Normally, a cat has got just 18 toes: 5 of them are on each of the front paw while 4 of them on each of their rear paw. Polydactyl cats are a special type of cats that have extra number of toes on one or more of the paws. This trait is a genetically influenced anomaly called polydactyly or hyperdactyly.
There are several other things that escape the eyes besides the added figure which make these cats special and certainly interesting. In this edition I ventured to research and compile a few things you didn’t know about Polydactyl cats. So, are you ready to learn? In 5, 4, 3, 2 …1
#1: Polydactyly/hyperdactyly is a dominant and harmless mutation
Besides giving you an extra job when trimming your cat’s nails, this condition is certainly harmless and it does not make your pet weak or disadvantaged in any way. As a matter of fact, most people often find polydactyl cats attractive as the extra paw often takes after a thumb and this makes them even more playful and interesting to play with.
This trait is also a dominant trait. Thus, if just one of the parents has this condition, then close to half of the offspring will have the trait. So, if you really want to have one in your home, you will only need to get one of the parents with hyperdactyly and give it a try.
#2: Maine Coon has the highest number of polydactyl cats
Polydactyly is a common trait in Coon with just about 2 in every 5 cats in Maine Coon having the trait. Some researchers have also linked Maine to have been the cradle origin of the trait in America. On a keen examination, this state often experiences adverse cold temperatures and snow in its northern interior annually. This extended paw makes it easy for the cats to glide through ice (much like a kitty-snowshoe). Once more, this condition becomes so advantageous again.
#3: What is the highest number of toes ever recorded for a cat?
A Canadian kitten by the name Jake is the Guinness World Record holder for having had 28 toes. It had 7 toes of every paw which were perfectly functional; each of them complete with a claw, pad and a bone structure. Do you have one with more than that? Why not share it with us?
#4: Did you know that Polydactyly was a sign of good luck too?
In the ancient times, cats with many paws were thought of by the sailors to be a sign of good luck. These pancake-footed cats were thought to possess an upper hand when hunting mice and the sailors claimed their feet were also adapted to swimming as they could easily balance through water. Thus they were more preferred and reared in most Western Europe regions where most of them survive even to date. Do you think they still are?