An Eight Cat Family has 180 Toes

This Group of Polydactyl Cats Have 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?

Things to Love about Polydactyl Cats

Hello, everyone.  Today I want to have a little fun.  As you know, I am a diabetic cat, a bengal cat, and a polydactyl cat.  That makes me a very unique cat!  I recently told you some interesting things about polydactyl cats.

Well, one of the people at Catster decided that just knowing interesting things about polydactyl cats wasn’t enough.  She decided that she had to highlight the things she loves about us.  And she certainly knows about polydactyls, since she is in Maine.  The Maine Coon is one breed that is well known for having cats with extra toes

Well, here are my thoughts on what she loves about us polydactyl cats:

  • We have built in snowshoes.  She says that snowshoe cats do not have anything on polydactyl cats.  Well, she probably is right, but just because we can walk in the snow does not mean we want to.  When my human lived in Maryland, I would touch that cold white stuff and turn around and go back inside.  Now that I am a southern California cat, the idea of snow and me is just not something I want to Bagheera the Diabetic Cat as a mitten kittenentertain!
  • We are really cute as kittens.  My human called me his tiny little mitten kitten when he first got me.  I will let you judge for yourself whether I was cuter than the average kitten because of my extra toes.
  • Polydactyl cats have more feet to massage.  This sounds like a good thing, but I do not like my human fussing with my feet.  If he does, I will swipe at him and bite him, so he doesn’t do it much.
  • We give you lots of nail trimming practice.  Now this is funny to me.  My human trimming my nails?  Forget it.  As a diabetic cat, I am used to getting my blood sugar levels tested.  Let’s just say that if my human tried to trim my nails, he would be able to do the same with his blood.  There is a good reason for this and it highlights the downside of being a polydactyl cat.  My dew claws got ingrown, and it bothered me.  So I did not like my human messing with my paw or my nails.  He eventually had the dew claws removed so that it would not cause me any pain.
  • Bagheera the Diabetic Cat's extra toeWe can use our extra toes like thumbs.  Yes we can.  And I do things that amaze my human’s friends.  I have even been able to pick up pens and pencils and hold them between my first finger and my thumb, just like you humans.  Give me enough time and I will learn to write, and then my human is in big trouble.

What do you humans think of these things?  Are they more reasons to love us polydactyl cats?

I have always been a special cat because of my extra toes.  Now, as a diabetic cat, I’m extra special!

Interesting Facts About Polydactyl Cats

Is everyone having a good Sunday Funday?  I hope you are.  Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I’m not just a diabetic cat, but I am also a polydactyl cat.  Yes, I am a mitten kitten, Hemingway cat, or a poly.  And my thumbs are semi-opposable.  I use them more as pincers, but they allow me to pick up things and do things that amuse my human.

Bagheera the Diabetic Cat's right paw with the extra toeWell, except when he has to do what humans who take care of diabetic cats do with the ear sticks for blood testing and shots of insulin.  Then I am not happy with him, and those extra toes come in handy in expressing this.

There are many things that people do not know about polydactyls like me.  Courtesy of Catster, here are some interesting facts about polydactyls:

  • Polydactyly comes from a genetic abnormality.  Most cats have 18 toes, with four regular toes and a dew claw on the front and four toes in the rear.  In my case, I had five full toes with a dew claw on the front, and four regular toes and a dew claw on my rear toes.  My human had the front dew claws removed because they were always becoming ingrown.
  • The term polydactyl comes from Greek.  It’s a combination of the word poly, meaning many, and daktylos, meaning digits.
  • The term Hemingway cat comes from a gift of a white polydactyl cat to the famed writer.  A ship’s captain gave a white polydactyl cat to Ernest Hemingway, wBagheera the Diabetic Cat's fellow polydactyls at the Hemingway homeho may have been the ultimate cat guy.  He had as many as 50 cats, and around half of them were polydactyls.  If you visit the Hemingway home in Key West, you will see some of Snowball’s descendents.
  • The most toes on record for a cat was 28.  He is an orange and white tabby from Canada.  There are rumors of a cat with 32 toes.  However, there are no pictures of this cat, who was called Mickey Mouse.  And it’s possible he had double paws, which is different than polydactyly.
  • Many Maine Coons are polydactyls.  It only makes sense.  Having that extra toe helps get through the snow that is prevalent where Maine Coons originated.  At one point, up to 40 percent of these cats were polydactyls.  Polydactyly is an accepted breed trait for Maine Coons at cat shows.
  • Mariners used to consider polydactyl cats good luck.  Our extra toes helped us balance in rough seas, and they also were rumored to make us better mousers.  Our travels on ships may explain why you can find us in so many places.

My extra toes are why my human has said that I’ve always been a special cat.  Since I was diagnosed as a diabetic cat, he says we just added “needs” into there.

And now you know why polydactyl cats like me are special!