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I Love Oxymora – Of the Scottish Fold kind (and more)

oxymoron

Source - Oxymoron

Oxymoron, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, is “a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g., faith unfaithful kept him falsely true).”

This is one of two English terms I absolutely adore. (This one because of the definition. The other, simply because I like to say it.) We’ve all heard many oxymora before.

A fine mess
Same difference
Jumbo shrimp
Military intelligence
Holy war
Fail safe
Farewell reception
New classic
Head butt
Quiet riot
Living Dead
and the list goes on….

MikeyKat

MikeyKat

But today, I would like to talk to you about my oxymoron cats (and the not-so-oxymoron).

It started out a while ago, with my MikeyKat. We rescued him from the ASPCA when he was about a year and a half old. MikeyKat was the most loving cat EVER! I would look into his eyes and see his love for me. He was my cat. He traveled the world with us. But unfortunately, he succumbed to kidney failure at the age of 14. I was devastated. I still cry for him.

*brushes tears from eyes*

At first we just thought him to be a regular grey tabby. But as we learned of the different breeds, and I found THE PERFECT LOOKING CAT, at least for me, I just knew MikeyKat was a Scottish Fold. He had the same personality of the Scottish Fold (calm, lovely temperament, loving, and not very active). He also had the same mannerisms of the Scottish Folds as well (while he never did the Buddha sit, he favored the Prairie Dog sit. He also LOVED to lay on his back, exposing his big fat belly. 🙂

MikeyKat Belly

MikeyKat Belly

So, when it was time, after we lost our first kitty to Diabetes and kidney failure at the age of 16, we wanted to start looking for a Scottish Fold to add to our family. I wanted another MikeyKat, only with folded ears! 😀

Scottish Fold

Pictured: Second Best of Breed GC, DW FOREVERSTAR SILVERY DAWN, Silver Tabby & White Shorthair Scottish Fold Male Photo: © Furrpurr

I mean, how could you NOT want one of these? Look at that face! 😀

So our quest began. We found a local breeder and befriended her at a cat show. We visited with her and her show cats for the next year. There were about two or three shows we attended before we made the plunge. At $400 for pet quality, well, we weren’t so sure we would be able to pull it off.

Over the next few months, we learned a lot about the breed. Here is what we found:

History:
Susie was the very first Scottish Fold (at least found by humans). She was a white barn cat found “at a farm near Coupar Angus in Perthshire, Scotland, in 1961. Susie’s ears had an unusual fold in their middle, making her resemble an owl. 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. Ross registered the breed in 1966 and started to breed Scottish Fold kittens with the help of geneticist Pat Turner. 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.”

What makes the ears fold?
An incomplete dominant gene is what makes the ears fold. All Scottish Fold kittens are born with straight ears. By three to four weeks of age, the ears will begin to fold. Or not. Only about 20-50% of kittens ears fold. There is no guarantee, nor method to make them fold.

Temperament:
As I said before, they are a very calm breed. They love to supervise whatever you are doing, but aren’t overly vocal about it. They have a very tiny voice. (see my example of their voice here). If you don’t have one that loves to be on you, they will always be near you. Despite their calm demeanor, they do like to play. Their playtime is in spits and spurts. But they expect you to be involved as well.

Medical Concerns:
In general, they are a low maintenance cat and can usually live on average 15 years. However, early breeding practices (fold-to-fold) produced a degenerative joint disease called Osteochondrodysplasia. Ethical breeders will only breed Fold-to-Straight. But there are still those out there trying to get the best possible chance to have a folded litter that they still breed Fold-to-Fold.

Scottish Folds who are the products of folded-ear to straight-ear breeding seldom if ever develop joint disease.

Affected Folds will usually show signs of the disease between the ages of 4 to 6 months. This disease, in its worst case, will cause the joints of the cat’s tail, ankles and knees to fuse and stiffen. A Scottish Fold with a very short thickened tail is probably affected to some extent. While this health problem is disabling, it is not life threatening. Though it cannot be cured, it can be very successfully treated.

**********************************

Sofie supervising my writing progress

Sofie supervising my writing progress

If a female cat doesn’t like the male, she can turn off her reproductive cycle. Misty had problems with her mate. Our breeder decided the best way to get her to “like” her stud was to live with him for a few months. What a stressful time it was for her, I am sure, as well as the breeders. But finally, Misty succumbed and she became pregnant. She had her litter on May 10, 2006. We kept in contact with the breeder, and when the kitties were born, we went to see them a few times. After four weeks, when not a single cat folded, she told us the next time we came over we would have the pick of the litter. When we got there, at eight weeks, they were just all so very cute, we couldn’t decide. But Sofie decided for us. Liz, the breeder, was so shocked because she never showed any personality until our son came over and started playing with her. She had picked us.

Peeking Theo

Peeking Theo

At this point, she was getting irritated at the whole breeding/showing system, the politics, and the hypocrisies. She decided she was no longer going to breed or show. This was her last litter. She couldn’t find a home for Sofie’s brother, Theodore. Liz let us have both cats for the price of one! Theo was so scared of everything. When we went to pick him up, he freaked so bad that he gave Liz some nice, deep scratches and hid under the bed. He wouldn’t come out for anything. So we had to wait a few weeks when she brought him to the cat show. It was an easier transition that way. Theo has always been our tender soul and still is a neophobe. But we wouldn’t have him any other way. 🙂

Itty Bitty - Our non-Oxymoron cat

Itty Bitty - Our non-Oxymoron cat

Last year, we added a 3rd kittie to our family. Someone on Craig’s List was looking for a home for her Scottish Fold. She didn’t want to give her up, but her other kitties were bullying her. It has been a very long, and slow process to win her over. But we finally have, I believe. While showing signs of  Osteochondrodysplasia, we are doing our best to keep her comfortable and happy.
Here is a letter I just sent to her previous owner:

It’s been one year since we picked up Itty Bitty! Amazing how much she’s changed in that year! When we first brought her home she wanted nothing to do with any of us. Now she helps me dress for work in the morning, greets me when I come home, talks to me all the while! She knows when it’s bed time and she needs no coaxing to go upstairs. she has her days with the other two, a hiss every now and again (even though Theo really wants to play) but the other two get in their spats too and they are brother and sister. Right now, as I type this, she sits in my lap. I call her name and she answers. She doesn’t sit in the lap as nearly as often as I would like. But I will take anything I can get. I knew it would be a long, slow process, but one well worth the wait. She’s happy here. So no need to worry! She’s loved and accepted. And the most important thing, she returns it all! Thank you.

I love my Oxymoron cats as much as my non-Oxymoron cat.  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the breed as well as about our family. I will leave you with the Scottish Fold Positions: 

 

The Buddha Sit (Theo)

The Buddha Sit (Theo)

The Crash (Sofie)

The Crash (Sofie)

Full Belly Stretch (Itty Bitty)

Full Belly Stretch (Itty Bitty)

Full Back Stretch (Itty Bitty)

Full Back Stretch (Itty Bitty)

Ping! I'm a Kitty Kat! Ping! (Theo)

Ping! I'm a Kitty Kat! Ping! (Theo)

The Cello (unknown)

The Cello (unknown) -- Sofie actually sits like this all the time, not just to clean. I just can't get the picture. 🙂

LadyJai

6 Comments

  1. Comment by Lynn A. Davidson:

    Delightful story, Jammie. My cat (not a Scottish Fold, but we think she may have been partly Siamese)would take on all those positions except for the crash. She was beautiful – white with blue eyes. We had her 17 years from the time she was about a month old.
    I enjoyed your story.

    This oxymoron has become commonplace in our society: hurry up and wait!

  2. Comment by Mark Murata:

    How about “Down escalator”? Get it?

  3. Comment by Andrew Patterson:

    😀 Awesome kitties! 😀 Love the diversity of colors. 😀

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