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Brown Scottish Fold Cat: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Brown Scottish fold cats are medium-sized darlings known for their round faces and folded-back ears. They come in various colors, including white, cream, silver, blue, and brown. There are also short, medium, and longhaired variants of the breed. Most have blue, green, or gold eyes, and the breed has an average lifespan of between 9 and 12 years. Scottish Fold cats are friendly and incredibly affectionate, but they have a tendency to pack on extra pounds. Read on for more information about this sweet, adorable breed.

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The Earliest Records of Scottish Fold Cats in History

While the Scottish fold is a relatively new breed, cats with folded ears have been around for centuries. The first recorded mention of a cat with folded ears comes from 1796, and one arrived in England with a sailor returning from China about 100 years later. In 1938, another cat with folded ears was documented in China.

But the modern Scottish fold is a bit different, as most cats trace their ancestry to Suzie, who was a stray cat with folded ears found in Perthshire, Scotland, in 1961. The breed was developed by mixing folded-ear kittens descended from Suzie with British shorthair cats.

The breed made its way to North America when Dr. Neil Todd, a geneticist working in New England, brought three Scottish folds to the United States from Scotland to conduct research into feline genetic mutations. While the cats originated in Scotland, they’re far more popular in the United States, where they’re sought after due to their unique looks and reputation for being mellow, loving pets.

How Scottish Fold Cats Gained Popularity

The first Scottish fold cats date back to the early 1960s when a floppy-eared cat was found on a Scottish farm. That cat, a female named Suzie, soon had a litter of kittens, a few of whom were born with their mother’s tucked-in ears. Those kittens caught the eye of William Ross, who was a neighbor involved in the cat fancy world.

Ross adopted one of the unusual kittens and began a breeding program. The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) recognized the breed in 1966, primarily due to Ross’ lobbying. But the organization rescinded recognition from the breed just a few years later, in 1971, due to ethics concerns.

The breed took off again in the 1970s when three Scottish folds made the journey from Scotland to the United States to be used as part of scientific research into genetics. The research hit a dead end, and the cats were adopted by families and breeders. The Scottish fold has only increased in popularity over time. In 2021 it was the 9th most popular breed in the United States, according to data published by the Cat Fancy Association (CFA).

chocolated marble shorthair adult cat Scottish fold
Image Credit: OksanaSusoeva, Shutterstock

Formal Recognition of Scottish Fold Cats

Scottish folds earned provisional CFA recognition in 1977, and the organization promoted the breed to championship status in 1978. One year later, in 1979, Jensen Minnie Pearl, a stunning Scottish fold, was crowned Grand Champion by the CFA. Jensen Minnie Pearl was also later named CFA Best of Breed. The International Cat Association (TICA), the world’s most extensive pedigree cat registry, has also accepted the breed.

Both registries have also recognized the longhaired variant of the breed. Longhaired Scottish folds are often referred to as Highland folds, Scottish longhair folds, or Scottish longhairs. Longhaired Scottish folds began earning acceptance in cat fancy organizations during the 1980s.

European cat fancy organizations have largely rejected the breed due to concerns about the high rate of diseases, such as osteoarthritis and osteochondrodysplasia, linked to the tucked-ear gene. Other concerns include the hearing and ear problems often seen in these cats.

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Top 3 Unique Facts About Scottish Fold Cats

Scottish fold cats are the real deal; they’re loyal, mellow, and super-cute. Read on for three fun facts about this sweet breed.

1. They Frequently Have Incredibly Sensitive Tails

The genetic mutation related to tucked ears also impacts the cat’s skeletal and bone development. Scottish fold cats have super sensitive tails, which, when handled without care, can cause Scottish fold cats significant pain.

The degree of inflexibility varies, with some cats being greatly affected and the condition simply not impacting others at all. While these cats don’t need to be handled with kid gloves, keep a lookout for signs of discomfort when picking up and handling these animals to avoid causing intentional pain.

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2. They’re Born With Straight Ears

All Scottish fold cats are born with straight ears, and not every kitten in a Scottish fold litter has the tucked ear trait. The curls in these cats’ ears develop when they’re around 18 – 21 days old. Until then, there’s no way to tell which kittens have the trait and will develop those coveted snipped ears and which will end up with straight ears.

Scottish fold cats often have more hearing issues than other kitties, with a tendency towards congenital deafness. Because of those adorable ears, the cats are prone to developing ear wax build-ups, creating the ideal environment for ear mites.

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3. Taylor Swift Has Two Scottish Fold Kitties

Scottish fold cats aren’t just adorable; they’re incredibly popular as well. Not only are these kitties the 9th most popular breed in the United States, but Taylor Swift has two Scottish folds, Olivia Benson and Meridith Grey, both of which regularly appear on the megastar’s Instagram feed. She also has a third cat, Benjamin Button, but he’s a Ragdoll.

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Do Brown Scottish Folds Make a Good Pet?

Absolutely. These cats make wonderful pets and are suitable for most living situations and environments. Not only are these cats adorable, but they’re also incredibly loving and friendly. They don’t have special dietary requirements, but the medium and longhaired variants need to be brushed at least two times per week.

Regarding energy levels, Scottish fold cats are a bit more active than lap cats but don’t have high activity needs. They’re often perfectly happy in smaller spaces like apartments. The breed often suffers from joint conditions, such as osteoarthritis and osteochondrodysplasia, which are related to the gene that gives the cats those adorable ears.

Cats suffering from these conditions often require extensive medical care, as neither disease is curable, and both tend to become progressively worse. Veterinarians often prescribe pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications to manage the conditions.

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Conclusion

Scottish fold cats are easy to recognize—look for those distinctive folded ears. These gentle cats are known for their laid-back personalities and the deep attachments they form with their human companions. However, the breed’s folded ears are linked to painful joint conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteochondrodysplasia, which can cause significant pain and seriously restrict feline mobility.

These sweet, loving cats need exercise, but they’re not too active, nor do they typically engage in high-strung attention-seeking behavior. The Scottish fold was the 9th most popular breed in the United States in 2021.

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Featured Image Credit: Artem Kursin, Shutterstock

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