10 Facts About Scottish Fold Cats

iStock
iStock

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, bagpipes, and some of the world’s finest whiskies all hail from Scotland—but the country’s most lovable export might be the Scottish Fold Cat. (Sorry, Scottish Terriers.) Learn more about the floppy-eared feline, whose popularity has grown so much across the Pond that the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) named it America’s 10th most beloved breed [PDF] in 2014.

1. THEIR FOLDED EARS ARE CAUSED BY A GENETIC MUTATION …

Apart from its large, wide-spaced eyes and round body, a Scottish Fold’s most distinguishing feature is its ears. They bend forward and “fold” closely over the cat’s head—a characteristic that often prompts people to compare the kitty’s appearance to an owl or a teddy bear.

This trait is caused by an incomplete dominant gene that resulted from a spontaneous mutation. It affects the cartilage in the kitty’s body; while the Scottish Fold’s ears are the most visible sign of this abnormality, the rest of its body is also impacted.

2. ... THAT SOMETIMES CAUSES HEALTH PROBLEMS.

Scottish Folds suffer from varying degrees of osteochondrodysplasia, a painful condition that's characterized by defective bone development and bone and cartilage abnormalities. In severe cases, it can lead to arthritis; fusing of the tail, ankles, and knees; lameness; misshapen limbs; and an abnormal posture and walk. To avoid potential deformities, breeders out-cross Scottish Folds with straight-eared cats, like British or American Shorthairs.

3. SCOTTISH FOLDS ARE BORN WITH STRAIGHT EARS.

Scottish Folds are born with normal, pointy ears. They don’t develop their trademark look until they’re around 2 to 4 weeks old and the ears begin to fold. A cat's ears might also stay straight; these kitties are sometimes called Scottish Shorthairs. However, the CFA and other cat fanciers’ associations only allow cats with complete ear folds to compete in shows.

The Scottish Folds’ ears once weren’t as dramatically creased as they are now. Their ears folded from about halfway up, tilting forward and down. Decades of selective breeding are responsible for the double or triple ear folds of modern Scottish Folds, which cause their ears to lie completely flat.

4. THE SCOTTISH FOLD BREED BEGAN WITH A BARN CAT NAMED SUSIE.

In 1961, a white barn cat named Susie with quirky folded ears was found at a farm in Perthshire, Scotland. She later gave birth to two kittens that shared the same trait. William Ross, a local farmer and cat lover, adopted one of the unique kitties, and in 1966, he registered the new breed with Great Britain’s Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF). Ross and geneticist Pat Turner began breeding the Scottish Fold, and three years later they had produced 76 kittens, 42 with folded ears and 34 with straight ears. Over the years, the cats were cross-bred with British Shorthairs and other cats to produce the sweet, round-faced kitty we know and love. Today, all Scottish Fold cats can trace their lineage back to Susie.

5. SCOTTISH FOLDS ONCE HAD A DIFFERENT NAME.

Since they look a bit like lop-eared rabbits, Scottish Folds were called “Lop-eared” or “Lops” until the breed was registered and its official name became the Scottish Fold.

6. SCOTTISH FOLDS COME IN MANY PATTERNS AND COLORS.

You’ll find the short-haired, medium-sized Scottish Fold in every color and pattern, ranging from black, blue, and red to tabby and shaded silver [PDF] .(Cats with chocolate, lavender, or Seal Point coloring are disqualified by the CFA, as they indicate hybridization.) A Scottish Fold’s eyes can be any shade, although they’re typically copper. You’ll also occasionally see longhaired Scottish Folds, which some associations call the Highland Fold.

7. SCOTTISH FOLDS AREN'T POPULAR IN EUROPE ...

The GCCF—the U.K.’s largest registration body for cats—originally accepted Scottish Folds for show in 1966. However, by 1971 the organization had stopped letting pet owners register the kitties because they were worried about physical deformities, ear mites and infection, and deafness. These concerns ended up being unfounded, but to this day the cat still isn’t shown in Europe.

8. ...BUT THEY'RE BELOVED IN AMERICA.

In 1970, the Scottish Fold crossed the pond when three kittens were shipped to Neil Todd, a New England scientist who was investigating spontaneous genetic mutations in felines. Todd finished his research, and various parties and breeders adopted the Scottish Fold kittens born under his care.

In 1977, Scottish Folds were given provisional status in the CFA; over the decades they've become a highly sought after kitty in America. Today, cat lovers who want to own a Scottish Fold might have to be put on a waiting list, and pay several hundred dollars for a kitten.

9. SCOTTISH FOLDS ARE KNOWN FOR THEIR WEIRD POSES.

Scottish Folds are known for sitting, standing, or laying in a variety of cute—and comical—human-like positions. They'll sit on their haunches in a "Buddha" position; they'll stand on their hind legs; and they'll flop, stretch, and twist themselves into other unusual poses.

10. SCOTTISH FOLDS ARE POP CULTURE FIXTURES.

If you haven't seen an Instagram video of Taylor Swift's two Scottish Folds, Olivia Benson and Meredith Grey, or scoped out famous Internet "purr-sonality" Maru's social media presence, you might want to read author Peter Gethers' book, The Cat Who Went to Paris (1990), and its sequel, A Cat Abroad (1993). Both works tell the touching story of Gethers and his favorite companion, a Scottish Fold named Norton.

All photos courtesy of iStock.

Amazon's Best Black Friday Deals: Tech, Video Games, Kitchen Appliances, Clothing, and More

Amazon
Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Black Friday is finally here, and Amazon is offering great deals on kitchen appliances, tech, video games, and plenty more. We will keep updating this page as sales come in, but for now, here are the best Amazon Black Friday sales to check out.

Kitchen

Instant Pot/Amazon

- Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-115 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker; $90 (save $40)

- Keurig K-Cafe Special Edition; $190 (save $30)

- Ninja OS301 Foodi 10-in-1 Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer; $125 (save $75)

- Nespresso Vertuo Next Coffee and Espresso Machine by Breville; $120 (save $60)

- KitchenAid KSMSFTA Sifter with Scale Attachment; $95 (save $75)

- Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker; $60 (save $20)

- Cuisinart Bread Maker; $80 (save $97)

- Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker; $139 (save $60)

- Aicook Juicer Machine; $35 (save $15)

- JoyJolt Double Wall Insulated Espresso Mugs - Set of Two; $14 (save $10)

- Longzon Silicone Stretch Lids - Set of 14; $16 (save $11)

- HadinEEon Milk Frother; $37 (save $33)

Home Appliances

Roomba/Amazon

- iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi Connectivity; $179 (save $101)

- ASAKUKI 500ml Premium Essential Oil Diffuser; $22 (save $4)

- Facebook Portal Smart Video Calling 10 inch Touch Screen Display with Alexa; $129 (save $50)

- Bissell air320 Smart Air Purifier with HEPA and Carbon Filters; $280 (save $50)

- Oscillating Quiet Cooling Fan Tower; $59 (save $31)

- TaoTronics PTC 1500W Fast Quiet Heating Ceramic Tower; $55 (save $10)

- Vitamix 068051 FoodCycler 2 Liter Capacity; $300 (save $100)

- Ring Video Doorbell; $70 (save $30)

Video games

Sony

- Marvel's Spider-Man: Game of The Year Edition for PlayStation 4; $20 (save $20)

- The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening; $40 (save $20)

- Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity; $50 (save $10)

- Marvel's Avengers; $25 (save $33)

- The Last of Us Part II for PlayStation 4; $30 (save $30)

- LEGO Harry Potter: Collection; $15 (save $15)

- Ghost of Tsushima; $40 (save $20)

- BioShock: The Collection; $20 (save $30)

- The Sims 4; $24 (save $20)

- God of Warfor PlayStation 4; $10 (save $10)

- Days Gonefor PlayStation 4; $20 (save $6)

- Luigi's Mansion 3 for Nintendo Switch; $40 (save $20)

Computers and tablets

Microsoft/Amazon

- New Apple MacBook Pro 16 inches with 512 GB; $2149 (save $250)

- Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 with 13.5 inch Touch-Screen; $1200 (save $400)

- Lenovo ThinkPad T490 Laptop; $889 (save $111)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet (64GB); $120 (save $70)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet (32 GB); $130 (save $70)

- Apple iPad Mini (64 GB); $335 (save $64)

- Vankyo MatrixPad S2 Tablet; $120 (save $10)

Tech, gadgets, and TVs

Apple/Amazon

- Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS; $120 (save $79)

- Seneo Wireless Charger, 3 in 1 Wireless Charging Station; $16 (save $10)

- SAMSUNG 75-inch Class Crystal 4K Smart TV; $998 (save $200)

- Nixplay 2K Smart Digital Picture Frame 9.7 Inch Silver; $238 (save $92)

- All-New Amazon Echo Dot with Clock and Alexa (4th Gen); $39 (save $21)

- MACTREM LED Ring Light 6" with Tripod Stand; $16 (save $3)

- Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote; $28 (save $12)

- DR. J Professional HI-04 Mini Projector; $93 (save $37)

Headphones and speakers

Beats/Amazon

- Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones; $120 (Save $80)

- Apple AirPods Pro; $169 (save $50)

- Anker Soundcore Upgraded Bluetooth Speaker; $22 (save $8)

- Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earphones; $175 (save $75)

- JBL Boombox; $280 (save $120)

Movies and TV

HBO/Amazon

- Game of Thrones: The Complete Series; $115 (save $89)

- Jurassic World 5-Movie Set; $23 (save $37)

- Deadwood: The Complete Series; $42 (save $28)

- Back to the Future Trilogy; $15 (save $21)

Toys and Games

Amazon

- Awkward Family Photos Greatest Hits; $15 (save $10)

- Exploding Kittens Card Game; $10 (save $10)

- Cards Against Humanity: Hidden Gems Bundle; $14 (save $5)

- LOL Surprise OMG Remix Pop B.B. Fashion Doll; $29 (save $6)

- LEGO Ideas Ship in a Bottle 92177 Expert Building Kit; $56 (save $14)

Furniture

Casper/Amazon

- Casper Sleep Element Queen Mattress; $476 (save $119)

- ZINUS Alexis Deluxe Wood Platform Bed Frame; $135 (save $24)

- ROMOON Dresser Organizer with 5 Drawers; $59 (save $11) 

- AmazonBasics Room Darkening Blackout Window Curtains; $26 (save $5)

- Writing Desk by Caffoz; $119 (save $21)

- SPACE Seating Office Support Managers Chair; $112 (save $116)

- Rivet Globe Stick Table Lamp; $53 (save $17)

- Christopher Knight Home Merel Mid-Century Modern Club Chair; $188 (save $10)

- Walker Edison Furniture Industrial Rectangular Coffee Table; $121 (save $48)

Beauty

Haus/Amazon

- MySmile Teeth Whitening Kit with LED Light; $21 (save $12) 

- Cliganic USDA Organic Lip Balms Set of Six; $6 (save $4)

- HAUS LABORATORIES By Lady Gaga: LE RIOT LIP GLOSS; $7 (save $11)

- Native Deodorant for Men and Women Set of Three; $25 (save $11) 

- BAIMEI Rose Quartz Jade Roller & Gua Sha; $14 (save $3)

- Honest Beauty Clearing Night Serum with Pure Retinol and Salicylic Acid; $20 (save $8)

- WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Hair Conditioner Set; $30 (save $5) 

- La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser; $15 (save $5)

- wet n wild Bretman Rock Shadow Palette; $9 (save $6)

- EltaMD UV Daily Tinted Face Sunscreen Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid; $25 (save $6)

Clothes

Ganni/Amazon

- Ganni Women's Crispy Jacquard Dress; $200 (save $86) 

- The Drop Women's Maya Silky Slip Skirt; $36 (save $9)

- Steve Madden Women's Editor Boot; $80 (save $30)

- adidas Women's Roguera Cross Trainer; $40 (save $25)

- Line & Dot Women's Elizabeth Sweater; $74 (save $18)

- Levi's Men's Sherpa Trucker Jacket; $57 (save $41)

- Adidas Men's Essentials 3-Stripes Tapered Training Joggers Sweatpants; $28 (save $12)

- Timex Men's Weekender XL 43mm Watch; $32 (save $20)

- Ray-Ban Unisex-Adult Hexagonal Flat Lenses Sunglasses; $108 (save $46) 

- Reebok Men's Flashfilm Train Cross Trainer; $64 (save $16)

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Watch: In 1948, Idaho Officials Sent 76 Beavers Parachuting Into Idaho’s Wilderness

A young beaver with all four feet firmly on the ground.
A young beaver with all four feet firmly on the ground.
yrjö jyske, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

When people started building up the area around Idaho’s Payette Lake after World War II, its original residents began interfering with irrigation and agricultural endeavors. They weren’t exactly staging an organized protest—they were just beavers doing what beavers do.

Nevertheless, officials at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game decided their best bet was to find a new home for the long-toothed locals. The surrounding wilderness provided plenty of options, but transportation was another issue entirely. Traversing the undeveloped, mountainous terrain would require both trucks and pack animals, and experts knew from past relocation efforts that beavers weren’t fond of either.

“Beavers cannot stand the direct heat of the sun unless they are in water,” department employee Elmo W. Heter explained in a 1950 report [PDF]. “Sometimes they refuse to eat. Older individuals often become dangerously belligerent ... Horses and mules become spooky and quarrelsome when loaded with a struggling, malodorous pair of live beavers.”

To keep Payette Lake’s beavers healthy and happy during the journey, their human handlers would need to find another method of travel. As Boise State Public Radio reports, that’s when Heter suggested making use of their leftover WWII parachutes.

Two beavers would sit inside a wooden box attached to a parachute, which could be dropped from an airplane between 500 and 800 feet above their new home in the Chamberlain Basin. The cables that fastened the box to the parachute would keep it shut during the flight, but they’d slacken enough for the beavers to open the box upon landing. After testing the operation with weights, Heter and his colleagues enlisted an older beaver named Geronimo for a few live trials.

“Poor fellow!” Heter wrote. “You may be sure that ‘Geronimo’ had a priority reservation on the first ship into the hinterland, and that three young females went with him.”

Once Geronimo had certified the safety of the mission, the team began migrating the whole beaver population. During the fall of 1948, a total of 76 beavers touched down in their new territory. It wasn’t without tragedy, though; one beaver fell to his death after a cable broke on his box. Overall, however, the venture was deemed much safer (and less expensive) than any trip on foot would have been. And when department officials checked in on the beavers a year later, they had already started improving their ecosystem.

“Beavers had built dams, constructed houses, stored up food, and were well on their way to producing colonies,” Heter wrote. As Idaho Fish and Game’s Steve Liebenthal told Boise State Public Radio, the area is now part of “the largest protected roadless forest” in the continental U.S.

You can watch the Idaho Fish and Game Commission’s full 14-minute documentary about the process below.

[h/t Boise State Public Radio]