High Fives: The Super Special Characteristics of Polydactyl Cats
Cats are already cute to the max, but what if you added an extra furry toe or two? Without a doubt, polydactyl cats take adorableness to a whole new level, but their extra toes deliver more than looks. A cat with “kitty mitties” has even better balance, greater climbing capabilities, and finer predatory skills. If you have a polydactyl cat, our team at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital is ready to serve their unique cat wellness needs.
Thanks to their wider, larger paws, polydactyl cats come equipped to handle life’s challenges!
High Fives for Kitty!
Polydactyl comes from the Greeks: “poly”, or multiple and “dactyl”, meaning digits. Also known as Hemingways, Thumbs, Mittens, or Cardi cats, these multi-toed felines are absolutely purr-fect pets.
Can you imagine having a cat that had 28 toes? The world record was smashed by a ginger tabby named Jake who had 7 toes on each of his 4 paws. Hopefully his owners provided him with extra scratching posts!
Polydactyl cats like Jake are simply born this way. A genetic mutation, polydactylism can affect either the front paws or all four. Some cats can have as many as 9 toes on a single paw!
Maine Coons are widely accepted as the most common polydactyl cats but the mutation can happen in any cat breed. A hereditary condition, polydactylism is shared by parents and offspring.
What Extra Toes Mean For Cat Owners
Owners of polydactyl cats may have a little more nail trimming to do. They may also need to provide additional enrichment opportunities for their kitties that allow for extra climbing or scratching. Since they are extra awesome at balancing, more vertical space may benefit them.
A word to the wise: don’t leave things out for your polydactyl cat to pick up or bat around, as their added dexterity may reveal hidden talents. This might mean they can clear off your desk without a blink, or open up closed cabinets.
Fun Facts About Polydactyl Cats
Ernest Hemingway was a proud owner of an all white polydactyl cat named Snowball. Her multi-toed feral descendants still roam Hemingway’s estate in Key West, Florida.
Known to be quite useful at hunting rodents on ships, polydactyl cats travelled the world with early sailors and explorers. Perhaps originally from England, these cats fared the stormy seas with their enhanced balance and grip en route to the New World.
Yay for the Originals
Polydactyl cats are really just like other cats, except they might be a little more awesome. Who knew an extra toe or two could make such a difference?
If you have any questions about your cat’s breed, special skills, or unique behaviors, our staff is always happy to help at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital.