by Kathy White
(Ingleside, Il. USA)
Last weekend we found a so called stray cat. My neighbor Bill (my fellow animal lover neighbor) kept asking me about a grey cat with white on it.
I’m sure you’re all familiar with our feral cat we call Mr. Grey. I kept thinking that he must be mistaking Mr. Grey for someone else. Well on Saturday my boyfriend Jeff called me outside telling me there was a kitten in our backyard.
My first thought was, “Please dear God we already have 4 cats please make it disappear…” When I went outside there it was a little grey and white cat meowing its little heart out. Then it ran away and I was thinking good she’s going home.
Then when I started to walk back into the house I heard it meowing loudly at my heel. Dear God I thought why me!!!! I picked it up for further inspection and sat down in my chair to check it out. Well first of all her ear was tipped so I figured she had gone through the spay and stay program. Upon further inspection besides her being totally dehydrated and skinny to the bone her feet were swollen very badly or so I thought.
Upon further inspection I realized she had polydactyl feet. I didn’t want to stress it too bad so I didn’t touch her feet. I immediately called Spay and Stay. I received a call back within minutes. We were told to take her Monday to have the chip scanned and so we did. WE got the number and called Spay and Stay with the number.
At this time we were unsure of its sex so we were calling it Ernest since she definitely was a so called Hemingway cat. This in Jeff’s favorite author so he was thrilled to be in the presence of one of these so called cats.
He kept telling me these cats are good luck and this is a good sign. Spay and Stay called me back with all the info. She had come from a trailer park (the nearest one being about 3 miles away). She had gone through their program last December 2009. So she had the works, fixed, shots, deworming, 3 yr rabies and was approximately 2 years old now. They called the caretaker who claimed that she lived on her porch. How she got to our neighborhood remains a mystery. The lady was glad she was safe and didn’t care less if we brought her back to live on her porch. So she now is comfortable in our cat cage.
She’s gaining weight little by little, drinking two bowls of water a day and eating her little heart out. Yesterday was claw cutting day so she of course was included and I was dying to examine those gigantic feet.
On the first foot I counted 6 claws. One was hidden in between the 4th and 5th pad. On the second foot she started to get a little stressed so I was gentle and only cut the ones I could get to. I did some research on polydactyl cats.
They seem to have a Celtic origin. And they were used as ships cats and represented good luck to sailors. There also are different types of polydacyl cats. Some just have extra dew claws where other have the pads and actually walk on them.
She definitely has the pads and seems to stand on all 6 pads. She also has them on all 4 feet. I have yet to examine the back feet. She’s taking a little while to get used to our cats. Our kitten, Qaunah, hissed at her and she walloped him with that huge paw. He seemed pretty shaken up and had his eye closed for a while. Being older I expect it to take her longer to adjust. We have started leaving the cage door open and she comes out a little bit now. She loves sitting on my lap in the morning when I’m home having my coffee.
Yesterday my son came over and he was holding her. He then went trap shooting and shot a perfect round! He came back afterward thanking her for his good luck. This morning she put her huge paw on my chest in the same manner she did yesterday when my son held her. I was thinking it’s going to be a good lucky day. Well we decided she’s not going back to that lady’s porch and we are not throwing her outside.
She seems to use the cage for her sanctuary and it has a high shelf, near a window where she can look out and right now she seems perfectly content. She gets a little stronger every day.
We decided to call her Mariel after the Hemingway actress. Any more info on these polydactyl cats would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Kathy… nice to hear from you again. There are a couple of pages on poldactyl cats on PoC:
American Polydactyl cat (opens in a new window)