Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the Holiday 2015 issue of Catster print magazine. Click here to subscribe to Catster magazine.
“Everybody adores a Scottish Fold.” That’s how one Catster writer opened a photo tribute to three Scottish Folds who’d developed social media followings in 2014. A follow-up question might be, “How could a Scottish Fold not gain a social media following?” These round-faced, big-eyed, stuffed animals of cats could melt the hardest heart on the planet. Here are 11 reasons why we love this breed.
Actually, you’re looking at a cat, but you’re on the right track. Dubbed an “owl in a cat suit” by breeders, the Scottish Fold has earned a reputation as one adorable specimen given her perma-Cheshire Cat grin; soulful, oversized eyes; and folded ears.
Sometimes they fold, sometimes they don’t — it’s a 50-50 chance that breeders take with each litter, and it depends on whether one parent possesses the folded-ear gene.
Believe it or not, all Scottish Folds are born with straight ears. It’s not until they are three or four weeks of age before their ears fold downward — and sometimes, they simply don’t. For show purposes, however, only cats sporting folded ears can hit the ring.
Nope! While folded ears look different, they are quite similar to standard straight ears, the main difference being that they require biweekly cleaning, as wax tends to build up quickly.
The first Scottish Fold was discovered by shepherd William Ross on a neighbor’s farm in the Tayside Region of Scotland in 1961. He began asking about the cat’s heritage, only to learn that the feline, called Susie, was born to a mother with straight ears and a father of unknown heritage.
Falling hard for the unusual look, William and his wife, Mary, quickly adopted one of Susie’s offspring, a fold-ear called Snooks. They became invested in creating their own breed, which they referred to as ‘lop-eared’ like the rabbit. Breeding Snooks to British Shorthairs and local farm cats, William was able to solidify the foundation of Scottish Folds in feline society — earning Cat Fanciers’ Association registration in 1973 and Grand Championship status in 1978. The International Cat Association accepted the breed when the organization was chartered in 1979. TICA also accepts the Scottish Straight in its own class.
Scottish Folds are known to stand up prairie dog style when they hear something that piques their interest. You also can catch them in a sitting position called “the Buddha sit” with their legs stretched out and paws on their belly.
The Scottish Fold is exceptionally devoted and loyal, tending to form a strong bond with one person in the household. That’s not to say they won’t cuddle with anyone who throws a kiss their way, but they do play favorites.
What shape do you see repeatedly when you look at the Scottish Fold? If you answered circle, you’re right. Scottish Folds are known to feature a very round, roly-poly aesthetic. Face, eyes, whisker pads, body — it’s all circular here.
If you loved the Buddha sit, you’ll dig some of the other cute and quirky Scottish Fold traits. Our favorite? Many eat their food with their paws!
Scottish Folds are well-known for their laid-back personality. They love kids (even noisy ones), dogs, and other cats; have zero issues about traveling; and will totally act as hostess for your next dinner party. Just don’t be alarmed if they flop down onto their back and hit the snooze button — it’s completely normal for them to sleep this way.
Much like their looks, the Scottish Fold’s demeanor can be described in one simple way: soft and sweet. They’re known for being mild-mannered, soft-spoken, intelligent, adaptable, and sweet-tempered.
It’s totally possible with this adaptable breed. The Scottish Fold can be trained to play fetch and easily learn how to open cabinet doors — so lock up anything you don’t want them to find.
Taylor Swift is enamored with the breed. She owns two: Their names are Olivia Benson and Meredith Grey.
If you follow her on instagram @taylorswift, you’ve probably seen her post truckloads of photos of them.
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About the author: Writer and blogger Erika Sorocco has written about small mammals and cats for 10 years. A former freelance music writerfor The Californian newspaper, Erika currently fuses her love for felines and fashion together in the blog Cat Eyes & Skinny Jeans, where she waxes poetic about her favorite makeup look (cat eyes, of course) and love for cozy knit sweaters (which she unwillingly shares with her cats Minky and Gypsy). Follow Erika on Twitter at @cateyesskinnies.