. She was a little white female who he named Snooks. One of Snooks’ kittens, a male, was bred to a British Shorthair in a breeding program Ross started. It was basically about mating with regular domestic and British Shorthair cats. The result, a breed called ‘lop-eared’ or ‘lops’, because of the way the ears drooped like those of lop-eared rabbits. The GCCF withdrew registrations of this breed in 1971, because of concerns about bone abnormalities and possible ear and hearing issues. Some of this unique breed was exported to the United States in the late 1970s. Breeding programs resumed rapidly involving both British and American Shorthairs. The Cat Fanciers Association provisionally recognized the Scottish Fold breed in 1977.
Quick Facts About the Scottish Fold Cat
The Scottish Fold cat breed is affectionate, playful and child-friendly. Here are some quick facts you should know about this feline breed.
- ‘Teddy bear’ cats
The Scottish Fold’s head, face and sometimes whole body, is generally rounded – with large round eyes. They are often described as resembling a teddy bear or pixie.
- Lifespan and physical traits
Scottish Fold Cats have a lifespan of eleven to fifteen years. They have medium-to-short legs, with thick and soft fur around the upper thighs, tails, and ears. These cats come in different colors and color combinations. They have different eye colors – blue, green and gold are dominant.
- Size and Weight
The Scottish Fold weighs from six to thirteen pounds when fully grown. The males are on the heavier side while the females are on the lighter side. On average, these cats measure ten to twelve inches in length, making it a medium-sized cat.
- Gene mutation
The fold in their ears is in fact a gene mutation – an ‘incompletely dominant gene’ that causes the ear cartilage to fold down and forward.
- 21-day wait!
From birth, their ears are straight and not actually folded at all. It’s not until at least 21 days have passed before you can tell whether the kitten was born with the ‘Fold’ gene. So if the ears don’t fold after this time, these kittens are called ‘Straights’. On the other hand, if they do fold, then you know the kitten has the gene mutation.
- Selective breeding
As their folded ears have become increasingly appealing to car-lovers, selective breeders have successfully managed to enlarge the degree of the fold crease by two to three times. the original fold. So not it’s not unusual to find some Scottish Fold cats whose ears lie completely folded flat on their heads.
Things You Should Know
The breed types have varying health problems that can be attributed to their genes. Their genetic mutation affects the cartilage in their body, making them prone to skeletal deformities. A condition called Congenital Osteodystrophy (hope you didn’t bite your tongue) happens when two cats with the folded ears are bred together. This condition is responsible for skeletal problems and deformities. Such deformities include stiff paws, unusually short or stiff tails, or fused leg joints. This condition may be painful and even crippling.
Another condition the Scottish Folds are prone to, is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease. However, there hasn’t been enough proof that this condition is genetic. If your heart is breaking at this point, please hang on. There’s more bad news. Scottish Folds are also susceptible to Polycystic Kidney disease. Indeed, these issues are too much for such adorable creatures. But there are always health issues when it comes to genetically mutated breeds.
Obesity is another health condition these special breeds are prone to. Because of their naturally round, soft-edged appearance, obesity in the Scottish felines easily goes without detecting early till it’s too late. The risk of obesity is even higher considering the sedentary lifestyle the felines live as pets inside homes. Making carbohydrates a huge part of their feeding puts them at risk. To make things even more difficult, it can be very hard for the Scottish Fold to lose weight. It’s also very expensive for the owner. These cats require specialized foods if you’re trying to help them shed off fat. And this will not go easy on your wallet. Therefore, following the old adage “prevention is better than cure”, owners must be careful not to overfeed Scottish Folds with carbohydrates. And must make sure they’re not left idle.
We’ve understood so far, just how special the Scottish Folds are. But just as special things don’t come cheap, expect this feline breed to be on average, more expensive than other breeds. This mainly has to do with its feeding. These cute cats are still ferocious natural predators, and they must have the kind of diet that reflects it. Aside from that, there are several things about the Scottish Fold that make their feeding quite special. Their diet is high protein-based. And no, they’re not part of some anti-carb campaign. As mentioned earlier, these cats are still natural predators, and high protein food is what they need. Although they appear uniquely different, their digestive systems are similar to that of their ancestors. Their high protein mostly consists of meat, cartilage, and bone. As a breed, experts say they are still closely related to their wild cousins, the panthers (Don’t freak out).
Now let’s consider some best foods to feed the Scottish feline with. Ideally, a combination of dry food, wet food, and meat should be used. Although most cats can get by with very little water, it’s still necessary to include some wet food to their diet (Cats get most of the moisture they need from fresh meat). Experts suggest, for example, to add a bit of hot water to their kibble and let it cool down. It makes for soft, moist food that will keep your Scottish feline hydrated. Cold water can cause quite dangerous conditions like Pharyngitis in the Fold. This can degenerate into pneumonia. So please take note.
It’s important to make sure that their meals are thirty percent protein and very little carb. However, please be sure to avoid feeding them the following foods:
- fish bones and chicken bones
- any kind of sausage
- sweets in general
- foods with preservatives and food additives
- fresh bread
You’ll want to keep this amazingly cute feline breed happy by taking very good care of it. If you already own one, or now planning to get one, these care tips will guide you to properly look after your Scottish Fold.
- Regular cleaning: This cat breed is hairy. So you need to brush it regularly. Brush its body from top to bottom. Doing this will help remove any insect hiding. If you have a Shorthair Scottish Fold, brush it once or twice a week. If you have a Longhair Scottish Breed, brush it daily Be sure to brush its whole body, including its chest and abdomen. We will return to grooming your Scottish feline later.
- Bathing: Although the Scottish Fold does not require daily bathing, if you notice your cat is in discomfort (itching too often), then it’s best to bath it. It is advisable to consult your vet for detailed instructions on how to best wash your Scottish feline. Follow the instructions carefully. Use mild non-fragrance soap or bathing shampoo.
- Nail clipping: Scottish Folds can grow nails quickly. So regular clipping is necessary to prevent it from causing pain to itself. Be careful, when clipping, to only focus on the white part of the nail. Make sure not to go close to the pink part since that part contains nerves and blood vessels. Don’t trim more than three nails at a time if it’s your first time. You can trim the nails every ten to fourteen days.
- Brush Its Teeth: Brush your cat’s teeth daily, or at least three times a week. Do not use regular toothpaste since they contain fluoride that can cause burns. There are specially formulated toothpaste and toothbrushes you can purchase from your local pet store. Again, consult your vet first if you’re attempting to brush your cat’s teeth for the first time. When brushing, gently scrub in a downward motion. This will help remove tartar and plaque away from the gums.
- Check Its Ears: Check the inner ears for dirt spots. Then gently fold its ears back and inspect the ear canal. Make sure there’s only minimal earwax and that the ear canal is free from dirt. If there’s dirt in it, use a dump cloth or cotton ball to wipe it away. You can add some apple cider vinegar solution to the moist cloth. This will give a thorough cleaning. Take your cat to see the vet if there’s a swelling, bleeding, pus, bad odor or a large amount of wax. It could be indication of an infection.
- Clean Sleeping Place: This is very important. A wet and dirty sleeping place will breed bacteria that will make the cat sick. So make sure its sleeping area is dry, warm and clean. Check its litter box twice a day to be sure it’s clean. Wash it with hot water and mild soap (preferably non-scented soap) every two weeks.
- Activity And Company: The Scottish Fold loves company. You should be prepared to have it around you and play with it often. You can also get another kitten or puppy to play with it. The purpose is to ensure your Scottish feline has an active company. Also, engage your feline in activities like fetching balls and running to give it good body and mental health. This is also very important in preventing obesity.
- Regular Visits To The Vet: Take your cat to see the vet at least once a year. The vet will conduct routine check-ups and dental examinations. After which your Scottish feline will be given the needed vaccinations. The vet will also give you important health tips for taking care of your Fold.
You can ask your vet for grooming salon professionals when it comes to grooming densely coated Scottish Folds. However, there are a few things you should know and can try by yourself. The densely coated Scottish Folds have extremely thick coats which clump together when wet. You can try degreasing by shampooing thoroughly. Then brush and comb while drying. You can use Seasons Chrome Coat Rinse or Result Rinse after you degrease and shampoo your cat. Apply the Rinse at normal dilution and make sure that the fur is completely soaked for at least five minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Brush the coat with a shedding comb. Preferably one with rotating teeth. Do not apply too much force when the comb drags. Simply turn it so that the comb follows the direction of your pull.
It is believed that Scottish Folds are heavy shedding cats. But generally, they do not shed more than the regular cat. Also, they do not require much grooming effort. However, there are some reasons why your Scottish Fold might shed beyond the usual. If your cat is overweight and sick, it might stop grooming itself properly. This is because it might struggle to reach certain areas. Sick cats won’t groom because of the lack of energy, because of discomfort, or because of pain, they may be feeling. So make sure your cat is healthy. Your Scottish feline will need more frequent grooming if it spends a lot of time outside. If not, dirt will build up and your cat will have matted hair.
Okay, let’s talk about some simpler stuff – after the complexities of grooming, care, feeding, and health. The Scottish Fold is known as a friendly cat. It’s impossible not to love them (unless you have no soul. Just kidding, sorry). They are gentle, affectionate and intelligent. Although Scottish Folds can get very attached to their owners, they do not get in the way. Because they can adjust easily to family size and they don’t like being alone.
However, they can be unfriendly towards children who hurt them. So if you have kids at home, be sure to teach them to be nice their feline family member. Despite its adorability, it won’t hesitate to attack if it feels threatened.
The Scottish Fold is a smart cat that is teachable and loves problem-solving games with their human.
It’s polite and quiet, compared with regular cats. Even when it makes anything close a noise, its voice is nearly silent. So rest assured knowing your Scottish Fold will not meow in the middle of the night for no reason.
Because of years of breeding them away from their natural predators, they have evolved to become basically house cats. Scottish Folds can be a bit timid when they do not get the social contact they need. But when they get timid, all they require is some gentle stroking and attention. Because of their social nature, they usually follow their humans around, sit near them, or glide between their feet.
They are helpful cats and like carrying stuff around.
They are curious and will be quick to jump into an open drawer or try to open it if it’s closed. They like to explore and maybe found wandering in some hidden corners or in the backyard.
In short, this is almost the perfect family cat. That is if you can do your part in taking good care of it.
Now breathe! It’s been a whole lot of information to take in about Scottish Folds. But very relevant information if you’re interested in getting a Scottish feline. The most important things to remember are that Scottish Folds require as much care as they give joy. You must be ready and willing to give it the time and company it needs. Always consult your vet about things you’re not certain of concerning this breed. Understand their health and care conditions before you set off to get one. And oh, be sure you have the wallet to cater for their high protein diet and special needs.