What is a cat with extra toes called?

The answer is in the illustration: polydactyl cat. As you see it is quite a popular search term on Google. So what is the origin of the word ‘polydactyl’? Well, you probably know that ‘poly’ means many and ‘dactyl’ means digit or finger, or in the case of cats ‘toes’.

What is a cat with extra toes called answer polydactyl cat

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The record-holding cat for the most toes was a cat named Jake and he has (or had) 28 toes, 7 on each paw, a nice simple bit of maths. He lives or lived in Ontario, Canada and is Guinness Book of Records certified. I am not sure if he is still alive, probably not as the record was from about 9 years ago or more.

However, in 2018, it was reported that a cat from Minnesota equalled the world record for the most number of toes on their paws. The cat is named Paws and he had 28 toes, three extra on each paw at the front and an extra on each of the paws at the back. Normally cats have a total of 18 toes with five toes on each forepaw and five toes on each hind paw.

The cat is or was owned by Jeanne Martin of Northfield, Minnesota. When her veterinarian trims the claws they don’t charge extra! She remarks that her cat’s paws look like a baseball’s catcher’s mitt. You know those large gloves that fielders use in American baseball which helps them catch the ball; well, I think you will agree that Paws’ paws looks similar!

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

You may also remember that polydactyl cats are often called Hemingway cats because there were lots of cats with extra toes living with Hemingway in and around his property on the Florida Keys. It is said that these cats were ships’ cats and they were ships cats because their extra toes made them better sailors! They were better able to keep stable on the deck of a rocking ship! It’s all legend and mystery but it sounds good.

Where do polydactyl cats come from?

Hemingway and cat. Photo in public domain.


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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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