The Scottish Fold cat is recognized for its owl-like appearance.
The Scottish Fold’s unique appearance is the result of a genetic mutation that prevents its ears from standing up.
The original, and somewhat more descriptive, name for this type of cat breed was lops or lop-eared when it first appeared in Scotland in 1961.
The kittens are actually born with normal-looking ears, and the distinctive folding only develops after 10-12 weeks.
These cats are sturdy and mild-mannered, with meek voices and a high tolerance for noise and disturbances that send other cats running.
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These cats are very popular, so breeders must work hard to keep up with demand.
This is why it’s important for prospective pet parents to make sure that no corners are cut in the breeding and screening of the kittens.
Scottish Folds are usually fairly healthy, with an average lifespan of 15 or so years.
Nevertheless, there are a number of health concerns to watch for:
- Congenital osteodystrophy: this inherited condition involves excessive growth of cartilage around the bones of the tail and rear legs; remember that the Scottish Fold’s distinctive look is a result of an abnormality in cartilage. Usually, the condition can be detected in kittens. Afflicted cats may be treated with steroids and pain medicine to help restore normal movement, though in some cases the quality of life can be so low as to call for euthanasia.
- Feline cardiomyopathy: all cats are at risk for cardiomyopathy, which is a term that encompasses four related conditions in which the muscles of the heart become weakened or fail to function properly. Left untreated, cardiomyopathy often leads to heart failure and death. The condition is diagnosed based on a vet examination for heart murmurs and other cardiac abnormalities. Treatment usually involves the administration of drugs that help to restore the heart’s normal rhythm.
- Polycystic kidney disease: this congenital disorder, which affects as much as 16% of some breeds, causes cysts to form in one or both kidneys and normally doesn’t manifest itself until a cat is seven to ten years old. The condition is progressive and irreversible, though surgery may in some cases help to relieve the cat’s discomfort.
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Artemis had a severe ear infection and needed to visit both the regular vet and a specialist, multiple times. After medication and a few follow-up visits, she recovered well and is now doing great!
The Scottish Fold is a very special cat, but it comes with the potential for special problems.
Given how expensive these cats are, and how much they become a part of the family, it only makes sense to be ready to pay for full diagnosis and treatment in case problems occur.
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