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The Scottish Fold is a distinctive breed of domestic cat characterised by a natural dominant gene mutation associated with osteochondrodysplasia. This genetic anomaly affects cartilage throughout the body, causing the ears to "fold", bending forward and down towards the front of the head. While this trait contributes to the breed's unique appearance, often described as "owl-like", it has negative effects on the cats' welfare. Originally called lop-eared or lops after the lop-eared rabbit, Scottish Fold became the breed's name in 1966. Depending on registries, longhaired Scottish Folds are varyingly known as Highland Fold, Scottish Fold Longhair, Longhair Fold and Coupari. All Fold cats are affected by osteochondrodysplasia, a developmental abnormality that affects cartilage and bone development throughout the body. This condition causes the ear fold in the breed and studies point to all Fold cats being affected by it. Fold cats therefore have malformed bone structures and can develop severe painful degenerative joint diseases at an early age. Due to these health conditions, breeding Fold cats is prohibited in several countries and some major cat registries do not recognise the cat breed.
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