It may be new to see cats with unbelievably enormous feet or extra toes. Quite strange, but you have to believe it. There are hundreds and thousands of them in the world. A cat blocks away from your house can be one of them, too.
Those felines with extra toes are called polydactyl cats, born with excess toes more than the normal count that makes these cats appear to have such big feet! This condition has been quite widespread all throughout the world and is most common in the US, England, and Wales.
Polydactylism is not a defect among cats but is more to be a genetic abnormality or condition called feline radial hypoplasia.
It is mostly found on front paws, but it is rare for a cat to have polydactyl hind paws. Polydactylism in all four paws comes also in rarest times. This condition is inherited and cats with polydactylism should be neutered or spayed to prevent passing it on to the next generation.
The Charm of Big Feet
Though polydactylism among cats can be quite a rare physical abnormality, this condition has even made cats cuter and more special. Such abnormality makes cats look like they have opposable thumbs. Yet conditions can be quite different also.
Some cats may tend to have “mitten paws” in which extra toes grew on the medial side of the paw. Other conditions may tend to be cats having only large feet which are termed “snowshoe paws” and “pancake feet”.
This turned out to be some sort of a beautiful slip of fate to those cats with polydactylism since they are actually seen as a lucky charm by other people, especially seafarers and fishermen. They believed polydactyl cats are more capable of climbing posts and catching mice with such extra toes they have.
Polydactyl Cats Personality
Despite having this kind of abnormality, polydactyl cats tend to be a bit luckier than the average normal cats. Why? Because aside from the special attention they got, (though polydactyl or not, your cats should be treated specially in any way) having extra toes has enabled them to do amazing stunts like opening windows and latches.
Cats with such conditions have learned to manipulate their extra toes and that they are using them for special purposes.
Since polydactyly is not a defect, but a plain abnormal genetic mutation itself, polydactyl cats may tend to face common cat health issues other normal cats also faced. This includes the most common issues like dental and kidney diseases, so proper cat care and hygiene are always a must.
And of course, you don’t wanna miss giving them their regular health checkups and proper feeding – that is always part of the process to make our kitties go even beyond nine lives. The only problem you may possibly face having polydactyl cats could be the placement and growth of their nails.
Always keep an eye on it and proper nail trimming is always advised to avoid serious injuries.
Polydactyl Cat Fun Facts
Polydactyl cats have all the amazing characteristics and history that made them into really interesting creatures.
- Good Luck at the Sea
As depicted by folklore, polydactyl cats are good luck at the sea which is why seafarers and fishermen tend to bring them in their ships on their voyages on the open water.
- They are Hemmingway’s Cats
Famous writer, Ernest Hemingway, a cat lover himself, collected 50 cats and almost half of them are polydactyls. His lovely obsession has led to the rising popularity of such adorable kitties.
- A Guinness World Record Holder
Jake, a ginger tabby, has seized worldwide recognition with his most outnumbered toes – surprisingly 28 in total! He has 7 toes on each of his paws with his own bone structure, claw, and pad each.
- This condition is generally harmless
You don’t have to be bothered when you got a cat with this physical abnormality. It’s completely harmless.
- Polydactylism is common among Maine Coon cats
Maine Coons are more likely to experience such conditions compared to other cat breeds. Almost half of the breed’s population has been said to have extra toes.
Polydactyl or not, all cats should be given a keen watch on their body condition to promote long, healthy life. Regular veterinary care, which includes treatments and vaccinations, always has to be part of your routine.
If you got a polydactyl cat, neutering or spaying is one effective move. It does not only stop passing on the abnormality to the next generations but as well as solves the national crisis of the rising feral cat population.
As cat owners, we are all part of the circle of promoting a better life and compassion for such beautiful creatures in the world.