In 1961 a shepherd by the name of William Ross spotted the first known Scottish Fold cat at a farm near Coupar Angus in the Tayside Region of Scotland, Northwest of Dundee. Ross asked the owners if he could have one of the kittens, and proceeded to develop the breed from the original, Susie, a white barn cat. The unique thing about this cat was that her ears folded forward and downward on her head. The resulting look gave the impression of a "pixie", "owl", or "teddy bear" that has captured the hearts of many American cat fanciers and judges. The Scottish Fold was granted championship status by The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) in 1978.
Scottish Folds come in few types: folded ear and straight (normal) ear as well as in longhair and shorthair coat varieties. The folded ear is produced by an incomplete dominant gene and is the result of a spontaneous mutation.
Over the last two decades the Scottish Fold has developed a look all in its own...even though allowed outcrosses include American Shorthairs and British Shorthairs. The Fold does not necessarily resemble the American Shorthair's hard, powerful "working cat" body and squared-off muzzle. Nor does it look like the British Shorthair's massive, compact body, short legs, and flat planed top-head. The Fold, instead, is a medium cat with a rounded, well-padded body and a short, dense, and resilient coat. It has large, round, broadly spaced eyes full of sweetness; well-rounded whisker pads and a short nose with a gentle curve in profile.
Scottish Fold kittens are born with straight ears. At about three to four weeks of age, their ears fold...or they don't! It is usually around eleven to twelve weeks of age that the breeder can determine the quality (pet, breeder, or show). Presently only folded ear cats of Scottish lineage are permitted in the show ring, and naturally, every breeder wants to produce show cats. The straight ear progeny of Scottish Folds, nevertheless, are invaluable to the breeding program.
Due to the rarity of the Fold, and due to the fact that not every kitten born has folded ears, it is very hard for the supply to keep up with the demand.
Scottish Folds are hardy cats, much like their barnyard ancestors. Their disposition matches their sweet expressions. They have tiny voices and are not extremely vocal. They adore human companionship and display this in their own quiet way. Scottish Fold adapt to almost any home situation and are as comfortable in a room full of noisy children and dogs as they are in a single person's dwelling. They don't panic at shows or in strange hotel rooms, and they adjust to other animals extremely well. Scottish Folds come in any and all colors possible with the exception of those showing evidence of hybridization resulting in the colors chocolate, lavender, the Himalayan pattern or a combination of these and white.
A dominant gene is responsible for the folded ear mutation. If the gene is passed on by one of the parents, it is enough to produce a folded ear kitten. If both parents contribute the Folded gene, the kitten will most likely suffer from congenital osteodystrophy. This genetic condition can cause deformities such as fused tail vertebrae, splayed toes and thickened legs. Responsible breeders never breed two folded ear cats together. The two allowable outcrosses are British Shorthair and American Shorthair. The straight ear Folds are of great value to the Scottish Fold breeding programs also. Healthy Scottish Folds have no special grooming or health problems. They aren't prone to ear mites or ear infections, as once suspected many years ago.