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HISTORY - PERSONALITY -HEALTH
Trademark ®, Diana Fineran, January 2, 2007
Photos Courtesy of Susan Williams - Copyright Helmi Flick (Click Photos to Enlarge)
Mother Nature created a spontaneous mutation in farm cats
Historically there have been prior sightings of folded
eared cats. An antique Oriental wall
hanging showing a folded eared white cat and her white kittens recently sold.
Further reference was made in, “The 1975 Guide to the Cats of the World”,
by Loxton, “The idea of a drop-eared Chinese breed was a persistent one.” The
first known acknowledgement of this type of cat appeared in 1796 in the
“Universal Magazine of Knowledge”, where they were mentioned as wild cats in
Susie, a white barn cat, was the very first recognized and
documented Traditional Scottish Fold, who all modern day, bona fide “Folds”
trace their parentage to. The striking thing about Susie was her ears were
folded downward and forward! She is the
first folded eared cat discovered by William and Mary Ross, who were British
Shorthair breeders, and the founders of the Traditional Scottish Fold breed. In
1961 William Ross, a shepherd, noticed Susie at the McRae farm, near Coupar
Angus in the Tayside Region of
Little was known about the natural mutation that causes the folded ear. Early in the 1970’s and English geneticist, Dr. Oliphant Jackson released a report stating the breed carried a bone problem, that no previous mention of associated skeletal deformity appeared before the 1970’s, and vital use of out crosses were needed to restore the original health of the breed! X-rays of “Folds” started showing bone lesions at that time. Questions arose about whether this was caused by early in-breeding or with the “fold” gene itself.
Photos Courtesy of Susan Williams - Copyright Helmi
In addition to these problems, many “Folds” originally had shortened tails that were inflexible. Help was sought from Dr. Rosemond Peltz, who offered, “in generations to come the undesirable defect may be diminished by extremely careful breeding.” More out crossing was used and the gene pool enlarged. Longer more flexible tails began to be produces and the shorten tails and bone lesions began to disappear. Out crossing remains a fundamental part of Traditional Scottish Fold breeding programs today. The stiff tail is eliminated by breeding a folded ear to a straight ear or an allowed out cross breed.
Due to mostly erroneous and unfounded allegations of
possible increase in ear mite infestation, deafness and possible genetic
difficulties, and due to the opposition from British Shorthair breeders who
opposed the use of their breed, the
British, Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) closed and banned the
Registration of any Traditional Scottish Folds in 1971!
Denisla Morag was the last Traditional Scottish Fold to be registered
with the GCCF! Mary Ross stated only one other cat lover besides herself were
left breeding them in
No longer supported in their home country, except by a few
loyal breeders, the Traditional Scottish Fold came to
Early breeders involved with furthering the breed in the
Famous cat names in Traditional Scottish Fold pedigrees are; “Jensen Minnie Pearl”, “Bryric Fanny Folderol of Kitjim”, “Bryric Patchwork”, “NW Kitjim’s Briarpatch”, “B4 Snow B-Ear-Y of Sweetums”, “Kitjim’s Buckwheat of Sweetums”, “RW Beebop Duke of Earle of Beepafold”, “NW Kitjim’s Bonny Too of Q-T cats” and, “Norton”.
The Traditional Scottish Fold comes in both folded ears and straight ears and short and long hair. The use of Persians in early breedings helped establish the long hair gene. An incomplete dominant gene produces the folded ear. That means if a kitten inherits one gene for folded ears and one gene for straight ears, it most likely will develop folded ears. Also, if a heterozygous “Fold”, which carries a fold eared gene and a straight eared gene is bred to a straight eared cat about 50% or their kittens will develop folded ears. That ratio is said to increase to 75% if both parents are heterozygous ‘folds”. About one third of the kittens from genetically “Fold” to “Fold” breedings may develop skeletal lesions in the tail and hindquarters. Both folded and straight eared cats are used in breeding programs as invaluable bloodlines to further the breed. Since one of a breeding pair must have straight ears, the chances of producing a folded ear kitten in a litter are about 50% over a period of time. Not every litter will produce 50% folded kittens. A mixture of all straight ears, only one kitten with folded ears, etc. is the norm. Therefore, it takes great patience on the part of breeders who are involved with this breed.
Despite being folded their ears are still expressive. Their can swivel to listen, lay back in anger and perk up when something interesting draws their attention. The fold in the ear can become less pronounced in illness, heat or distress.
Kittens are born with straight ears that either fold or not by four weeks of age. All colors are accepted as well, so there is an infinite variety. Their cute appearance will win any heart.
Photos Courtesy of Susan Williams - Copyright Helmi
Their winsome, loving, intelligent disposition matches their sweet, open, hear-no-evil expression. With tiny voices, they are not extremely vocal. Human companionship is completely adored by them and they display this need in their own quiet way. Placid and calm “Folds” love to sit in your lap, cuddle with you in your bed, run to the door to greet you and are not finicky eaters. Sweet Tempered, devoted but not demanding, bouncy on occasion, but never boisterous, more likely to charm than to challenge they quickly endear themselves to your heart. They easily adapt to nearly all home situations from a single room to a large house, from a room full of children and dogs to a single person’s home. They adjust to other animals extremely well. Provided with great nutrition, a clean environment, lots of toys and generous amounts of love and attention they thrive. This breed is for those who love their gentle, open eyed look, sweet disposition and gentle calm nature.
The Traditional Scottish Fold is a sturdy, hardy cat, true to their barn cat heritage. They lead long, healthy lives, often up to or past age 19. There is an unfounded misconception that they become crippled as they age. This, of coarse, is untrue!
The long hair variety has a surprisingly easy care coat. A good combing once a week will suffice for most. Their hair lacks the downy under coat and doesn’t matt like a Persian’s will.
The Traditional Scottish Fold gene can cause thickening and crippling of the joints, particularly in homozygous “Folds”,(kittens who inherit two fold eared genes). This is called congenital osteodystrophy, a genetic condition that causes crippling distortion and enlargement of the bones. These anomalies are not life threatening, nor is the fold ear gene a lethal one. Careful breeding practices, avoiding “fold” to “Fold” breeding, reduces the problem.
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