Scottish Fold


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Introduction

The Scottish Fold is quite a unique looking, medium sized cat with their curled back ears and large, brilliant eyes. They are relatively new to the cat world, but since they first appeared on the scene back in the sixties, these adorable cats have found their way into the hearts and homes of people the world over and for good reason. The Scottish Fold is not only unusual looking, but they boast having one of the sweetest and most affectionate natures too.


History

The Scottish Fold first appeared on the scene back in the early sixties when a shepherd called William Ross found a barn cat that boasted uniquely curled back ears. This first cat called Susie was bred to other breeds which included Persians, Exotic Shorthairs, American Shorthairs and Burmese. As such, all Scottish Folds can trace their ancestry back to this one female cat with usually shaped ears called Susie.

The breed is now recognised by TICA and other international breed clubs, although they are yet to be recognised by the GCCF. However, their popularity is growing not only in the UK, but elsewhere in the world and for good reason. The Scottish Fold is an unusual looking cat and one that boasts being one of the sweetest natured cats on the planet.


Appearance

The Scottish Fold is an adorable looking medium sized cat that boasts having very unusual curled back ears which is as result of a spontaneous mutation that was found in Scottish farm cats. One word describes a Scottish Fold perfectly which is "round". They are a round shape in every respect which adds to their endearing looks. Apart from their unique curled back ears, Scottish Folds also boast having beautiful, large round eyes which also sets them apart from many other breeds. These lovely cats can either have short or long coats, but there is also a Scottish Straight which is a cat that boasts being the same as a Scottish Fold with the one difference being they have normal "straight" ears like any other breed.

Scottish Folds have nicely rounded heads with prominent cheeks with quite a jowly appearance about them. They have large, round eyes with cats always having an open, sweet expression in them. Their eye colour always ties in with a cat's coat colour. Their ears are folded forwards and downwards being small and the tighter they are folded the better. Ears are set in a "cap-like" way so that it exposes the round shaped craniums. However, the size of a cat's ears is not as important as the folds they have and ear tips must be rounded too.

Chins are moderate and muzzles are quite wide with cats having nicely rounded whisker pads. Their noses are short and broad so when they are seen in profile, cats have a gentle curve with a brief stop. Necks are short and a cat's head should merge nicely into their necks. The Scottish Fold boasts having a medium length, well rounded body and their legs are nicely in proportion to the rest of their bodies. They have well rounded feet with neat toes and their tails are well in proportion to the body.

When it comes to their coat, the Scottish Fold can either have a short or long coat with shorter coated cats having a plush, dense and extremely resilient double coat that does not lie too close to the body. Longer coated cats have semi-long soft coats that stand well away from the body with ear furnishings and toe tufts being clearly visible. The same can be said of a long coated cats ruff and britches.


Temperament

Like other breeds, the Scottish Fold likes a routine and doesn't particularly like it when this changes for any reason. They like to be fed at the same time of the day and don't appreciate it when furniture gets moved around the home which can often stress cats out. With this said, Scottish Folds are easy-going by nature and they form strong bonds with their owners. They are confident and outgoing, loving nothing more than to follow an owner from room to room so they are involved in everything that’s going on. Scottish Folds remain very kitten-like throughout their lives which is just one of the reasons they are so much fun to share a home with.

One of the sweetest things that Scottish Folds are known to do is to sit up on their back legs which is reminiscent of a Prairie Dog so they can survey their surroundings. They are also known to use their paws to do all sorts of things which includes swiping at drips from a tap and eating their food with them. These smart cats know how to wrap their owners around their paws and never particularly like it when they are left on their own for any length of time, much preferring to be with the people they love so they can be given lots of attention although they are never overly demanding. They enjoy being able to go outside, but cats should only be allowed to roam around in the great outdoors if it is safe for them to do so. Scottish Folds are not overly talkative, but will happily have a conversation with an owner when spoken to or when it is time for their dinner.


Intelligence

The Scottish Fold is known to be a clever cat and one that learns new things quickly. They are also extremely good at using their paws to open cupboards so they can check out what's inside and help themselves to a snack or two. They are also quite adept at using their paws to swipe at water from a running tap and will spend hours watching it drip. They are also good at problem solving and enjoy playing with food oriented puzzle games which they are known to be particularly good at. In short, sharing a home with a Scottish Fold is always extremely entertaining.


Children and Other Pets

Scottish Folds with their outgoing, affectionate personalities are the perfect choice for families with children. However, care should be taken when very young children are around cats and any interaction should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure things stay nice and calm. With this said, children need to be taught how to behave around cats and when it's time to leave them alone.

They also get on well with dogs especially if they have grown up together in the same household. However, care should be taken when introducing a Scottish Fold to a dog they don't already know just in case the dog does not get on with their feline counterparts. They are social by nature and have been known to get on with pet birds and small animals, but it's always wiser to keep a close eye on any cat when they are around smaller pets particularly when they first meet each other just to be on the safe side.


Health

The average life expectancy of a Scottish Fold is between 12 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate, good quality diet to suit their ages.

The Scottish Fold is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these charming and unique looking cats. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:

  • Osteochondrodystophy
  • Autosomal Donimant Polycystic Kidney disease – breeders should have stud cats tested

Caring for a Scottish Fold

As with any other breed, Scottish Folds need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. On top of this, cats need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives which is especially true of kittens and older cats.


Grooming

Scottish Folds can either have short or long coats with shorter coated cats being lower maintenance on the grooming front. A weekly brush and wipe over with a chamois leather is all it takes to keep their coats in good condition with a nice sheen on it. Longer coated cats need to be brushed several times a week to prevent any knots and tangles from forming. Like other breeds, they tend to shed the most in the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent brushing is usually necessary to keep on top of things.

It's also important to check a cat's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax builds up in their ears it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure with ear infections. Cats often suffer from ear mites which can be a real problem which is another reason why it's so important to check their ears every week or so.


Energy Levels/Playfulness

The Scottish Fold is an easy-going, laid-back character by nature, but this does not mean they don't like to play interactive games with their owners which includes "fetch the toy" and they adore chasing a rolled up bit of paper around the room. Scottish Folds like to explore the great outdoors, but cats should only be allowed to roam around outside if it is safe for them to do so.

The good news is that Scottish Folds adapt extremely well to being kept as indoor cats and will happily turn into couch potatoes if allowed. As such, it's important to keep an eye on a cat's waistline to ensure they never carry too much weight which could seriously impact their overall health and well-being. Cats kept as indoor pets need to be given lots they can snuggle up for a snooze when the mood takes them because if there is one thing that Scottish Folds enjoy doing, it's taking a cat nap or two throughout the day.


Feeding

If you get a Scottish Fold kitten from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same kitten food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a kitten's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.

Older cats are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be given a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature cat several times a day making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements which is especially important as cats get older. It's also essential to keep an eye on a cat's weight because if they start to put on too much, it can have a serious impact on their overall health and wellbeing. Like all other breeds, Scottish Folds need access to fresh, clean water at all times.


Average Cost to keep/care for a Scottish Fold

If you are looking to buy a Scottish Fold, you would need to pay anything from £400 to over £1000 for a well-bred kitten. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Scottish Fold in northern England would be £12.18 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £24.70 a month (quote as of October 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a cat's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed among other things.

When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a cat’s life. This would set you back between £15 - £20 a month. On top of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Scottish Fold and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a cat when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £600 a year.

As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Scottish Fold would be between £40 to £60 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your cat, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a well-bred kitten.


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