Scottish breed history facts

Our cat Shaya with her kitten.

— Susie, the original Scottish Fold Cat, was found at a farm near Coupar Angus in Perthshire, Scotland. Susie’s ears had an unusual fold in their middle, making her look like an owl. There was another folded ear male in Susie’s litter, but he had disappeared. When Susie had kittens, two of them were born with folded ears, and one was acquired by William Ross, a neighboring farmer, and cat-fancier. Susie’s only reproducing offspring was a female Fold named Snooks who was also white; a second kitten was neutered shortly after birth. Three months after Snooks' birth, Susie was killed by a car. All Scottish Fold cats share a common ancestry to Susie.

— William Ross and his wife Mary, also cat-fancier, were given a folded-ear white female they named “Snooks,” who was bred with an unknown red tabby male. Her first litter produced one male kitten, “Snowball,” who was bred to a white British Shorthair, “Lady May,” and their litter produced five Fd kittens. Thus begins the lineage of the Folds.

— William Ross registered the breed with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) in the United Kingdom and started to breed Scottish Fold kittens with the help of geneticist Pat Turner. The breeding program produced 76 kittens in the first three years — 42 with folded ears and 34 with straight ears. The conclusion from this was that the ear mutation is due to a simple dominant gene.

— Dr. Neil Todd, a New England geneticist, brought three Scottish Folds to The Carnivore Genetics Research Center in Newtownville, MA: Denisla Judy, Denisla Joey, and Denisla Hester (three of Snooks’s daughters). Dr. Todd was assembling a colony of cats for “scientific inspection of mutations,” and these cats were never intended for the cat fancy. Under his care Joey and Judy produced two litters. When Dr. Todd discontinued the Fold research project shortly thereafter, the cats went to various homes.

— Salle Wolf Peters, a well-known Manx breeder, acquired Hester from Lynn Lamoreux, a doctoral student of Dr. Todd’s. Thus, the first Scottish Fold breeder started her long involvement with the Folds.

— Scottish Folds registration and acceptance for Shows was closed due to concerns about possible increase in ear mite infestation and deafness (both concerns later proved to be unfounded), the GCCF also became concerned about possible genetic difficulties. With this growing concern, the GCCF decided to ban further registration of Scottish Folds in England. The last Fold to be registered there was Denisla Morag.

— One of Salle Wolf Peters’ kittens went to an English couple in Utah where the female Scottish Fold Martina Shona was first shown. At that CFA show, Briony Sivewright (owner of Martina Shona) met Ann Kimball and Karen Votava. Martina Shona eventually made her way to Salle and produced more lovely Scottish Folds. Karen Votava acquired Mr. Morgan LeFaye, a handsome cameo tabby male who, with Doonie Lugs, became the foundation stock for Bryric Cattery. Bryric is one of the earliest catteries of any Fold pedigree, and until recently was still producing wonderful cats.

— Bobbie Graham (Bobette cattery), Salle Wolf Peters (Wyola cattery), Karen Votava (Bryric cattery) and others set about meeting the requirements for what was then called “experimental registration”. These requirements were met after many questionnaires were completed by veterinarians and scientists studying Folds. Careful records were kept and reported on each cat and litter of kittens.

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