Categories: Scottish Fold

Feline Cuteness Can Come At A Hidden Price

Scottish Fold. Screenshot from video.

For me, and I do have a particular taste embedded in reality and welfare, this video is not helpful to the human/cat relationship. It looks mildly interesting because it looks strange. The cat is a Scottish Fold and the moving image is slightly underexposed so we can’t see detail in the black fur. We are left with two eyes peering inquisitively out from a black background. Scottish Folds are not the world’s healthiest domestic cat and there is an argument that they should not be bred. Years ago I wrote on the Scottish Fold page of this website, “However, this mutated gene is not only associated with the folded ears but a thickening tail and swollen (thickened) feet. The thickened tail results in less flexibility…If the cat has both the mutated genes then the kitten will die in the womb”. The cat can develop osteoarthritis at an earlier age.

In 2017 the BBC reported, “The British Veterinary Association has warned breeding of Scottish fold cats should stop because of health fears.”

So you can see that behind the amusing little video there is some sadness and questionable ethics about the breeding of this cat breed. Taylor Swift who has one of these cats probably does not realise this. I don’t see why people can’t be satisfied with the normal feline appearance which is beautiful and designed by nature to be wonderfully effective in survival. The ears are flat in the Scottish Fold because the gene mutation affects the cartilage in the ear flap. This affects cartilage in other parts of the body including the feet and tail as mentioned.

A cat’s ear flaps (pinnae) serve a purpose; to capture sound and to signal mood as part of feline body language. And if the ears are constantly flat there may be a need to inspect them for health. As the ear canal is closed off by the ear flap there may be a susceptibility to health issues in the ear canal.

The desire of breeders is to create a cute cat. The modern Persian is similar with the rounded skull, small ears and flat face. These are human baby-like cats designed to appeal to women. I hope that does not sound sexist. In both these cat breeds the cuteness factor comes at a price: poorer health. Is that ethical? I can’t be can it? We tend to put this difficult issue to the back of our minds unless you are someone like me.

The difficulty is, though, that almost no one is interested. The video will get more hits than this page which presents the video and discusses the real issues behind it.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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