History of the Breed
The Scottish Fold is a unique breed of cat with ears that fold forward, creating an "owl-like" appearance. The original Scottish Fold was a white barn cat from Scotland named Susie. When Susie had kittens, two of them were born with folded ears. A local farmer, William Ross, took a liking to these cats, and with the help of geneticist Pat Turner, the pair learned that the fold is caused by a dominant gene that affects the ear cartilage, and they were able to breed for this characteristic.
As time went on, however, it was determined that if cats had 2 of these dominant genes (homozygous for folds), those cats were at risk for developing osteochondrodysplasia, a condition that causes a malformation of the bones.
To prevent the risk of developing osteochondrodysplasia, ethical Scottish Fold breeders will only breed a Fold to a Non-Fold cat.
Because of their unique appearance and reputation as unusually loving companions, Scottish Folds are sought after pets, and Fold kittens typically cost considerably. Famous Scottish Fold cats include Taylor Swift's cat "Meredith", and "Maru", a Scottish Fold who became an internet sensation due to his obsession with boxes. ("Meredith" is a Folded Scottish fold, and "Maru" appears to be a Non-Fold Scottish Fold).
Preventative Care Recommendations
Know your breeder before you purchase a Scottish Fold Cat. Meet the parents to ensure that only a Fold/Non-Fold pairing has occured. Fold/Fold breeding is considered unethical due to the crippling osteochondrodysplasia it can produce.
A yearly physical exam and thoughtful auscultation of the heart is important. Although cardiomyopathies in cats do not always present with an irregular heartbeat or heart murmur, if one of these two abnormalities is found, an ultrasound of the heart (echocardiogram) would be warranted. In patients where a known history of heart disease was present in the breeding stock, an echocardiogram without a heart murmur or arrthymia may be prudent.
Yearly blood and urine screening tests for kidney disease as a young adult is recommended. Early if cats show signs of drinking or urinating more frequently.