An Eight Cat Family has 180 Toes

One of the things that the human finds most interesting about me is that I am a polydactyl cat. That means I have extra toes. Most cats have four full toes on their front paws and a dew claw. Then on their rear paws, they have four toes. That is what my sisfurs Jacey and Marley have, and before that, my brofur Pepe was the same way.

Because I am a polydactyl cat, I have an extra toe on my front paws and I also have a dew claw on my hind legs. I had to have the dew claws on my front paws removed because they kept getting ingrown and I would not let the human trim them.

Recently, a clowder of cats came in to the Cats Protection branch in Birmingham, United Kingdom.  And many of the felines in the clowder were polydactyl cats like me. But my furiends, they had far more toes than I do!

This Group of Polydactyl Cats Has 180 Toes
This Group of Polydactyl Cats Has 180 Toes

There were six kittens in this group. Of these six kittens, four of them were polydactyl cats. Most of them had six toes on each paw, but some of them even had seven toes. All told, this group had 180 toes among them. That is very close to the record for most toes among a group of polydactyl cats, which is 182!

This Polydactyl Cat Has Seven Toes
This Polydactyl Cat Has Seven Toes

Like me, these polydactyl cats have toes that stick out and which are very distinctive. “They’re definitely more pronounced and they stick out. They’re like boxing gloves,” said a human who adopted two of these cats.

Polydactylism in cats is a benign mutation. We polydactyl cats rarely need to be treated for our condition. I am an exception, but that is because my dew claw kept getting ingrown and even that was not too difficult for me to handle.

This trait is one that makes many humans seek us out. We are known as ship’s cats, because the extra toe helps us balance. Another name for polydactyl cats is Hemingway cats. That is because a ship’s captain gave famed author Ernest Hemingway a polydactyl cat and many of them live on the grounds of his estate.

I am glad I am the only polydactyl cat in the home and so is the human. Can you imagine how much trouble Jacey would get into if she had extra toes?

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