This is about polydactyl cat record holders. I’ve heard of three polydactyl cats, one of which, Jake, is the world record holder. He has been the world record holder for at least 10 years. Although, I don’t know whether Jake is alive at the date of this post. This record must apply to living or deceased cats I would have thought. The record is not restricted to just living polydactyl cats. That’s my interpretation of the Guinness World Records. Jake’s toes were counted by a veterinarian on 28 September 2002. Jake lives or lived in Bonfield, Ontario, Canada. His human caregivers are or were Michelle and Paul Contant. The toes were counted on September 24, 2002. Each toe had or has its own claw, pad and bone structure. Jake is or was a male ginger tabby cat.
Depending on whether Jake is still alive, he has/had 28 toes, 7 on each paw, a nice simple bit of maths. But what about some national champions? Well, I am not sure. But I would have thought 26 toes would get a cat a national championship. And I don’t think a cat can have 27 toes because that would mean one paw having 6 toes and the other 3 having 7 toes and I think that there has to be a symmetry (i.e. the same number of toes on each of the back or each of the front paws). If I am wrong, I’ll stand being corrected.
Note: a commenter on the Guinness World Records website states: “My cat has 29 claws total 8 on the back paws 7 on the front paw and 6 on the other front paw”. The person is referring to claws rather than toes and there is a difference because the dew claw is not on a toe based on my knowledge of the feline anatomy!
In fact, there are some interesting comments on the Guinness World Records webpage for this record. There are a number of people who say that their cat has 28 toes. Another states that their cat has 30 claws but that is not the same as toes because the dew claw does not count as a toe as I understand it.
Stephenie Joley states in a comment that her cat “has 28 toes”. This equals the world record and it seems to me that she is very believable. And this brings to point the arguable weakness of the world records. They depend upon the Guinness World Records being notified. A lot of people don’t bother to tell anybody and therefore there are records out there which are not recorded.
Some possible polydactyl cat record holders:
- Wales (UK) – a male cat living in Swansea, Wales (don’t have the cat’s name). The people who live with him are Mr & Mrs Thomas. This boy cat, rescued by the Mr & Mrs Thomas when he was a baby has 26 toes, 14 up front and 12 at the rear. Is he the Welsh champion? Probably yes, but please leave a comment if you see this post and know the answer.
- England (UK) – Coco another stray boy cat rescued from the streets of Dursley, Gloucestershire. He is another 26 toer; also, with 7 on each paw up front and 6 on each paw at the rear. He was picked up and cared for by Cats Protection a large cat charity in the UK and fostered. He has no doubt found a good home by now. He is a black cat too. Black cats are either good luck, bad luck or no difference, depending on your point of view. Is Coco the current English all comers champion?
A cat that I know that is polydactyl and who lived in the United States was Tootsie (now deceased). She lived with Valley Girl (I call her VG) and she has a blog associated with this website which is about cats, videos and Tootsie is there too. See VG’s Blog here.
Polydactylism is not unusual. The most famous are the Hemingway cats (see American Polydactyl cat). They are not a cat breed, however, unless bred specifically in the same way other genetic defects have been bred to create a breed (e.g. American Curl).
Polydactyly as it is sometimes called as opposed to polydactylism is what is called a congenital deformity (present at birth) and is nearly always no problem health wise. There is a bad version of it that causes twisted joints as well as extra toes, but this is rare. The usual number of toes is 5 on each paw at the front and 4 on each on the hind legs. People can have more than five fingers or toes. Gary Sobers a famous West Indian cricketer has 6 fingers on one hand. He had the extra one removed.
It may interest readers to note that the Premier cat Association in the USA, the Cat Fanciers’ Association, disqualify polydactyl Maine Coons in competition. They regard this as a defect which should not be encouraged. This is despite the fact that polydactylism is linked to the Maine Coon. It is said that the ships’ cats which brought the settlers over from Europe were often polydactyl because sailors thought that polydactyl cats were better on deck. These original longhaired cats eventually became Maine Coons. That is one of the accounts of the origin of the Maine Coon.