Our New Polydactyl Arrival

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.


Associated page:

My loving guard cat Lia

Hi Kathy… nice to hear from you again. There are a couple of pages on poldactyl cats on PoC:

Polydactyl cats

American Polydactyl cat (opens in a new window)

Our New Polydactyl Arrival to Moggies

Comments for
Our New Polydactyl Arrival

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Aug 18, 2011 Polydactyl
by: Anonymous

Your new friend is definitely a Polydactyl. Some of mine have what look like unusual mittens with 3-4 toes on the “hand” side and 2-3 toes on the “thumb” side. Others have 6-7 toes spread all the way across the front of one paw. Some of those even have “mini” toes on the bottom of their feet in front of the little pad there. Two of my Polies have seven toes on each front paw and six toes on each back paw. Because of the way the back paw is narrower, the toes extend up the inner part of their legs, like budding branches. These also have the little toes on the bottoms of their feet and they are all fully functional. I was worried at first but the vet said if they don’t get caught on anything, leave them alone and so far, they have been fine…it has been over 7 years. I wouldn’t trade these wonderful cats for anything….who needs TV when you have a couple of these? Just sit back and enjoy!

Oct 19, 2010 upon further investigation
by: kathy

Upon further investigation our what we thought was a polydactyl cat I have found out she is not polydactyl. She is an 8 pawed cat. On the front she has a whole other paw attached to her main foot. She has the large back main pad with 3 whole toes complete with claws. So she has 7 toes. 4 on her main paw and 3 on the second smaller paw. The second paw on the back feet are much smaller. I dont know what this 8 pawed cat would be called. She truly is a miracle cat. She however likes to bully our kitten Quanah. I think because he is the only one smaller to her size. His eye is still getting better from her first big swat at him. Then she chased him all over the house the other day and he injured his leg. He is truly intimidated by her and it only took that one swat. She is intimidated by Lia but then hes twice as big as her. I have to watch her and protect my Lia from a swat from her huge feet. She hisses and growls at him still.

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