Some pals of mine have a polydactyl cat named Dougus, whom I affectionately name “The Feet.” He definitely earns the title: With six feet on every foot, he’s neatly above reasonable — and he’s off the charts in just right appears and beauty as neatly.

Polydactyly isn’t ordinary in cats, so Dougus is infrequently on my own in his freaky awesomeness. Listed here are 5 attention-grabbing information about six-(or-more)-toed cats.

1. Polydactyly is a genetic abnormality

Polydactyl cat Owen.

Owen, a polydactyl cat. Images courtesy Annie Butler Shirreffs.

Depend your kitty’s feet. Odds are she has a complete of 18, with 5 feet on every entrance paw and 4 on every rear. In case your kitty is polydactyl, alternatively, she would possibly have as many as 8 feet on any given paw. The phrase is Greek in foundation, with “poly” which means “many” and “daktylos” which means “digits.”

Maximum polydactyl cats have further feet on their entrance paws, which now and again resemble thumbs and make your kitty glance as regardless that she’s dressed in lovable mittens. Those further digits don’t seem to be opposable, because of this your polydactyl cat will be unable to begin feeding herself at Five a.m.

2. Polydactyl cats are sometimes called Hemingway cats

When a boat captain gave a white polydactyl cat named Snowball to creator Ernest Hemingway, the captain kicked off an attractive improbable obsession for one in every of historical past’s maximum prolific cat guys. At Hemingway’s island house off Key West, FL, he gathered greater than 50 cats, virtually part of whom had further feet. Due to his obsession, lately polydactyls are steadily referred to as “Hemingway cats.”

As Catster’s Dorian Wagner did, you’ll be able to talk over with the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, the place the cat colony nonetheless flourishes — and one of the kitties are descendants of Snowball, Hemingway’s authentic polydactyl.

Bonus reality: Polydactyl cats are this type of giant deal that they’ve made it the entire technique to the White Area: President Theodore Roosevelt had a six-toed first kitty named Slippers.

3. The sector file for essentially the most feet on a cat is 28

The Web can’t agree on which polydactyl kitty in truth has essentially the most feet. In step with Guinness Records, the name belongs to Jake, a ginger tabby from Canada. He boasts seven feet on every paw, for a grand general of 28. Every toe has its personal claw, pad, and bone construction.

The rumor mill additionally tells of a 32-toed cat named Mickey Mouse who lived within the ’70s. However as an alternative of polydactyly, he would possibly have had a situation referred to as “double paws,” during which every paw is in truth made out of two fused mirror-image paws. Having further feet is difficult!

4. Polydactyly is not unusual in Maine Coons

Traditionally, polydactyly used to be an invaluable trait for Maine Coon cats. For a breed originating in snowy Maine, doublewide paws with further digits functioned as herbal snowshoes. At one time, as many as 40 % of all Maine Coons had further feet. Even though the trait is not as important within the breed, Maine Coon polydactyls are nonetheless known as an respectable breed by means of many cat fanciers.

5. Polydactyl cats have been as soon as thought to be just right success at sea

Again within the day, polydactyl cats were given their sea legs by means of accompanying fishermen on many trips. They usually earned their stay — they have been rumored to be very good mouse hunters, and their further feet gave them higher stability on ships that encountered tough waters. The cats’ many travels would possibly give an explanation for their fashionable presence lately, predominantly in america, Canada, England and Wales.

Thumbnail: Picture CC-BY Flickr user brownpau. Some changes will have been made to suit the specs of this website online. 

This piece used to be at the beginning printed in 2013.

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