Cats with polydactyly are born with extra toes on each paw than is typical. Polydactyl cats can have six (or more) toes on each paw, whereas most cats have five toes on the front paws and four on the back.
The genetic anomaly polydactyly, which causes additional digits, is more prevalent in some areas of the world than others. Any cat breed, whether male or female, large or small, can be impacted.
Continue reading to find out more about the hereditary causes of polydactyly and to see some gorgeous pictures of polydactyl cats.
- Genetic Mutation Causes Polydactyly
A genetic mutation in a domwithinant gene leads to polydactyly, which often manifests as anywhere from four to seven extra toes on a cat’s paws. Although polydactyly can afflict the hind paws as well as the front ones, it is highly uncommon for a cat to have polydactyly on all four paws.
Polydactyly is often not harmful to a cat’s health or wellbeing. There are many happy, healthy kitties with a few extra toes, while it can make trimming your cat’s nails more labor-intensive (and if you’ve ever clipped your cat’s nails, you know how difficult it is to begin with).
It’s crucial to remember that feline radial hypoplasia, which is sometimes mistaken for polydactyly, can be exceedingly harmful to a cat’s health. Feline radial hypoplasia results in the growth of additional toes, similar to polydactyly. The primary distinction is that the additional toes arise right next to the cat’s regular toes, giving rise to enormous, flat feet. Breeding feline radial hypoplastic cats can result in severe paw abnormalities in future generations.
2. Additionally, some polydactyl cats have “mittens”
“Mitten paws” are the result of extra toes growing in the center of a polydactyl cat’s paw, giving it a thumb- or mitten-like appearance. These extra digits are not opposable, despite the fact that they resemble thumbs.
- Some Cats Can Benefit from Polydactyly
The toes of polydactyl cats are not simply adorable; they also have certain advantages for felines. Polydactyl cats are better able to balance on different surfaces, climb, hunt, and catch their prey because they have wider, larger paws.
Make sure to get your polydactyl cat a scratching post or board if you own one. Your furnishings may suffer greatly from those extra toes.
- Lucky Cats Are Polydactyl Cats
Polydactyl cats are no different from other cat breeds that were thought to be lucky for sailors, like black and calico cats. Polydactyl cats were once typical sights on lengthy ship voyages.
Polydactyl cats made great mousers and could maintain the ship’s supplies pest-free because to their broad, wide paws. Additionally, in rocky seas, their paws provided stability.
The most prevalent locations for polydactyl cats are Western England, Wales, Canada, and the Eastern United States. Their predominance in these areas is frequently attributed to their time spent on transcontinental ships. It is thought that cats with polydactyles in England were brought over the Atlantic Ocean, where they mated with cats without the characteristic and spread it genetically.
- Polydactyl cats were beloved by Ernest Hemingway
Have you ever wondered why Hemingway cats, which are polydactyl cats, are commonly used as examples? Because Ernest Hemingway adored them, that is. Ernest Hemingway fell deeply in love with polydactyl cats after receiving Snow Ball, a white one, as a gift from a ship’s captain.
His Key West, Florida home was turned into a museum and a place for his cherished cats after he passed away in 1961. About 50 descendants of the original pack of cats now live in the cat colony, and about half of them are polydactyl.
- The Maine Coon Cats Had a High Rate of the Condition
Maine coon cats have huge, insulated paws that act as tiny, built-in snow boots since they evolved in Maine’s harsh, snowy circumstances. Additionally, polydactyly was fortunately rather widespread in the breed at one point, with roughly 40% of Maine coons having additional fingers. Why is it fortunate? Maine coons’ polydactyly provided them larger, wider paws with more insulation to help them navigate the cold terrain.
Although polydactyly has been bred out of many Maine coon cats in modern times, some cat enthusiasts still acknowledge the polydactyl Maine coon breed.
- One Cat Has the Most Toes in the World
The record for having the most toes is now held by Jake, a polydactyl ginger tabby, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Jake has seven toes on each paw and a whopping 28 toes, each with its own claw, pad, and bone structure.
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