Cat Health & Advice

5 Fascinating Information About Polydactyl Cats

Some pals of mine have a polydactyl cat named Dougus, whom I affectionately name “The Toes.” He actually earns the title: With six toes on every foot, he’s nicely above common — and he’s off the charts in beauty and allure as nicely.

Polydactyly isn’t uncommon in cats, so Dougus is hardly alone in his freaky awesomeness. Listed here are 5 fascinating information about six-(or-more)-toed cats.

1. Polydactyly is a genetic abnormality

Polydactyl cat Owen.

Owen, a polydactyl cat. Pictures courtesy Annie Butler Shirreffs.

Rely your kitty’s toes. Odds are she has a complete of 18, with 5 toes on every entrance paw and 4 on every rear. In case your kitty is polydactyl, nevertheless, she may need as many as eight toes on any given paw. The phrase is Greek in origin, with “poly” which means “many” and “daktylos” which means “digits.”

Most polydactyl cats have additional toes on their entrance paws, which generally resemble thumbs and make your kitty look as if she’s carrying lovable mittens. These additional digits usually are not opposable, which implies your polydactyl cat won’t be able to start out feeding herself at 5 a.m.

2. Polydactyl cats are also referred to as Hemingway cats

When a ship captain gave a white polydactyl cat named Snowball to author Ernest Hemingway, the captain kicked off a fairly improbable obsession for one in every of historical past’s most prolific cat guys. At Hemingway’s island dwelling off Key West, FL, he collected greater than 50 cats, nearly half of whom had additional toes. Because of his obsession, at present polydactyls are regularly known as “Hemingway cats.”

As Catster’s Dorian Wagner did, you may go to the Ernest Hemingway Dwelling and Museum, the place the cat colony nonetheless thrives — and a number of the kitties are descendants of Snowball, Hemingway’s unique polydactyl.

Bonus truth: Polydactyl cats are such a giant deal that they’ve made all of it the best way to the White Home: President Theodore Roosevelt had a six-toed first kitty named Slippers.

three. The world file for probably the most toes on a cat is 28

The Web can’t agree on which polydactyl kitty really has probably the most toes. In accordance with Guinness Data, the title belongs to Jake, a ginger tabby from Canada. He boasts seven toes on every paw, for a grand whole of 28. Every toe has its personal claw, pad, and bone construction.

The rumor mill additionally tells of a 32-toed cat named Mickey Mouse who lived within the ’70s. However as a substitute of polydactyly, he may need had a situation referred to as “double paws,” through which every paw is definitely comprised of two fused mirror-image paws. Having additional toes is difficult!

four. Polydactyly is frequent in Maine Coons

Traditionally, polydactyly was a helpful trait for Maine Coon cats. For a breed originating in snowy Maine, doublewide paws with additional digits functioned as pure snowshoes. At one time, as many as 40 % of all Maine Coons had additional toes. Although the trait is not as predominant within the breed, Maine Coon polydactyls are nonetheless acknowledged as an official breed by many cat fanciers.

5. Polydactyl cats had been as soon as thought-about good luck at sea

Again within the day, polydactyl cats obtained their sea legs by accompanying fishermen on many journeys. They usually earned their maintain — they had been rumored to be wonderful mouse hunters, and their additional toes gave them higher stability on ships that encountered tough waters. The cats’ many travels would possibly clarify their widespread presence at present, predominantly in the US, Canada, England and Wales.

Thumbnail: Photograph CC-BY Flickr person brownpau. Some modifications might have been made to suit the specs of this web site. 

This piece was initially revealed in 2013.

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