Singer Taylor Swift with her Scottish Fold Cat
Singers Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran are among the top big-name owners, with the US star regularly posting pictures of her feline friend on social networks.
But the gene mutation that makes the cats so adorable has triggered calls from animal welfare campaigners for their breeding to be outlawed.
The weakened cartilage which allows the cat’s ears to fold also causes weaknesses in leg joints and can lead to cats suffering.
The Scottish Government is considering a change in the law to prevent future breeding of animals which rely on mutated genes for their looks if there are other health implications.
An international campaign to end the breeding of the Scottish fold is already under way following a report by an expert in Australia.
Richard Malik, a veterinary consultant at the University of Sydney, says breeding the cats is “cruel” and “ethically indefensible”.
Ed Sheeran is also a fan of the cute breed
His call has been backed by the Scottish SPCA, with chief superintendent Mike Flynn adding his weight to the breeding ban calls, saying: “It is common for the breed to suffer from serious health problems.”
It is common for the breed to suffer from serious health problems
SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn
The animals are descended from a mutant white barn cat named Susie, who lived on a farm in Coupar Angus, Perthshire, in the 1960s. In 1961, she caught the eye of a local shepherd, William Ross, who registered the breed in 1966 and began selling Scottish Fold kittens.
The World of Exotic Pets Sat, April 5, 2014
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National Geographic Magazine's April 2014 issue features some fabulous photographs of exotic pets and their owners. Deer, Chimps, Snakes, a Kangaroo. Visit http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/04/exotic-pets/musi-photography to see more
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Ohio veterinarian Melanie Butera took in Dillie after the blind farm deer’s mother rejected her. Dillie used to sleep with Butera but now has her own room. “She’s treated like a princess,” says Butera.?
They are now a worldwide phenomenon and pop star Swift frequently uploads photographs of her Scottish Folds Detective Olivia Benson and Doctor Meredith Grey on Instagram, and has spoken of Sheeran’s matching pet.
Maru, a Scottish Fold in Japan, achieved a Guinness world record as the animal viewed most on YouTube – a total of 325,704,506 times.
The US star regularly posting pictures of her feline friend
A Scottish Government spokesman said last night: “There is currently no breeding ban on the Scottish Fold cat or restrictions on cat breeding in Scotland.
“However, we are currently considering the issue of pet breeding as part of an ongoing review of pet welfare.”