Categories: Scottish Fold

Scottish Fold de-registered in the UK half a century ago but popular in America and Japan

The Scottish is not registered with the premier cat association in the UK but is accepted and registered in America by their two best-known cat associations, namely The International Cat Association and the Cat Fanciers’ Association.

Scottish Fold Mackenzie. Photo: copyright Helmi Flick

The Scottish Fold hails from Scotland as the name suggests (on a farm in 1961). It’s a popular breed in America and Japan because of their cute, rounded face which looks somewhat like an owl or perhaps a baby. The problem with this breed is that the genetic defect which causes the ears to lie close to the head affects cartilage and it not only affects the cartilage of the ear but can also affect other parts of the body which can lead to severe ill-health.

Because of this major health issue the leading cat Association in the UK, the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, de-registered the breed back in 1971 not long after they accepted the breed in 1966.

It would appear that Japanese and American customers attracted to this cat breed put to one side this potential health issue. Of course, good breeders do all they can to minimise these health issues which include a thickening tail and swollen feet.

However, on an ethical level, it is unwise to breed cats carrying a defective gene which can cause ill-health if breeding is not carried out with extreme care. What I mean is that breeders cannot breed Scottish Fold to Scottish Fold. They have to Breed Scottish Fold to American and British Shorthair cats (non-folds) to avoid either kittens dying in the womb or anatomical defects. It depends on how ethical and clued up the breeder is.

Not only does the leading UK cat Association reject this breed, it is also rejected by the cat associations on mainland Europe.

The celebrity cat, Maru, may be a reason why this breed is popular in Japan. Videos of Maru have attracted 300 million views on YouTube. However, it has to be said that Maru is healthy and he’s healthy because he’s not your typical Scottish Fold because his ears are not flat to his head. He looks like a chubby moggie. In the eyes of breeders he is a defective Scottish Fold and let’s be thankful for it.

Taylor Swift promoted the breed in America. She’s been seen carrying around her cat on her arm coming out of hotels as if she is carrying a handbag, which I find a bizarre to be honest. It is possible that she and other Americans are unaware of the health problems associated with this cat breed. It’s described as a novelty cat along with the Persian which also has a rounded head, small ears, big eyes and the flat face. This cat, too, as many people now know, has inherited health deficiencies but remains perhaps the most popular cat breed in the world. I am sure that this would not be the case if people were more aware of the inherent health issues.

As long as customers are attracted to such breeds there will obviously be breeders who create the cats which perpetuates unethical behaviour amongst breeders. And I don’t want to be too tough on breeders but this is one of the purebred cats which is a mistake and which should never have been created if we are totally honest. Attitudes have changed since the mid-1900s. Back in those days of the creation of new cat breeds there was less concern about inherited health issues.

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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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