“Owl-like” Scottish Folded Ear Cats have always been well known for their unbelievably cute round head and large eyes. American celebrity Taylor Swift is also a huge fan of Scottish Folds. But did you know that these adorable Folded Ear Cats not only have sore joints but also risk paralysis because of a disease called cartilage dysplasia?
What kind of disease is it?
It is not an ear problem; they can hear you! It is known as chondrodysplasia, a degenerative limb-disabling joint disease. It can lead to painful joints that are unable to sustain gravity, causing a reluctance in cats to jump and walk. What a torment for a cat who is naturally skilled at hunting and jumping high to be unable to jump and move at will!
Folded Ear Cats are born with standing pointy ears, while the folded genes start to gradually show only after they are 3 weeks old. In other words, the folded ear gene can be fully dominant or partially dominant, and the degree of chondrodysplasia is determined by the folded ear gene's degree. You might feel a bit confused right now, so let us give you an example. Let’s say that the dominant folded-ear gene is A, and the normal standing ear is a. When the cat's gene is AA, the degree of ear folding will be obvious, and the cartilage defect more severe and will appear earlier. When the cat's genes are aa, it is no different from a normal standing ear cat and will not have any cartilage defects.
How did “The Fold” become a breed?
The Scottish Fold was initially found in Scotland and has subsequently been bred in several nations, resulting in several different "breeds", collectively known as Folded Ears. They can all be traced to one specific cat named Susie, a Scottish barn cat with folded ears. A neighboring cat enthusiast had decided to start breeding Susie with the assistance of a geneticist at that moment, resulting in Scottish Fold Ear Cats slowly becoming a popular breed.
The Fold was first recognized as a breed in the United Kingdom in 1966, but after a major cartilage defect was discovered, it was deregistered in 1974 for humane concerns. In other words, the Folded Ear was no longer recognized as a pure breed in Europe, including the United Kingdom, but like a cat with a mutant condition.
The Folded Ear cats suffer from joint pain all their life in silence.
Even though unscrupulous breeders are aware of that, they continue to produce enormous numbers to fulfill market demand. Even if they are cute, due to massive overbreeding, we should exercise sensibility in refusing to buy them. There is no cure yet for our furry friends (only painkillers to ease the pain) so if we do have one, we should remain mindful of their condition and do everything in our grasp to help them out!