Health Importance of a Tail??

March 8, 2020

BY EastCoastCat

The gene that folds the ear on a Scottish Fold is the neatest thing!  

Did you know this gene can also add some undesirable effects on our cats that responsible breeding is eliminating?  Specifically it can cause various degrees of Congenital Osteodystrophy: deformities of the leg, spine, and TAIL.  A short stubby tail is all you might be able to see to determine if your kitten will progress to spine and leg deformities resulting in stiffness, crippling, and in severe cases loss of use.   A lifetime often cut short and filled with pain and medication.  There are two VERY IMPORTANT tools you, the buyer, can utilize to minimize your chance of dealing with this condition.  There are other indicators, but if you are new to cat purchases and Scottish Folds, I am focusing on two telltale features you, a newbie, can VERIFY with no help.

1.  See the parents.  Unscrupulous breeders breed FOLD to FOLD parents to get 100% FOLD babies in the litters (much more money).  NEVER, EVER. breed FOLD to FOLD.  It doubles the gene up, guaranteeing crippling, painful lives for these kittens, and kitty parents like you who suffer right along with these babies.   Be suspicious if the entire litter is folded, or the breeder has more than believable number of  folds versus straight ear kittens.  Statistically FOLD to STRAIGHT breeding produces 50/50 split.  Some breeders have PAGES of kittens, with numbers or letters, indicating volume.  You will get a feel  of whether the statistics line up.  Never mind the fact that socializing a large amount of kittens is tough...the more numbers the more overcrowding and lack of socialization and care is to be suspected.  You will hear breeders refer to these places as "mills" just churning out a product and getting money as soon as possible.  I, personally, dislike multiple breed (not allowable outcrosses) breeders.  It means a high SEGREGATION scenario, multiple breeds and the males all need separation...and where do they go when they do breed the female, where are the other females, which infers caging, purebred questionability,  and away from family.   I don't want a kitten from this home, and I hope you do not either.  Seeing the parents will also reveal if the parents are skittish, healthy, clear eyed (no gunk). 

2.  TAILS.  See the tails of the parents AND the baby.   FaceTime!  We share the "straight ear" male here at EastCoastCat, so it might be two calls depending on whose house he is at.   Or we will send you a video of us trashing his tail to show flexibility.  "SHOWING CATs AND JUDGES" are for the snobby folks...other breeders might say...  I say to you, this is not about titles for us, it is about a judge running their hand down the entire tail length all vertebrae of our cats, manipulating them and checking for LENGTH and FLEXIBILITY by 12-20 judges in a single weekend.   Some of our cats are not titled, but they have been awarded "points" and have gone through this gauntlet.  Please ask for videos of the tails of parents-- if you are considering other breeders--practice buying responsibly... checking for those faults that should eliminate the adults from breeding programs.  Do all this before looking at the cute kittens or you will loose your focus (O:   PUDGE (pictured left top)  is a gorgeous Scottish Fold, now a pet in our house.  STUBBY non flexible tail.  Moves it as if it is a stiff pole, no supple bending and moving like a snake. 

BELOW are four tails from East CoastCats, as of March 2020 all are top 10 or better in the world...what a good tail should look like from a folded cat.