Nope, not the dinosaur with wings. What we’re talking about is Polydactyl. These are cats that have more toes than usual. The average cats have 18 toes – five on each of the front paws and four on both of the back ones. But some have more than these, they are what we call polydactyl cats.
At first glance, it may just seem extra toes or to some, it may not be that interesting, but there definitely is more to these than meets the eye. Here are 11 things that most people are not familiar with polydactyl cats.
They aren’t members of the X Men or something like that. It’s just that being polydactyl for cats is a genetic mutation. It is passed down through a dominant gene. Depending on the parents of these kitties, if one is polydactyl, there is a huge chance that one of their kittens will be polydactyl as well.
Some might be alarmed of this as it is not usual for cats to have extra toes, but worry not, it is usually harmless, although, it might give you a bit of trouble when it comes to trimming their nails. Just be wary about their forelegs, as in rare cases, being polydactyl can lead to twisted or underdeveloped forelegs.
Ever seen a cat with thumbs? There are cases where the extra toes of polydactyl cats are positioned in a way that they would look like thumbs, commonly known as, “Mitten paws”. But they’re not opposable, so it wouldn’t be able to function like our human thumbs.
For kitties that don’t have thumbs or “Mitten paws”, they get the nicknames “Bigfoot” or “pancake feet” because it generally makes their feet look bigger.
Admit it, kitties with huge paws are cute. With polydactyl cats, it just makes them a little cuter than they already are. Now that’s an asset.
- Rare for others, common for some
It may not be seen that much in each of our regions, but there are countries where polydactyl cats are quite common. These are; England, Wales, and the eastern parts of USA and Canada.
- Good Luck!
Sailors used to believe that these kinds of cats are good luck. They were given the title of “Gypsy cats”. Because of their large feet, they were thought to make them better at catching mice and have better balance.
- Polydactyl Breeds
American polydactyl and Maine Coon Polydactyl are considered polydactyl breeds. But some don’t consider them as legit breeds.
- Maine Coon
40 percent of Maine Coons once had extra toes. Since Maine is a state that gets more than a hundred inches of snow annually, the large paws turn into feline snowshoes.
- Twenty – Eight
28, that’s the Guinness’ World Record for the cat with the most number of toes. It was given to a Canadian cat named Jake.
- Hemingway Cats
Stanley Dexter, a captain in 1930 gives a polydactyl cat to Ernest Hemingway. He named it Snow White and that gave a start to many more polydactyl kittens. Today, 40 to 50 polydactyl cats, some of which are Snow White’s descendants, are considered as a historical treasure at Hemingway’s Key West, Florida, the home of Ernest Hemingway.
So, there you have it! Now that you know more about polydactyl cats, you may want to look into your kitty’s paws. You never know, maybe your precious feline companion is a descendant of Hemingway’s Snow White.