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polydactyl

Okay, as you might have guessed, that’s just an exaggerated description of this multi-toed feline animal. Learn more about it, and you’ll know they are not that weird after all – unless they “meow” differently, then that’s a whole different ball game.

Polydactyl cats? Polycats? Mitten/thumb cats? Hemingway cats? Do you have a special cat with extra toes it treads lightly on? Or gets into mischief with? You’d be interested to know that these cats are born with more toes on their paws as a result of a genetic mutation.

Where Polydactyl cats come from?
The exact history of the cats is not known although they made their first appearance in the U.S., England, Nova Scotia and Asia around the seventeenth century. Because they looked somewhat odd, the cat was a castaway associated with witches and killed as a result.

When people began to get used to them, they started to believe polydactyls were good luck, especially from sailors because the cats were extraordinary mousers and hunters, and were often transported on ships. This is how the polydactyl made its way from Europe to the US.

How many of these cats are out there?
The north-eastern part of the US has more polydactyl cats than anywhere else. This is because the Puritans introduced the cat to Boston, Massachusetts. Polydactyl cats are most common in the Main Coon breed.

Are there any health concerns of the Polydactyl?
Not really. Some polydactyl cats show balance and dexterity issues when they are young because of their extra toes, but in the long run they develop physically at the same rate as their friends.

But they still require some extra care, especially their claws. Because it is possible for the nails to experience overgrowth, make sure they are trimmed on a regular basis. This way you can be certain that they will not grow into the paw pad.