7 Fascinating Facts About Polydactyl Cats

7 Fascinating Facts About Polydactyl Cats

Polydactyl cats are simply cats with extra toes. The name comes from the Greek word for "many fingers". The extra toes have led to multiple nicknames like "mitten cats", "boxing cats", "snowshoe cats", "thumb cats", "Hemingway cats", and the list goes on.

No matter what name you call them their paws are a little different and by different, I mean adorable. A typical cat has 18 total toes on their front and back paws, five on each front paw and four on the backs. However, the record holder has an astounding 28 toes.

Have you ever wondered if those extra toes make the cat different from other felines? Well, we found some fascinating facts about these special cats and want to share them with you.

Considered Lucky

Sailors viewed these extra-toed felines as lucky, and many were seen aboard ships around the world. In addition to being able to better balance on the high seas, they were believed to be better mousers.

Are they rare?

Not really. Even if you have never seen or have been owned by a polydactyl, they are actually rather common. While technically viewed as a flaw, the large paws and extra toes are adored by cat lovers.

Are Certain Cat Breeds More Prone To Be Polydactyl?

It is more common for Maine Coon cats to have extra toes, but any cat breed can be polydactyl. The gender and color of the cat doesn't seem to play a role either.

Extra Toes Are Generally On Front Paws

Rover shared that "More than 60% of polydactyl cats have extra toes on their front paws only. Extra toes on the back paws are rarer, and only about 10% of polydactyl cats have more extra toes on their back feet than on their front feet."

Cats with extra toes on all four paws are extremely rare but can occur.

Caused By Genetic Mutation

Polydactyl cats have extra toes due to a genetic mutation that is passed down from a parent. There is a 40-50% chance of a kitten being born with extra toes if one of the parents is polydactyl.

Loved By Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway, famous author and cat lover, loved mitten paw cats. There are still numerous polydactyl cats at his home in Key West, Florida, with many being descendants of his beloved polydactyl Maine Coon named Snow White.

The cats roam the grounds greeting tourists and are cared for by the museum staff. They even have their own Instagram page, which you must follow.

Excellent Climbers (sometimes)

The extra toes are thought to be a benefit to the feline, but not all agree. While some polydactyl cats use their extra toes to enhance their balance and natural climbing ability, others are clumsier.

These felines are just as healthy as other cats and can live a long and normal life. The only difference is there are more nails to trim. Be sure to share a photo of your polydactyl cat in the comments.

Cats are mysterious animals that we still don't fully understand. Learn more about our furry friends in the articles below.

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Andrea Powell

Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast who resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.

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