Scottish Fold Cats
Some History About Scottish Fold Cats
Not only are Scottish Fold Cats one of the cutest looking breeds (I think so anyway) but they are also one of the newest. In 1961 a Scottish sheep farmer spotted a strange looking cat with folded ears. That is to say that the ears were not erect as normal but inclined down towards the front of the animals head. William Ross (the sheep farmer) enquired around as to whom the cats owners might be and subsequently befriended her owners. When Suzie (the cat in question) produced a litter of two folded ear kittens a year later Ross and his wife acquired one. A white female who they named Snooks. The Ross’s then proceeded to set up a breeding program and started the long process towards registering Scottish Fold Cats as a recognized breed. They were successful but all that changed in the early 1970’s when one of the larger cat fancier associations stopped registering them due to inherent health issues.
What Went Wrong With Scottish Fold Cats?
To understand why there were issues with the registration of Scottish Fold Cats back in the 1970’s we may need a quick lesson in genetics for dummies so here goes. The reason that the breed originally had folded ears was a deformity in the ear cartilage caused by a single dominant mutant gene. Unfortunately, probably due to early close breeding with others of the breed that carried the same DNA this led to some serious health problems mainly with the animal’s ears. Breeders managed to increase the number of ear folds from one to as many as three in some instances. This of course was only achievable through very close interbreeding. Remember there were only a limited number of original kittens back in the 1960,s. The more serious effect of this was seen in skeletal weaknesses and deformities when Scottish Fold Cats were bred with others of their breed. In fact, breeding was eventually only allowed with felines outside the gene pool but the English associations even then gave the pedigree the cold shoulder.
Scottish Fold Cats Go Stateside
So in 1970 three of Snook’s kittens were sent to a Dr Neil Todd at the Carnivore Genetics Research Centre in Massachusetts. However shortly afterwards Dr Todd abandoned his work on spontaneous mutations and found homes for the cats. One of them eventually wound up in Pennsylvania with Salle Peters who then became the main breeder of Scottish Fold Cats in the USA. Others were imported after this time but all genuine Scottish Fold Cats in America can be traced back to Susie’s linage. Ironically the breed flourished in the states and soon achieved championship status amongst the nation’s cat fanciers. In fact Scottish Fold Cats are now right up there amongst America’s top ten breeds as recognized by cat fanciers. That’s just a brief history of this lovable breed and if you want to know more why not check out this article here.