Hello! I've noticed the current hot cat of internet is the Scottish fold. They are certainly handsome little things and the ones I've come across seem to be consistently curious and intelligent (&adored by their people, which could of course be a factor). I've been looking into getting a companion for my own hellion. Do you do breed overviews on cats? I'd love to see your thoughts on them. Tax: came for Lucifer, stayed for more excellent anecdotes and you being all around excellent. Thank you ;)
I can talk about certain cat breeds. Cats have not been bred into quite the same variety of forms as dogs have been, but there are a few interesting bits that have been propagated for human amusement.
As usual, please note the disclaimer. These
posts are about the breed from a veterinary viewpoint as seen
in clinical practice, i.e. the problems we are faced with. It’s not
the be-all and end-all of the breed and is not to make a judgement
about whether the breed is right for you. If you are asking for an
opinion about these animals in a veterinary setting, that is what you
will get. It’s not going to be all sunshine and cupcakes, and is
not intended as a personal insult against your favorite breed. This
is general advice for what is common, often with a scientific
consensus but sometimes based on personal experiences, and is not a
guarantee of what your animal is going to encounter in their life.
They’re cute ears, right?
The ‘fold’ characteristic of the breed occurs because of a single gene mutation affecting cartilage. The ears are the most obvious external sign, but the mutation also affects cartilage everywhere else in the body, which results in
and multiple painful joint problems.
All Scottish folds will have this to some degree, if they have folded ears. This gene is autosomal dominant, which means that only one copy is required to fold the ears. Cats that are homozygous for this mutation would be expected to have worse symptoms than cats that are heterozygous.
This is such a significant problem, and brings the ethics of breeding these cats with folded ears into question, that registration for the breed was delayed due to negative welfare impacts on the cat. It’s worth noting though that a Scottish fold without the fold mutation is still a Scottish fold, and will have the same personality as one, just minus this one genetic feature/issue.
This breed also has a higher incidence of polycystic kidney disease, where random cysts of fluid occur in the kidneys, leading to early kidney failure, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle which will result in heart failure, but there are genetic screening tests available for these conditions which should be used in breeding colonies.
I wonder if the general public would accept Scottish Folds without the fold, or whether we are just enamored with those ears and not the rest of the cat.