Categories: Genetics

Can big cats be polydactyl?

Tiger paw size

Can big cats be polydactyl? The answer is probably, yes. Although, having read a lot about the big cats and all wild cat species and seen many photographs, I have not seen one polydactyl paw on any wild cat of any size or description. That does not mean that they don’t exist.

The only question that I have is whether the mutation which causes cats to be polydactyl is confined to domestic cats because of their evolution over about 10,000 years of domestication. I would doubt that this dominant mutated gene is confined to domestic cats and therefore I have to presume that it exists among wild cats in the wild.

A responder on the Quora.com website writes that polydactylism has been seen in lions and ‘panthers’ and other creatures outside the feline family. I can believe it but she does not present any hard evidence. And there is no reference to this well-known congenital condition being present in wild cat species in the best books that I have. Neither can I find, on a rather quick search online, a reference to this. All the references are in relation to domestic cats. Indeed it is only in reference to domestic cats that we read about polydactylism. If a visitor can point to a reference I’d be very grateful and will amend the page accordingly.

As mentioned, the lack of a reference online or in books is not conclusive as to the existence or otherwise of polydactylism in big cats. It’s simply creates a question mark in my mind. Sadly, there is no clean answer but logic dictates that it does exist amongst the big cats although perhaps very rarely.

Why are Maine Coons polydactyl?

Not all Maine Coons are polydactyl. The simple answer as to why Maine Coon cats have a tendency to have ...
Read More

Sansa, a polydactyl, odd-eyed cat with hyperesthesia abandoned by owner

Sansa is a really gorgeous New York City snow-white domestic cat. She is a standout cat not simply because of ...
Read More

Hemingway’s Key West house: 30 of 45 employees laid off

KEY WEST, MIAMI, FLORIDA, USA: Ernest Hemingway's Key West house is famous for its cats. He loved cats. The news ...
Read More

Why does polydactyly occur in cats?

Polydactylism occurs in cats because of a spontaneous genetic mutation ...
Read More

Where do polydactyl cats come from?

If you live in America it believed that polydactyl cats were brought to the country as ship's cats from England ...
Read More

Do polydactyl cats have problems?

Polydactyl cats have one problem which is untypical of domestic cats with the normal amount of toes. A polydactyl cat's ...
Read More

I’m getting a polydactyl kitten this week. Aside from extra toes, are there any other things I need to worry about?

A Quora.com visitors asks, "I’m getting a polydactyl kitten this week aside from extra toes, are there any other things ...
Read More
Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

Recent Posts

Legislation to end private big cat ownership in America passed in the House of Representatives

NEWS AND COMMENT: The Big Cat Public Safety Act is federal draft legislation which "prohibits…

6 hours ago

Tragedy in Lexington County, SC: 72-year-old feral colony caregiver killed during dispute over cats

A Lexington County, South Carolina feral colony caregiver was shot to death Thursday evening by…

13 hours ago

Veterinarian performs “humane declaw” against adoption contract

The Instagram post tells you what is happening. This is a "doctor", a veterinarian, who…

17 hours ago

16 facts about the Somali cat

Here are 16 facts about the one of the most attractive of all the purebred…

20 hours ago

Birdfeeder placement to help avoid attack by cats

I can think of two instances (but there are many more) of exposing, through good…

1 day ago

My neighbour’s cat asks to be let in all the time, so is he neglected?

It is not uncommon for neighbourhood cats to want to visit neighbour's homes. You won't…

1 day ago