You may not have ever heard of the Scottish Fold, but you may have seen it. These cats look as though they don’t have any ears. The cartilage in their ears folds, which pushes their ears forward toward the front of their heads. Some compare the cats’ appearance to that of an owl.
Scottish Fold cats have also been called Coupari, Longhair Fold, Highland Fold and Scottish Fold Longhair. For a long time they didn’t have a real name; they were simply referred to as lop-eared, playing off the lop-eared rabbit. But in 1966 they were finally dubbed Scottish Fold.
This breed’s origins go back just over 50 years, to 1961. The first recorded instance of the rare ear flap was found in a cat named Susie, who resided on a farm in Perthshire, Scotland. She passed the genetic trait to two of her kittens, and William Ross, who purchased one of those kittens, later registered the breed with Great Britain’s Governing Council of the Cat Fancy.
Alas, Susie’s story ends with a very different result than humane rat traps produce for vermin. She was hit by a car and killed just three months after delivering her kittens. Amazingly, every Scottish Fold cat can be traced back to her.
The distinctive ear folds don’t become apparent until a kitten is about three weeks old. Though early Scottish Folds had only one fold in their ears, cats from more recent generations have two or three. The breed has an extremely round face.
Male cats weigh 13 pounds or less, while female cats weigh up to nine pounds. They have short necks and widely spaced eyes. They come in all colors and may have long or short hair.
Temperament and Habits
These cats are well-known for placing themselves in the “Buddha position:” They stretch out their legs and rest their paws on their bellies. It’s pretty adorable.
Some say that Scottish Folds have a more extensive vocabulary than other cats, with more distinctive meows and purrs. (Believe what you will, but some people think their cats converse with them.)
These animals aren’t high-strung like so many cats. Instead, they’re laid-back and very affectionate to their owners. They demonstrate their love by rubbing and kneading them, and they are extremely loyal pets.
The breed is also very intelligent, though admittedly this doesn’t quite explain why Taylor Swift’s Scottish Fold cat has its own Twitter account. Their smarts are one reason why the breed is so adaptable, finding its own peace with its owners whether in the country or city, hot or cold, as an indoor or outdoor cat. They’re rare, but they’re certainly a breed worth finding.