My parents recently visited from Montana, and we talked a lot about our pets, including those we lost in recent years. My parents have a wonderful little cat but the one who continues to linger in their hearts was named JJ, a part-Scottish Fold they adopted from a regional animal shelter. JJ caused my dad to really warm up to cats – Scottish Folds often make a positive impact on people.
From its origins in Scotland to homes across the ocean, the Scottish Fold cat appeals to the hearts of cat lovers around the world. This breed, with its unique owl-like look, was accepted by The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) in 1978.
What gives this breed of cat its unique appearance is the folded ears, round eyes, and chubby cheeks. The bending, or folding, of ears forward and downward on the head is not a trait of all Scottish folds, however, in those with that characteristic, the fold is due to a gene characteristic creating an ear cartilage defect. All Scottish Fold kittens are born with straight ears; usually by three weeks of age, the fold will appear … if it's going to.
The breed was developed by a man named William Ross who, in 1961, found the first known Scottish Fold at farm northwest of Dundee, Scotland. The white barn cat was named Susie, and Ross took one of her kittens home and proceeded to develop the breed through introductions with British Shorthairs and other cats. Scottish Folds come in all colors and patterns, and their thick coat can be long-haired or short-haired. They require regular grooming due to the denseness of their coat.
Scottish Folds make wonderful pets. They possess a sweet, loving disposition and generally adapt to any home environment, making them good for single people, older couples, or families. They are known to get along with children and other pets, including dogs and other cats. Scottish Folds are hardy, like their barn cat ancestors. They are also inquisitive and many sit up like prairie dogs or meerkats to have a look around. They can even sit back on their haunches, having a Buddha-like appearance with their round bodies.
JJ often did those poses, one of many ways, I believed, she tugged at my dad's heart. JJ had been living at the shelter for nearly two years and seemed aloof toward anyone who would seek her out, so she became the shelter cat, roaming free in the building. She accepted her caregivers but didn't seem interested in potential adopters who were seeking a furry friend. On the day of my parents' visit, however, that changed – JJ jumped up on the counter, walked straight to my father, and rubbed against his arm. That sealed the deal! JJ lived with my parents until her passing 10 years later. She possessed several characteristics of the Scottish Fold breed, including the round face and body. Although her ears were not folded, she also had a loving demeanor and that meerkat-like stance of her breed. She was a bit shy with strangers, and she wasn't terribly fond of my dogs when we'd visit, but she tolerated them. I think JJ liked being queen of the castle, and she was a wonderful companion for both mom and dad.
Although Scottish Folds can be show cats and are raised by breeders, they can also be found in shelters and rescues throughout the country. Just as my parents found their special Scottish Fold friend at a local shelter, if you are thinking this could be the right breed of cat for you, look to adopt your new friend through a shelter or rescue.
Learn more about Scottish Fold cats at http://www.petfinder.com/cat-breeds/Scottish-Fold
and http://www.catster.com/cat-breeds/Scottish_Fold. You can also view a video from Animal Planet's Cats 101 about the breed: http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/cats-101/videos/scottish-fold.htm.
Since we're on the subject of traveling with pets, let's consider visiting national parsk with our pets. Summer visitation at many of America’s national parks is in full swing. People are sometimes unaware of the rules involving pets and pet owners at these national treasures. As I prepare to embark upon a Grand Teton and Yellowstone adventure very soon, and a fall excursion to several Utah parks later this year, now is a great time to review these guidelines.
Pets are welcome in our country’s national parks and can hang out with their humans at picnic areas and campgrounds. However, there are some places they cannot go and there are rules that travelers with pets should be aware of. Those include:
Speaking of accommodations, are there places inside the parks that allow people to stay with their pets other than the campgrounds? In some cases, yes. Hotel accommodations in Yellowstone, for example, are not pet-friendly, but a few of the cabin facilities inside the park do allow pets. Additionally, just outside the national parks’ boundaries are gateway communities in which many hotels can be found, and many of those are pet-friendly. Prepare in advance to review the communities’ lodging options and investigate ahead of time whether or not pets are welcome. Look and book in advance!
Although the parks have similar guidelines because they are federal entities, different parks may have some different pet policies. To learn about the regulations in the park you’d like to visit, log onto the National Park Service’s website at www.nps.gov, find the park you’re interested in, and review that park’s particulars regarding pets.
Summer is in full swing and so are travel plans for many people. From weekend getaways to long vacations, some pet owners hit the road and want their furry friend(s) to accompany them. Here are some road tripping tips for pet owners:
Happy Trails and Tails!
The July 4th holiday is just around the corner, and with it comes the sparks, flashes, and booms of fireworks. Although most people enjoy watching a fireworks display, our pets may seek refuge from the thunderous noise and intense bursts of light. Sometimes that “seeking refuge” manifests itself in ripped up carpeting,
Do you know that many pets are negatively affected by loud noises, such as thunderstorms and fireworks? Sometimes such anxieties originate from being exposed to a sudden, loud, disturbing noise even when young that results in a lasting bad memory. The fear of fireworks may be from light flares which accompany the noise, the strong sulfur smell that comes after the explosion, or the suddenness or frequency of the noise (such as a screeching rocket).
As the July 4th holiday approaches and summer progresses with its storm activity, there are ways you can help your pet deal with its anxiety of loud noises.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.