The most famous of all Scottish Fold cats is Maru, who can be seen on several social media sites along with other Scottish Folds. Clips and pics can be seen of the antics and general demeanor of these funny and adorable cats. One oddity about Maru is that he has become the most famous without exhibiting the most defining trait of the breed – folded ears! It is the folded ears that makes the breed unique. But it’s the Internet, so you can’t argue with success.
Admittedly, the Scottish Fold is not like any other breed in a number of ways. Beyond its folded ears, the cat has a number of traits that make it almost the purrfect house cat. Their origins are obviously Scottish, and you would think there is plenty of reason for the Scots to be proud of them. But as you read through the list and get to #20, you likely will be saddened at what the government has in store for them.
Here are 20 fun facts you never knew about these unique bundles of fur known as Scottish Fold cats.
1. Taylor Swift Owns At Least One (Now 2)
There is no evidence that she has more than one, but as we will see later, owning one Scottish Fold is all you need. If you are a follower of Swift on social media you have seen her parade her cat in pics online and named it Meredith Grey. For those unfamiliar with the TV show Grey’s Anatomy, Grey is a character played by Ellen Pompeo who is a star in her own right. She has recently added another Scottish Fold to the fold, increasing their fame. The cats have more followers than most people on social media, which attests to their cuteness and adorability factor. You have been warned.
2. The Origin of the Scottish Fold Breed
There are a few details and controversies about the breed, but it is obvious that they have their origins in the country of Scotland. As the story goes, a few hundred years ago a farmer found this cat who had these ears that seemed to be naturally folded. Since we are used to seeing cats with their ears in their natural pointed position, the farmer first suspected the cat had been injured somehow. This was not the case. This oddity piqued his interest, so he took the cat in and raised it, breeding it (unintentionally?) with his other cats. He noticed that of the litter of 5 that resulted, 2 had folded ears. His neighbor took one of the 2 kittens, and the rest is history.
3, The First Scottish Fold Cat Was Given a Name
That farmer named the kitten he found Susie, though the reasons remain unknown. There are many dogs that we affectionately call mutts, and the lineage of most cats is the result of mixing and breeding. But all Scottish Fold breeds can be traced back to this one kitten, which is actually pretty amazing. This historical fact accounts for the popularity and interest of breeders to continue the line. Remember, at the beginning only 2 of the 5 had folded ears.
4, A Warning About In-Breeding Scottish Folds
If you are aiming to match or beat the 50-50 odds of breeding, good luck. But in-breeding two Scottish Folds will not only not get you another Scottish Fold, you will get a litter of kittens who will all have hearing issues of one kind or another. It’s those genetics at work again. Though the normal breeding of any two cats can result in hearing issues (maybe that is why they seem to ignore you most of the time) with Scottish Folds it appears to be more likely to occur.
5. Genetics Plays a Key Role in the Breed
As unique as the Scottish Fold breed is, one of the weird things of breeding it is you will not get another Scottish Fold by matching two Scottish Folds. A male Scottish Fold plus a female Scottish Fold will get you – a normal cat with unfolded ears. The historic chance you will get a Scottish Fold even after breeding with a different cat is still only 50-50. Remember the 2 of 5 from its origins. If you have dreams of being a Scottish Fold breeder, keep in mind that it is all about the genetics, and have room for a lot more regular kittens. But you can say the regular cats have the genetics of a Scottish Fold, so you never know!
6. Those Snobby Europeans
Maybe because Europeans are very big on heritage and ancestry, or maybe it’s because of the potential for genetic defects, but despite the fact that the Scottish Folds trace their ancestry to Europe, the breed is not one recognized on the continent. If you see a Sottish Fold while traveling in Europe and say to its owner, “Is that a Scottish Fold?!” you will likely get a strange look and the response, “No. It’s just a cat.” There is an organization with a fancy name, The European Cat Fancier’s Association, that doesn’t fancy the breed due to their many genetic abnormalities. As if somehow the cat is to blame. If you want to be an objective historical observer, maybe the Europeans need to look at their own history of in-breeding and the results of that. Harrumph.
7. They Have an Anti-Cat Attitude Towards People
The love-hate relationship of pet owners when having to decide between getting a cat or a dog is often based on whether a potential owner wants a low maintenance pet. Cats are often considered to be low maintenance because they are aloof, so keep them fed and clean out their litter box, and you likely won’t be bothered by them. But the Scottish Fold can be considered to be the anti-cat because they absolutely love people. You can count on it to be around, whether it is on your lap or at your feet (this is particularly useful on cold winter days). This does not necessarily mean the Scottish Fold requires more time and energy to take care of, but having a cuddly cat who doesn’t give you an attitude when you look at it is a huge plus.
8. Laziness is a Built In Feature
Depending on your fancy for cats, you may see them either as lazy or saving their energy for the night time since cats are nocturnal animals. Well, the Scottish Fold is genetically lazy. Maybe that is why they are so quiet – they are too lazy to purr. They have been observed to have a burst of energy every now and then, but generally are too lazy to even walk around. Really. Owners can be seen carrying them around like a loaf of bread. Their main activities are sleeping and laying around with their owners. No studies have been done on whether they watch TV with their owners, but it is a well-known fact that cats spend about 25 percent of their time looking out a window.
9. An Australian is Trying to get the Breed Banned
As it turns out, Taylor Swift publicly parading her cat around on social media brought out the attack dogs. Last year, a group of alleged experts in internal veterinary medicine said breeding should be banned because continuing to reproduce the genetic mutation is cruel and unethical. That has led to the Scottish version of the ASPCA moving to enact a law that would prohibit breeding on the Scottish Fold. Nothing has come of all this just yet, but a number of interviews conducted with Scottish Folds in America have them united in their opinion that coming to America in the 1970’s was the best thing that ever happened to them.
10. The 70’s Introduced Them to America
The breed first arrived in the United States in 1971, so they have only been around about 45 years. But fortunately for the cats and breeders, it was also the 70’s that recognized the Scottish Fold as a separate and unique breed. Though America has an abundance of many things, the Scottish Fold is not one of them. They are far more common in most other parts of the world. The American business model of a free market supported by supply and demand means that these cats will be expensive for a while. You are likely going to have to go to a breeder to own one. Expect to pay close to $1000 for a single kitten.
11. No Grooming Required
Most cats attain the status of low maintenance in part because they groom themselves. But this advantage varies depending on the type of cat. Longer haired cats such as the Persian will require fairly regular maintenance unless you want your while shag rug to match the color of the fur of your white Persian cat. When it comes to the Scottish Fold, their hair is very short, so when they do their periodic self-grooming there is not much left to do. Add to this the fact that they hardly shed at all, and you have a pet that comes close to zero maintenance. It needs to be noted here that there are long hair Scottish Fold breeds, so you do have the choice to up your maintenance requirement. In either case, an occasional visit to a groomer would not be a bad idea, just so they think you care.
12. They Welcome Guests Into Your Home
OK, it’s not as if they can open doors (yet) but they are maybe the most social breed of any cat. A newcomer to your home may get a quick look and grimace from your ordinary cat, as if somehow their presence is disrupting their daily routine. But the Scottish Fold is more likely to meet them at the door. That will be followed by a catwalk that includes preening, prancing, and a general display of their best physical features. Like a child seeking attention, it wants to get noticed by everyone. And it usually does. Though this is almost always seen as a huge plus for Scottish Fold owners, what do you do when you don’t want the cat around?
13. Straight Ears Are Natural at Birth
With all the talk about those folded ears, you would think as soon as they are born you would know if you beat the odds. Not so fast. You will look at them, and they will look at you, and both will be asking, “What’s up?” Your answer will be “Your ears!” – until about 3 weeks later when you definitely know which of the litter, if any, have the folded ear characteristic. (At this point it seems rather cruel to call it a genetic mutation.) It generally takes about another week or two for the falling of the ears to end, but all good things come to those who wait. Right?
OK, we can’t even pronounce this one but it is an important characteristic of Scottish Folds. Earlier we issued the warning about breeding two Scottish Folds. The work of genetics is back at it, but this time in an unfortunate way. One too many kittens that are the result of attempting to breed two Scottish Folds suffer from this abnormality (Osteo-chondro-dys-plasia) that “folds” the kitten’s arms and legs to a degree. Obviously this creates a huge problem for the kittens to walk, and most who end up with this condition will also be arthritic from birth. In a word, don’t.
15. The Sitting Kitty
Maybe the Europeans don’t accept the breed because unlike virtually every other cat, the Scottish Fold sits on its behind like a human. For Europeans this may be akin to sitting on the throne. Perhaps this is a genetic act of rebellion from the breed that will prefer to sit with its front paws along its sides instead of their behind leaning on an angle like most cats. If you have trouble mentally picturing this, think of the Buddha.
16. They Might Snore
This is not a given, but the fact that these cats sleep on their backs can raise the question of whether they are natural snorers. We are used to seeing cats curl up in the most inconvenient places and go to sleep. Seeing a Scottish Fold lying on its back before going to sleep is just as natural for this breed. However, there is no evidence they will look for a convenient location to get their shut eye, proving once again they actually are cats despite their human tendencies
17. Beware of Their Tails
This is not because their tail is some kind of weapon. In fact, it is just the opposite. Earlier it was mentioned that the genetics of the Scottish Fold might cause their legs and arms to become arthritic at birth. Well, when it comes to their tails it seems even the healthiest of the breed are likely to develop arthritis in their tails over time. Owners notice that the cats become very nervous when their tails are touched – or even when you come near the tail when petting them. You cannot prevent it from happening, but you can ask your veterinarian about the condition of their tail during regular checkups.
18. They can Be Almost as Quiet as a Mouse
If you are a previous or current cat owner, you know that a purring kitty can actually be very loud, especially when they are happy. But with the Scottish Fold you will have to pay close attention to hear anything from this breed. Maybe it’s connected to getting along better with people, or maybe it’s because they don’t want to make a fuss. The skinny on the kitty is that they can get very vocal, they just choose not to be that way. This characteristic may elevate their status as a low maintenance pet since you won’t hear them when they’re hungry, but very few complaints about this have been recorded at the ASPCA.
19. Pure White Scottish Folds are More Likely to be a Problem
We mentioned the problem with the pure white Persian cat shedding, so getting a pure white Scottish Fold may seem to be an answer. The advice from professional and reputable breeders is that this is a bad idea. Cats will have problems hearing in any breed, and this is also true with the Scottish Fold. The problem with the pure white variety is they tend to have more hearing problems than the average breed. It has nothing to do with their ears; it’s just a more common and bigger problem for the pure white variety. Responsible breeders will not breed them, so if you find one you need to start questioning the reputation of the breeder.
20. They are Shock Resistant
The answer to the question in #18 may be best answered by one of the cat’s most interesting traits – it’s so laid back it’s almost like they are constantly over-catnipped. Nothing bothers them. When other cats scat, this breed looks around and wonders what all the fuss is about. Try startling them or scaring them, and anything short of imminent physical danger will have them looking to mosey up to you and go back sitting on your lap. We have read about them being lazy and affectionate, but just how mellow do you want your cat to be? Catnip is not always the answer.
So now that you have become self-aware about the good and bad of these cats, the question is whether you would want to buy one knowing all of this. We know they are pricey, and also know they are not only human friendly, but human-like in some ways. What man or woman wouldn’t want a companion who is low key, almost never has to be groomed, almost always wants to be with you, and is so quiet it is almost impossible to hear them even when they are hungry or grumpy? Come to think about it, though many people may think that $1000 is a lot to spend on a cat, the number of stress free years and limited doctor visits make the Scottish Fold an investment.
The fact that the breed has only been in the United States for about 50 years is more than interesting. Apparently there is this European quest to weed out inferior genetics from animals and people, preventing them from repopulating. Here in the United States we openly show compassion to people and animals alike. The import of the Scottish Fold may be a reminder to us that we need to stay the course on accepting imperfection in life. We may end up being their last refuge.
When you go back and look at the list, the genetic problems usually only occur with in-breeding. The same hold true for European royalty, but we aren’t hearing anything about that from them. The breed will live an average of 15 years, which is much longer than the life of many domesticated pets. No complaints have been heard from the cats about their longevity, and as for the health problem, we all have them as we get older. There is no conspiracy being suggested here by the Europeans, right?
People love these cats because they are unique, problems and all. No one wants a cat that looks and acts like every other cat on the block. Talk about conformity. The price you will pay to own a Scottish Fold will give you a boost in your social status, no matter how poor you are. Think of the jump in the number of likes and shares you get once you start uploading those videos and pics on all your social media accounts. This is a cat you don’t have to chase down for a pic – they will stand up and pose for you!
If they are good enough for Taylor Swift they are good enough for us. Maybe we’ll get lucky and the only place a Scottish Fold will be able to be found is in America. All we have to do then is to teach it to salute the flag sitting up.