When it comes to domestic cats, the Scottish Fold Cat has an appearance that distinguishes them from the rest of its feline family members. This is because the breed has a natural dominant mutation gene that affects the body’s cartilage, thus causing the ears to bend forward, towards the head. Originally, this breed of domestic cats was either called lop-eared or lops. The term Scottish Fold didn’t officially begin until 1966, after the discovery of a white barn cat named Susie. The location was at a farm near Coupar Angus in Perthshire, Scotland in 1961. Susie’s folded forward ear formation had her features resemble that of an owl. When the farm cat gave birth to a litter of kittens, two of them shared the same physical characteristics with their ears as she did. Unfortunately for Susie, she was killed by a car three months after giving birth to her litter. Of the two kittens, one was born female, who was named Snooks. The other kitten, a male, was neutered shortly after birth.
Introducing Scottish Folds
Snooks, also a white Scottish fold like her mother, was acquired by a neighboring farmer named William Ross. He was a fan of cats and had his kitten registered in 1966 as a breed with the United Kingdom’s Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF). The breeding program to breed the newly registered Scottish Fold kittens began with the assistance of a geneticist named Pat Turner. This breeding program produced seventy-six kittens during its first three years where forty-two of them shared the folded ear feature. The other thirty-four were born with straight ears. It would be through this breeding program that it would be discovered the Scottish Fold cats began with a dominant gene that would naturally cause the lop-eared formation.
Not long after the Scottish Folds were officially registered as a breed with the GCCF, the registration was withdrawn in 1971 due to the deformities and genetic issues the earliest group of these domestic cats experienced. The rest of Europe was also having a difficult time accepting Scottish Folds as an actual breed of cat, seeing them more as deformed versions of their concept of what a healthy cat should be. This resulted in the Scottish Folds being exported onto American soil where the breed continued to be established through the crossbreeding of British Shorthair cats and American Shorthair cats. This was to deal with certain medical issues the earliest Scottish Fold cats experienced that included ear infections, ear mites, and hearing loss.
The rare distinctive appearance of the Scottish Fold cats, combined with the reputation of being highly loving companions, made this particular breed of cat one of the most sought-after pets. This resulted in all four variants of the Scottish Fold kittens costing considerably more than kittens associated with more common breeds. According to registries that now accept the Scottish Fold cats as a breed, are Coupari, Highland Fold, Longhair Fold, and Scottish Fold Longhair. To this day, Scottish Folds are still a highly sought-after breed of cat, especially as kittens. High-profile celebrities are among the Scottish Fold cats’ biggest fans.
Scottish Fold Characteristics
Kittens born from Scottish Fold cat parents that don’t share the folded ear formation are labeled as Scottish Straights. After Susie’s death, Snooks was the only female cat left to officially start a breeding program that would result in generations of Scottish Fold cats. Over the years, through a selective breeding program, there has been an increase of lop-eared cats that help continue to keep this particular breed going. In some cases, some of the folded ears have developed formations of their own that have seen some ears fold forward slightly while others are more tightly folded. The facial features of the Scottish Fold cat breed seem to be emphasized as it has a more rounded appearance. The eyes, head, cheeks, and whisker pads all contribute to the cat’s appearance in a distinctive manner that adds to their appeal, especially among cat fanciers who appreciate all these unique characteristics. Despite the ears folding forward, Scottish Fold cats still use their aural appendages as a means to express themselves. The ears swivel to listen, as well as still move back when agitated, and prick up when it hears the sound of a treat bag.
In overall size, male Scottish Fold cats normally weigh anywhere from nine to thirteen pounds while the females average six to nine pounds. This is considered medium-sized in the world of domestic cat breeds. The full-body structure of a Scottish Fold, especially the head and face, is generally rounded. The eyes are another distinguishable feature for this breed as they are large and round. The nose of a Scottish Fold cat is short with a gentle curve. The cat’s body is well rounded with a padded look and has legs that range from short to medium. The head is domed at the top and these cats have short necks. Overall, when looking at a Scottish Fold cat, one can’t help but get caught up in the gentle, sweet expression of its appearance. Normally, Scottish Fold cats are either long-haired or short-haired. The coat colors vary but are usually thick and soft among the short-haired while especially dense for the long-haired.
Whether it’s the lop-eared Scottish Fold cats or the straight-eared Scottish Straight cats, both of them are known to be as good-natured and placid as it gets for domesticated cats. When in the presence of other animals, they normally adapt with ease. They’re also known to be remarkably affectionate and are known for being playful and smart. They also possess notorious grooming habits and love to be outdoors. Scottish Folds despise loneliness, to the point where depression can set in. They’re also known for their stubbornness. The sleep pattern of a Scottish Fold cat has them normally sleeping on their backs. When they’re sitting, they assume the “Buddha Position,” which has their legs stretched with paws on their bellies. When vocal, Scottish Fold cats let out a soft voice and have a complex repertoire of meows and purrs that also set this apart from all their feline cousins. On average, a Scottish Fold cat lives for fifteen years. However, this breed of cat is highly prone to cardiomyopathy, degenerative joint disease, and polycystic kidney disease (PKD). The most common degenerative joint disease issues affect the ankles, knees, and tail, which all will result in a reduced range of motion.
Osteochondrodysplasia (OCD) is an abnormality that affects the bone and cartilage development throughout the cat’s body. This is the condition that causes the ear to fold in the breed of all Scottish Fold cats. This is inescapable as this was the condition Susie, the official mother of the entire breed had. It was passed down from her to her daughter, Snooks, who then passed it down to the generation that came after her. Among Homozygous Fold cats, they are affected by a malformed bone structure that leads to the development of severely painful degenerative joint diseases at an early age. This condition also exists among Heterozygous Fold cats, but not quite as severe and it hits them at a later age. Some of these Folds have also been known to be asymptomatic, which means they’re carriers without the symptoms. There are ethical breeders who will do everything they can to avoid the production of homozygous Fold cats because heterozygous Fold cats can also develop progressive arthritis, which will vary in severity. There are a number of researchers who are recommending the deliberate breeding of Scottish Fold cats come to a complete halt. To this day, the GCCF and the Federation Internationale Feline (FIF) refuse to acknowledge the Scottish Folds as an official breed of cat. A number of breeders have addressed both the GCCF and FIF that using only Fold cat to non-Fold cat breeding has removed a number of problems that include bone lesions, shortened tails, and stiff tails As the argument among opposing sides regarding Scottish Fold cats continue, the breeding program of this breed of cat will continue.
Scottish Fold Cost Factors
Scottish Fold cats are, without a doubt, one of the most loving domesticated animals there is. It’s easy to understand why somebody would want one for themselves, even if it means dealing with some health issues that can become rather costly. Should one really want a Scottish Fold kitten, bear in mind you are agreeing to become more than just a pet owner. You are agreeing to be that cat’s closest thing to a god. Unless you are fully willing and able to bring one home, please reconsider your decision as the animal shelters are already too overwhelmed with so many unwanted cats, including Scottish Folds. Most of the Scottish Fold cats that are given up or abandoned are due to the pet owner learning the hard way that this breed requires more care and attention than most other domesticated cats. After learning what you have so far in this article, if you still wish to proceed with the decision to bring a Scottish Fold kitten home with you, here are the cost breakdowns involved;
Purchasing a Scottish Fold Kitten
There are a number of ethical breeders that are not simply in the business of breeding Scottish Fold cats as a means to make money. They genuinely care for the well-being of each cat. These are the breeders you should be doing business with. The Scottish Fold Cattery is one good, ethical site that does way more than just breed and sell Scottish Fold kittens and cats. They care enough to ensure you and your potential new family member make a good fit together. If not, they will let you know and why. While no official prices are listed on their site, expect to spend approximately $800 USD for a Scottish Straight kitten or $1,600 USD for a Scottish Fold kitten.
However, if you opt to adopt a Scottish Fold cat or kitten from a shelter instead of a breeder, you will save a significant amount of money upfront. Furthermore, in so doing you are saving a Scottish Fold cat’s life. Should you go this route, sometimes you can luck out and get one for free. Otherwise, no more than $100 USD will likely let you take home even a Scottish Fold kitten. If you’ve gone to a breeder, and the location of the Scottish Fold you’ve put money into lives some distance from you, there will be transportation costs that will have to be factored in. Shipping costs within North America can range anywhere from $100 USD to $500 USD, depending on how much distance there is between you and the kitten you wish to invite into your home. Although it is possible to send a Scottish Fold kitten overseas, the cost will be considerably more substantial. You will require a cat carrier, whether it’s to bring your new Scottish Fold kitten home with you from a nearby location or take it to for veterinarian care. The cost for a cat carrier varies from as little as $10 USD to $80 USD. It depends entirely on your spending budget.
Caring Costs for a Scottish Fold Cat
Like people, cats need to eat. Scottish Fold cats are no exception and will need to be fed a good diet to ensure they experience proper growth and nourishment. Remember, you’re already bringing home a member of your family that is prone to serious medical issues that can become costly. With this in mind, the last thing you want to do is cheap out on cat food. Ideally, investing in cat food that is as high quality as it gets that is loaded with protein with as few carbohydrates as possible is your best ticket. Purr Craze is a list of recommended cat food products best suited for Scottish Fold cats of all age groups. On average, spending $30 USD for a bag of high-quality cat food is a low price to pay if you really want your Scottish Fold cat to enjoy the highest quality of life possible Again, the price tag may seem like a shocker compared to maybe $10 for the low-quality stuff, but in the end, you will be doing yourself and your cat a huge favor by choosing to serve up healthy meals for your cat instead of junk food.
It is highly recommended you take your Scottish Fold cat in for regular visits. If you don’t wish to take part in any breeding programs, it would be in your best interest to have your kitten spayed or neutered. This act alone will greatly improve the quality of life for your cat as it will not find itself at the mercy of a long list of medical and psychological problems that inflict a cat when they have not been spayed or neutered. The cost to perform this act of kindness ranges from $50 USD to $100 USD. There are clinics that are willing to do this for free if it’s established you can’t afford this cost on your own. However, for the sake of your cat’s health and your sanity, bring it in at least annually for checkups to ensure there are no medical problems brewing you need to be aware of. The cost to this is normally $50 annually.
Because Scottish Fold cats are known for having thick, dense coats, regular grooming is highly recommended. A good bottle of pet shampoo averages $7 should you wish to do this yourself. However, if you’d rather go to a professional groomer, do your homework. Go with only professionals who have a proven track record of excellence. While at the groomers, they can also check in on your cat’s dental health. That is also important. Furthermore, since Scottish Fold cats don’t have ears that stand up, they are prone to infections if those ears are not looked after. Regular clean-up of germs and other gunk that builds up inside the ear is absolutely vital. You can do all this yourself, or invest anywhere from $50 USD to $80 USD per visit to have a professional groomer do all this for you. If you’re on the go and will be away from home where someone needs to look after your cat, you need to find a reliable pet sitter or find a well-reputed pet hotel that accepts cats. Costs vary, but anywhere from $25 USD to $100 USD is what the price tag normally is for this service. There are, of course, family and friends that can probably help you out, but only if you trust them enough to ensure your Scottish Fold gets the love and attention it needs. Remember, Scottish Folds hate being alone and can become clinically depressed should loneliness kick in while you’re away.
Another cost to consider is how to keep your cat from scratching up things like your furniture. It’s not the cat’s fault when it wants to claw into something, so don’t punish it for what comes naturally to them. And no, declawing is not a humane option to go. It is seen as an act of animal cruelty. Furthermore, Scottish Fold cats already have a higher risk of experiencing degenerative skeletal issues, to begin with. Your best bet is to invest in a number of toys and scratch pads to keep your cat entertained. In addition to the toys, don’t forget the kitty litter. As for kitty litter, be sure to find something that is of higher quality than the cheap stuff. Again, you want to minimize as many potential health hazards as possible for your Scottish Fold cat so that it can have the best quality of life while it’s with you. The amount of money you wish to put into cat toys is up to you, but for the sake of saving furniture and your personal sanity, $100 USD per year would be about right. As for the kitty litter, the good stuff averages $20 USD per month. Pet insurance is another cost consideration that shouldn’t be overlooked. For as little as $10 USD per month, you will have the coverage you need to help you contend with unexpected medical issues or accidents.
Folding This Up
For cat fanciers, there is no price too high to pay, including the amount of investment that’s involved with a Scottish Fold cat. Aside from the initial adoption fee and the spaying/neutering fee, the average monthly cost to look after a cat will likely start as low as $60 USD a month. This is not factoring in grooming costs, nor pet-sitting, or toys. At the end of the day, however, love really shouldn’t have a price tag to be so concerned about.