If you love Scottish fold cats, I’m going to tell you something you don’t want to hear. Please, please read on anyway. If you are considering adopting a Scottish fold, PLEASE continue reading. This information needs to be more widely known.
In 2008, the Journal of Small Animal practice released a short report on disorders associated with breeds of cats. In this report, the authors mentioned the Scottish fold:
People who own them may be “charmed” by their round faces and open expression (and they may not realise that the reason the cats do not move around too much is because they are variably crippled with arthritis).1
The gene that causes the cute fold in the Scottish fold’s ear also leads to the development of a degenerative disorder called osteochondrodysplasia. ALL Scottish folds have this disorder, whether they show symptoms or not- the fold in their ears is caused by a cartilage deformity that also affects their joints.
Osteochondrodysplasia leads to crippling osteoarthritis, which affects Scottish folds at much younger ages than other breeds of cats. In cats heterozygous for the gene, the disease’s progression can be seen in cats as young as six months. In homozygous cats, it can be seen as early as seven weeks old.
Affected cats may be grossly deformed, with short wide limbs and a short, inflexible tail. They show lameness, swollen wrist (carpal) and ankle (tarsal) joints, have an abnormal gait, and are reluctant to move and jump. Severely affected individuals become crippled and unable to walk.
…Many affected cats are euthanased earlier in life due to the profound effects of this disease.2
The breed is often described as “placid” and “calm.” This is due to the fact that they are constantly in pain due to this disorder. Even in mild, ‘asymptomatic’ cases which can occur in heterozygous cats, they may still be experiencing pain due to cats’ tendency to hide their suffering.
Many breeders of Scottish folds claim that not all heterozygous cats have the disorder, because the studies that examined the cats (which were all, heterozygous or not, shown to have it) had small sample sizes.
In 2003, Lorraine Shelton, a specialist in genetic diseases, offered to pay for 300 x-rays of healthy adult Scottish folds to prove that the disorder was not present in some heterozygous cats.
…She has asked a list of 300 Scottish Fold breeders from around the world to go to their vet to get X-rays done. She had offered to pay for these X-rays but not a single breeder had taken up that offer. You could not know whether this problem existed unless an X-ray was taken. If somebody would send her an X-ray of a healthy hind leg of a folded eared cat, she would be grateful as she wanted to see the very first one.3
To date, no one has taken her up on the offer. The breeders’ unwillingness to have their cats examined speaks volumes. The authors of all studies on these cats agree: it ethically wrong to continue breeding these cats.
It disturbs me that any breeder would knowingly continue to create animals that will be in pain throughout their lives. As a cat lover myself, I am begging you, please do not buy Scottish folds. Do not support these unethical breeding practices, or the concept that it is acceptable to intentionally breed unhealthy animals for the sake of how they look.
1 Breed-related disorders of cats (discusses issues with other breeds as well)
2 Genetic welfare problems of companion animals: osteochondrodysplasia (a thorough description of the disease and its prevalence)
3 FIFe meeting notes (leading to a decision not to recognize Scottish folds as an offical breed due to the disorder)
There was also a follow-up email about Shelton’s offer which can be read here.
Studies on osteochondrodysplasia in Scottish Folds
Incomplete dominant osteochondrodysplasia in heterozygous Scottish Fold cats (this is the source of the above x-ray pictures)
Before you buy ANY animal, please do your research. If a breed suffers from high incidences of genetic disorders, don’t use your money to support the creation of more animal suffering.
This is important enough to be posted to my main blog. I know I reblogged this months and months ago, but not enough people know about this.
There is absolutely no way to “cure” the Scottish folds of this. The gene that causes the ear to look so cute and floppy is because of the cartilage not forming properly, which is what causes the health problems — even in cats that are bred Fold x Non Fold.
What’s fucking worse is that they’re cross breeding Scottish folds with other cats. As soon as I saw them crossed with Sphynxes (anyone who follows me is probably aware of the three Sphynxes we have and how much I love them), my heart sank. This is called a “Skinderlop”
Breeding is supposed to be about breeding healthy cats/animals free of defects, and about examining mutations to see what the health risks are, if there are any. It is not supposed to be about creating more cats who are doomed to horrible health problems from birth. That is so cruel it’s unbelievable - and people still defend this breed’s continued existence…
If you know anyone who is looking into getting a kitten from a breeder, PLEASE let them know about the health problems associated with Scottish folds and cross breeds so that they don’t continue to support this sort of thing. It is needlessly cruel.
“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.”- Robin Williams (1951 - 2014)
It’s all a matter of perspective
friendly reminder that if i have ever befriended you and have not spoken to you in a while it’s nothing you’ve done wrong it’s just because i’m a piece of shit at keeping in contact with people and i still love you okay good
Thinking about cats a lot lately…
Why is it that people are willing to spend $20 on a bowl of pasta with sauce that they might actually be able to replicate pretty faithfully at home, yet they balk at the notion of a white-table cloth Thai restaurant, or a tacos that cost more than $3 each? Even in a city as “cosmopolitan” as New York, restaurant openings like Tamarind Tribeca (Indian) and Lotus of Siam (Thai) always seem to elicit this knee-jerk reaction from some diners who have decided that certain countries produce food that belongs in the “cheap eats” category—and it’s not allowed out. (Side note: How often do magazine lists of “cheap eats” double as rundowns of outer-borough ethnic foods?)
Yelp, Chowhound, and other restaurant sites are littered with comments like, “$5 for dumplings?? I’ll go to Flushing, thanks!” or “When I was backpacking in India this dish cost like five cents, only an idiot would pay that much!” Yet you never see complaints about the prices at Western restaurants framed in these terms, because it’s ingrained in people’s heads that these foods are somehow “worth” more. If we’re talking foie gras or chateaubriand, fair enough. But be real: You know damn well that rigatoni sorrentino is no more expensive to produce than a plate of duck laab, so to decry a pricey version as a ripoff is disingenuous. This question of perceived value is becoming increasingly troublesome as more non-native (read: white) chefs take on “ethnic” cuisines, and suddenly it’s okay to charge $14 for shu mai because hey, the chef is ELEVATING the cuisine.
|—||One of the entries from the list ‘20 Things Everyone Thinks About the Food World (But Nobody Will Say)’. (via crankyskirt)|