Don’t Buy Taylor Swift’s Breed Of Cat, Warns Animal Charity

Celebrities have helped fuel the popularity of this unhealthy breed


(updated )

3 Minutes Read

Taylor Swift lying down with her Scottish Fold cat Scottish Fold cats are increasingly "trendy," but charities are warning against people buying them - Media Credit: Taylor Swift/Instagram

An animal charity has warned people not to buy the breed of cat made famous by celebrities including Taylor Swift due to the animals being “in pain for life.”

Scottish Folds are known for their round faces and folded ears. These features are due to a genetic mutation that also causes osteochondrodysplasia, a disease which results in abnormal bone growth, arthritis, and severe pain.

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Cats Protection has issued the warning as Swift’s Eras tour is due to come to the UK this month. The charity found that one percent of companion cats in the UK may be Scottish Folds. That equates to about 100,000 out of 10.6 million cats, with the breed making up 3 percent of cats bought or adopted in 2023.

According to Cats Protection, all Scottish Folds suffer from health problems due to their breed. But because cats are good at hiding pain, it won’t always be obvious to their guardians that they are suffering.

Celebrities driving popularity

Two of Swift’s three cats are Scottish Folds, while singer Ed Sheeran also has one. Both musicians regularly post pictures of their cats on social media. A Scottish Fold also appeared in the recent film Argylle, which cat charities criticized. Cats Protection has previously warned that the rising popularity of the breed has potentially been driven by celebrities posting pictures of them on social media.

Cats Protection’s chief veterinary officer Sarah Elliott told the Guardian that the charity doesn’t blame Swift or Sheeran themselves for owning the cats. The problem is that “the breeders are not really giving [owners] the information that they need. This is something owners find out later, and often it’s quite devastating to find out that your cat has this condition that can’t be cured, and that they’re going to be in pain for life.”

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Scottish Folds, who descend from one cat born with the genetic mutation in Scotland in 1961, are not officially recognized as a pedigree breed due to welfare concerns. Breeding them in the UK is not illegal, though it likely breaches breeder licensing conditions in Scotland. Cats Protection is campaigning to educate people about Scottish Folds and get breeding them banned.

Additional health problems

A grey Scottish fold cat with orange eyes
Serhii Kucher / Alamy Stock Photo Scottish Fold cats face inevitable life-long health problems

As well as constant pain and bone issues, Scottish Folds are more likely to develop ear disease and polycystic kidney disease. Some Scottish Folds are brachycephalic, meaning they have shorter noses — a problem which plagues certain overbred dogs like pugs and French bulldogs. Brachycephaly causes breathing difficulties. Cats with the condition are more likely to have dental problems and eye issues like ulcers.

People think that Scottish Folds are good companions because they are docile. But they actually are less active than other cat breeds because they are in too much pain to do things such as play and jump.

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