My story of the Fold started quite a few years ago when another cat lover who happened to be my local librarian suggested a book to me. It was Peter Gethers’ “The cat who went to Paris”. Well written and wryly amusing, the story of a man who thought he hated cats until he was given this little kitten with folded ears who changed him in so many ways. That cat Norton, was the first cat to be given an obituary in the New York Times.
I eagerly sought out more to read about the folds. Scottish Folds. Discovered as a natural mutation in a Scottish Farm cat, the breed was not recognised in the UK, but in the USA and elsewhere. They have ‘different’ personalities from other cats. I know, I have had one and bred two, who went to live with my god-daughter so I knew them all their lives.
It was my enjoyment of the book and the sequel “The cat who went abroad” that made me buy them for a friend who is a major cat breeder. She also enjoyed the book I gave her.
I wasn’t the sort of breeder who imported cats. Mine were primarily pets, but as the breeds (Abyssinian and Somali) were not that common, I allowed the females a few litters, just to fill in the gaps for people who wanted delightful cats in their homes.
Then I was invited round to my friend, to go with her to see the new Sphinx cat at another breeder’s home. When I got there she said “see what came for me along with the Sphinx” and there was a cute blue and white cat WITH FOLDED EARS!
MamaFou as she became known was a very definite cat. If she wanted to hide in the garden, that was what she did. If she wanted to sit on you and have those oh so soft ears fondled, that was what she did. She never fought you, she just somehow always did what SHE wanted.
My favourite cat markings are the tabbys. Stripes, spots and swirling lines (classic tabby). And for me the Tabby folds are the most beautiful of all the folds.
As I already had 3 cats, I didn’t think I’d ever get one of her babies, cute though they were. Then a week after I’d had to put down Thomas my old Tabby tomcat, she phoned me. “Your kitten has been born”. The first tabby Scottish Fold born in the country, and the first longhaired one. I was unsure. I missed Thomas so much I didn’t think I was ready for another cat. But my younger queen cat was pining for Thomas, so I agreed for her sake.
PT Teddy Mac Catt he was, a little blue tabby with long hair, long white tufts sticking out of the folded ears, and an independence one expected from these cats. The PT was a joke; it stood for Puddy Tat, and as Thomas had always been shown (in the pet section) as Thomas A’Catt I decided the next male had to be a relation so Mac Catt he was.
He came into the house a little young, and slept alone in the dining room as his choice that night. I had the following day off work to settle him in, went out for a while and came home to find my silver Somali curled round the little blue scrap. She had adopted him as hers. They were inseparable until the day he died.
Like his mother, an independent cat. If he wanted to be outside, that was where he was, if he wanted affection he’d be standing on you or sitting right next to you, demanding to be stroked and to have his ears fondled. He had a habit of coming in the morning and snuggling up for a cuddle, then he’d nibble my earlobes. He would DEMAND that I play with the stick with string at the end, he would dance with the end, twirling and prancing around. With his big fluffy feet he looked like a ballerina in huge fluffy slippers.
He was bought as a pet, purely to live with me and be loved. But he had other plans. My silver Somali had proved difficult to mate. She hissed at the tomcats and said very rude things to them in cat. So I was wondering if I should just spay her. Then one evening, I was lying in bed reading when I heard a noise not common in my house. There he was trying to mate her. I laughed and phoned his breeder and said “Guess what your cat is trying to do to my cat?” He was still very young, and I thought the folds matured rather slowly, so I didn’t worry. The next morning he was trying again, so I took a picture to show the breeder just how forward he was. That evening Madame went off to the teaser tom where she could be mated without falling pregnant. (A teaser tom has had a vasectomy so the queen is mated, comes out of season, but is not pregnant).
A few weeks later one of the cape cat judges was in Joburg and came for supper. She was also an Abyssinian breeder and was looking at my silver Somali when she said “When is she due?” I hadn’t noticed – she was pregnant.
How embarrassing! My queens had never produced a ‘mistake’ before. I had always been so careful. Everyone laughed at me, my record was in smithereens.
A few weeks later they were born. No fuss, except that Teddy kept walking along the edge of the box to look in. He was a great father, often to be found curled up with the kittens while the mum went for a walk outside. (He never treated any of her other litters this way). My god-daughter became the happy owner of two folds.
Teddy was with me for 12 years, and to the end he was just himself. Doing as he pleased, fortunately that often included wanting to be cuddled and petted. Madame only lived a few months after he went, I think her heart was broken by the loss.