Click here to learn more.
Regular cats have five toes on their front feet and four on their back, for a total of 18. But polydactyl [pronounced pol-ee-dak-til] cats boast more toes, usually on their front feet.
If the word polydactyl sounds Greek to you, that’s because it is — the Greek root poly means "many" and daktylos means "digits or toes." The record holder for most toes was a kitty named Jake, who had a whopping 28.
Polydactyl cats are known by many names, from “Hemingway cat” and “mitten cat” to “big-foot cat” and “six-toed cat” — or even “cats with thumbs.”
New York veterinarian Dr. Arnold Plotnick of Manhattan Cat Specialists tells us a little more about polydactyl cats, including his own, Mittens.
Why do some cats have more toes than others?
Some cats have extra toes because they inherit a gene that codes for polydactylism. If one parent is polydactyl and one parent has normal feet, then 40 to 50 percent of the kittens will also be polydactyl.
What is thumb cat polydactyly?
Most polydactyl cats have extra toes that look like the other toes — there are just more of them. Thumb cat polydactyly is a condition where the first digit, or the dewclaw, is so large that it resembles a thumb. My cat, Mittens, has huge “thumbs” on both front feet.
Which cats are more likely to be polydactyl?
Right now, there’s no certain breed of cat that is more or less prone to being polydactyl. However, in the past, the original Maine Coon cats had a high incidence of polydactylism — about 40 percent.
Have you ever owned a polydactyl cat? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank You For Signing Up
for the Petwire newsletter, sending you all the pet news each week directly to your inbox.
Get the latest pet news, tips, tricks, and expert advice sent right to your inbox!
Groups are jumping in to care for and return home pets who were lost during the massive tornado in Moore, Okla.
Up until 1957, homing pigeons performed remarkable feats, like flying over open water, to send vital messages to…
From being approached too quickly by a stranger to guarding food, any number of situations could cause a dog to…
These ocean-themed placemats give you the perk of being surrounded by sea life, without any chance of seasickness.
You can almost hear them: "You go first." "No, you go first!" And the whole thing is set to…
With a coat that comes in more than 300 colors and patterns, the Oriental is an eye-catching feline.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.