A Polydactyl Cat is one with a genetic mutation that causes cats to have multiple toes! They can have as many as 7 extra toes on one or all four feet. However,”Bandit” a black and white domestic short hair has beat those odds and has a total of 29 toes! Bandit is the unofficial title holder in the Guinness Book of World Records as the cat with the most toes. Now, you may wonder if a cat with this condition is debilitated at all, or has any problems with that many toes. And the answer is no; polydactyl cats get around just as well has non-polydactyl cats. Some kittens do take a bit longer learning how to walk and balance, but once they figure it out, they can walk, run, jump and play just as well as the next guy! In fact, some polydactyl cats have improved dexterity, using their extra digits as thumbs and opening latches, catching balls with one paw, etc… Cats with this condition are usually found on the East Coast of the United states and overseas in Southwest New England and Wales. They have been widely popular as ship cats and some would consider them good luck! Other names for these little guys are “boxing cats”, “mitten cat”, “Hemingway cat”, “snowshoe cat”, “cardi-cat”, “thumb cat”, “six-fingered cat” and “double-pawed cat”. Aren’t they cool? 🙂
The term “polydactyl” means many toes, it is a genetic mutation among felines that gives them extra toes on the front feet and sometimes even on the back. Normally, cats have 4 front toes and one declaw on the inside of their leg, a little bit above their toes. A polydactyl cat can appear to have mitten’s by having several extra dewclaws. Some cats can have 7-8 toes on each front foot!
Famous polydactyl cats live in Key West, Florida at the Ernest Hemmingway Museum. He brought a polydactyl cat to Florida, upon his ship, and a colony has been there ever since. Currently the museum has about 60 resident cats, about half of which are polydactyl.
For more info on the Hemmingway museum and their cats, visit: http://www.hemingwayhome.com/HTML/our_cats.htm
“Apollo” is a polydactyl kitten that was recently adopted from Frederick County Animal Control by one of our clients. He has 7 toes on each front foot and 5 toes on each back foot- a total of 24 toes in all (6 extra)!!!
Owners Paul and Michelle Contant of Ontario, Canada own the Guinness World record holder polydactyl cat. “Jake”has 28 toes, with 7 on each paw, as counted by a veterinarian on 24 September 2002.
For more info and pictures of polydactyl cats, visit: http://www.cat-breeds-info.com/polydactyl-cats.html