The Ears of Scotland!
Cat Talk|October 2020
What You Don’t Know About... Scottish Folds
Candilee Jackson

A new exhibitor sat in a show ring, spellbound as all-breed judge Loretta Baugh detailed the unique standards for a Scottish Fold to her wondering audience: everything should be R-O-U-N-D, a round cobby body, legs which end in little round paws, a rounded tail, and of course, those cute little folded ears which give the Scottish Fold its finishing touch. Then she dropped the most fascinating bombshell: kittens’ ears, if they are destined to fold, will fold on the twenty-first day! To someone totally new to the fancy, this exhibitor had no idea there were so many varieties of the domestic cat, let alone a cat with folded ears!

A Little History

Droopy-eared cats first appeared in China in the late 1700s, and were introduced to Europe via Chinese sailors; another folded ear cat appeared in the cat fancy in 1938. (Hillspet) While the historical background of most pedigreed cats are shrouded in myth and legend, the Scottish Fold can trace its origins precisely “back to a single female barn cat named Susie.” (Roper) “In 1961, a shepherd by the name of William Ross spotted the first known Scottish Fold cat at a farm near Coupar Angus in the Tayside region of Scotland, northwest of Dundee. Ross asked the owners if he could have one of the kittens, and proceeded to develop the breed from the original, Susie, a white barn cat.” (CFA Breeds) The original name of this droopy eared beauty was “Coupari,” giving credit to the area in which the cat was created.

This medium-sized cat is extremely popular in the United States, where both long and short-haired Folds are shown. They are known for holding conversations with their owners, and their soft voices and sweet round faces resonate with the public.

Interestingly, breeders have to take great care in exactly how their catteries breed to produce the Scottish Fold: “the folded ear cat must not be bred to another folded ear cat … the resulting kittens can be impaired to the extent of having difficulty walking.” (CFA Breeds) “The folded ear is produced by an incomplete dominant gene and is the result of a spontaneous mutation” (CFA Breeds). Outcrosses to the American Shorthair and British Shorthair are permitted. Due to the rarity of the Fold, AND due to the fact that not every kitten born will have folded ears, it is very hard for the supply to keep up with the demand.

The Scottish Fold was granted championship status by The Cat Fanciers’ Association in 1978. (CFA Breeds)

Living With Scottish Folds

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