The most noticeable feature of a Scottish Fold is its ears, which are small and tightly folded forward to cover the ear opening. The tips of the ears are rounded. The coat of the Scottish Fold is short and dense. It comes in a variety of colours and patterns. Folds are said not to be an active breed, and this may be because of pain involved in movement (see below).
Health and welfare of cats with folded or curled ears
There are several breeds of cat with ears that do not stand up in the normal way – some folding downwards and some curling backwards. The most well known is the Scottish Fold cat where the Scottish Fold gene mutation detrimentally affects cartilage, most obviously seen making the ear cartilage fold (click here for more information). However, the cartilage defect affects their joints as well as the ear cartilage and folds can suffer from severe and painful degenerative joint disease throughout their lives. As the disease progresses the joints stiffen, bones fuse and movement becomes more difficult and extremely painful. Folded or curled ears can also make it difficult for the cat to clean its ears, so owners may need to remove any wax or dirt accumulation from the ear to help prevent discomfort and infection.
Unfortunately these breeds are now being crossed with other breeds with different genetic mutations with very little concern for the cat.
International Cat Care comment:
Our position on breeding cats is that first no harm should be done. We know that these cats can have severe joint problems because of the genetic defect needed to get the folded ear look; we should not breed these cats.
We have limited the information about inherited disorders to those conditions that are known and proven to exist within a breed. For many breeders and many conditions, insufficient information may be available at this time to know whether any particular breed is necessarily free of any particular condition.
In general, pedigree breeds use a much smaller gene pool for breeding than domestic cats and therefore have a higher risk of developing inherited disorders. In addition, a number of 'newer' pedigree breeds are derived from matings between one or more 'older' breeds, and in these situations perpetuation of inherited problems that were seen in older breeds is likely within the newer breeds.
image supplied by Animal Photography