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are 7 toed cats rare

by Jarret Hettinger Published 8 months ago Updated 1 month ago
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How Rare Are Cats With Seven Toes?

  • Genetics, Not Bad Breeding Because extra toes are a bit of an abnormality, there's a mindset that there's "bad" breeding involved with polydactyl cats. ...
  • Geographic Concentration Although you don't come across a six- or seven-toed cat every day, it's not particularly rare. ...
  • Maine Coon Cats Polydactylism is a genetic trait, not a breed. ...
  • A Little Unusual, Not Rare ...

Various combinations of anywhere from four to seven toes per paw are common. Polydactyly is most commonly found on the front paws only; it is rare for a cat to have polydactyl hind paws only, and polydactyly of all four paws is even less common.

Full Answer

What kind of cat has 7 toes on each paw?

Polydactyl cat. One of the polydactyl cats at the Ernest Hemingway House in Key West, Florida. This particular cat has 7 (2 extra) toes on each paw.

Is it worth it for a cat to have extra toes?

It may come as a surprise, but a cat with extra toes is worth the same as a cat with the normal number of toes. Extra toes provide a cat no benefit and no real downfall (aside from a few extra claws to trim).

How rare is a seven-toed cat?

The bottom line is that a seven-toed cat is unusual, but not rare. However, it's Mittens' personality and relationship with you that makes her rare and wonderful, no matter how many toes she has.

Do polydactyl cats have extra toes?

Some cats, known as polydactyls, have extra toes. If you have one of these cats, she possesses a rather common trait among cats. Because extra toes are a bit of an abnormality, there's a mindset that there's "bad" breeding involved with polydactyl cats.

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How rare is it for a cat to have 7 toes?

The bottom line is that a seven-toed cat is unusual, but not rare. However, it's Mittens' personality and relationship with you that makes her rare and wonderful, no matter how many toes she has.

What kind of cat has 7 toes?

Polydactyl cats are born with more than the usual number of toes on their paws. While most cats have five toes on their front paws and four toes on their back paws, polydactyl cats can have six (or more) on each paw.

Are polydactyl cats worth money?

The price of a polydactyl cat can vary widely. In most cases, this breed can range anywhere from $600 to as much as $13,00. The price will greatly depend on the marking, its parents, the type, bloodline, the breeder and the quality.

Why does my cat have 7 claws?

Polydactylism is Hereditary Cats with extra toes have them because of a genetic mutation that often results in a dominant gene being shared down a family tree. If one parent is polydactyl, odds are good that at least some of their children will also be polydactyl.

Are polydactyl cats inbred?

Polydactyl cats are not inbred, this is simply a genetic condition passed down from one of your kitten's parents. Though it may not be a big deal for your kitten, it's best to talk to your vet to see if they think any treatment is needed to keep your cat healthy and happy.

Are polydactyl cats more friendly?

They can be mischievous, playful, skittish or friendly. In most cases, there are no additional personality traits that set these cats apart. However, those extra toes can give them an advantage over their eighteen toed relatives.

Are black polydactyl cats rare?

With their extra toes, polydactyl cats do indeed look unique. Their extra toes can make it appear as if the cats have thumbs or like they are wearing mittens. Pretty cute! However, polydactyl cats are not exceedingly rare.

Do polydactyl cats have health problems?

Are there any health issues associated with polydactyl cats? Polydactyl cats are generally healthy and have an average life span. But those extra toes can grow at unusual angles and cause problems with the cat's claws and skin on the foot.

What breed is a polydactyl?

The American Polydactyl cat can be found across breeds. Born with a congenital physical anomaly known as polydactylism, these cats have more than the normal amount of toes on their paws....AMERICAN POLYDACTYL CAT.WEIGHT RANGE10-20 poundsCOAT COLORSDepends on the breed. Can be any coat color.4 more rows

Do polydactyl cats need extra care?

Most polydactyls get around just fine with multiple toes and don't require special care. However, polydactyls' nails do need regular trimming, as they can become ingrown, causing pain and infection. Have your vet inspect your cat's paws regularly to see whether there are any issues related to his extra digits.

What is so special about polydactyl cats?

Polydactyl cats have more than the usual number of toes on one or more of their paws. These kitties are born with an abnormal, dominant genetic mutation called polydactylism. While the polydactyl cat's appearance is quite unique, the polydactyl gene is somewhat common.

Can polydactyl cats pick things up?

Other Names for Polydactyl Cats Some polydactyl felines have an extra digit on the side of their front paws, which acts like an opposable human thumb. It's been said that these kitties can use their paws to perform amazing stunts, such as picking things up, opening latches and windows, and even opening cabinet doors.

What kind of cat has extra toes?

Polydactyl cats have more than the usual number of toes on one or more of their paws. These kitties are born with an abnormal, dominant genetic mutation called polydactylism. While the polydactyl cat's appearance is quite unique, the polydactyl gene is somewhat common.

How common are cats with extra toes?

Polydactyly, also known as hyperdactyly or hexadactyly, is passed down as an autosomal dominant trait, meaning 40 to 50% of a litter is likely to be born with extra toes if just one of the parents is polydactyl.

How many toes do Maine Coons have?

A number of toes: Polydactyl Maine Coon cats: Usually have between 6-7 toes on each paw. If a cat has extra toes, they will always have the same number of extra toes on each side.

How much is a Hemingway cat worth?

What's the Price of American Polydactyl Kittens? If you are searching for American Polydactyl kittens for sale you must know they can cost quite a bit—ranging from $500 to $1,300, depending on a few different factors.

How many toes do cats have on their back paws?

When it comes to polydactyl cats —or cats born with more than the usual number of toes on their paws—the extra toes just compound the cuteness. While most cats have five toes on their front paws and four toes on their back paws, polydactyl cats can have six (or more!) on each paw. Although polydactyly, a genetic abnormality ...

Who has the most toes?

One Cat Holds the World Record for Most Toes. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, a polydactyl ginger tabby named Jake holds the world record for the most toes. 3 Clocking in at a whopping 28 toes, Jake had seven toes on each paw—with each toe having its own claw, pad and bone structure.

What causes a cat to have a lot of toes on its paws?

Polydactyly Is Caused by a Genetic Mutation. Polydactyly is caused by a genetic mutation in a dominant gene and usually results in the formation of anywhere between four to seven toes on a kitty’s paws.

Why are polydactyl cats called Hemingway cats?

Have you ever wondered why polydactyl cats are sometimes referred to as Hemingway cats? Well, it’s because Ernest Hemingway loved them. After he was gifted a white, polydactyl cat named Snow Ball by a ship’s captain, Ernest Hemingway developed a serious affection for these multi-toed kitties.

What are some interesting facts about polydactyl cats?

7 Amazing Facts About Polydactyl Cats. Christina Donnelly is a freelance writer and animal welfare advocate. She’s worked in the digital media industry for over a decade. Sarah Scott is a fact checker and researcher.

Where are polydactyl cats found?

Polydactyl cats are most commonly found in Western England, Wales, Canada, and the Eastern United States , and their prevalence in those regions is often credited to their days on trans-continental ships.

Can polydactyl cats be cute?

Polydactyly Can Actually Benefit Some Cats. Polydactyl cats’ toes aren’t just cute —they provide some benefits to kitties, too. Because polydactyl cats have wider, larger paws, they’re better able to balance on various surfaces, climb, hunt, and capture their prey.

How many toes does a cat have?

Normal cats have a total of 18 toes, with five toes on each fore paw, and four toes on each hind paw; polydactyl cats may have as many as nine digits on their front or hind paws. Both Jake, a Canadian polydactyl cat, and Paws, an American polydactyl cat, were recognised by Guinness World Records as having the highest number of toes on a cat, 28.

Where do polydactyl cats live?

The condition seems to be most commonly found in cats along the East Coast of North America (in the United States and Canada) and in South West England, Wales and Kingston-upon-Hull. Polydactyl cats have been extremely popular as ship's cats. Although there is some controversy over whether the most common variant of the trait originated as a mutation in New England or was brought there from Britain, there seems to be agreement that it spread widely as a result of cats carried on ships originating in Boston, Massachusetts, and the prevalence of polydactyly among the cat population of various ports correlates with the dates when they first established trade with Boston. Contributing to the spread of polydactyl cats by this means, sailors were long known to value polydactyl cats especially for their extraordinary climbing and hunting abilities as an aid in controlling shipboard rodents. Some sailors thought they bring good luck at sea. The rarity of polydactyl cats in Europe may be because they were hunted and killed due to superstitions about witchcraft.

What is a polydactyl cat?

A polydactyl cat is a cat with a congenital physical anomaly called polydactyly (or polydactylism, also known as hyperdactyly), which causes the cat to be born with more than the usual number of toes on one or more of its paws.

Why did sailors value polydactyl cats?

Contributing to the spread of polydactyl cats by this means, sailors were long known to value polydactyl cats especially for their extraordinary climbing and hunting abilities as an aid in controlling shipboard rodents. Some sailors thought they bring good luck at sea.

When did polydactyl cats come to the Boston area?

An article from Cornell University's Cat Watch (1998) looked at studies done on polydactyl cats from the 1940s to the 1970s, and tentatively concluded that the trait probably initially occurred in cats who came over from England to the Boston area with the Puritans in the mid 1600s.

What does a circle on a cat's front paw mean?

Right front paw of a polydactyl cat. Circles represent digits. The circle with a question mark indicates what might be a separate digit. The rightmost circle is for a small, underdeveloped, clawless digit.

Who was the first cat to be given to the world?

Nobel Prize -winning author Ernest Hemingway was a famous aficionado of polydactyl cats, after being first given, by a ship captain, a six-toed cat he named Snow White.

How many toes does a cat have?

Cats can have several extra toes on each foot, though they are more likely to have them on their front paws than they are to have them on their hind paws. Extra toes on both forepaws and hind paws is even rarer, research says. 4 A Canadian ginger tabby cat named Jake with seven toes on each paw — 28 in total — holds the Guinness World Record for "most toes on a cat." Each digit has its own claw, pad, and bone structure.

Why do cats have extra toes?

The condition that causes a cat to have extra toes is caused by a genetic mutation, albeit not usually a harmful or unhealthy one. Polydactyly, also known as hyperdactyly or hexadactyly, is passed down as an autosomal dominant trait, meaning 40 to 50 percent of a litter is likely to be born with extra toes if just one of the parents is polydactyl. 1 Although the congenital physical anomaly is usually harmless, it can also be a side effect of other genetic conditions like feline radial hypoplasia, which can cause underdeveloped or twisted forelegs, disabling the cat. 2

What are the different types of polydactyly?

There are three kinds of polydactyly: Postaxial is where the extra digits are on the exterior (pinky) side, preaxial is where the extra digits are on the medial side, and mesoaxial (very rare) is where extra digits are central in the hand or foot. 1  Cats with postaxial and mesoaxial polydactyly are often said to have "snowshoe paws" or "pancake feet" because of their wide-set paws. Cats with preaxial polydactyly, on the other hand, are called "mitten cats" or "thumb cats" because their spare toes have a thumb-like appearance. Of course, they still aren't opposable.

Why do cats have more than 5 paws?

This scenario is common (at least among the feline variety) and is actually caused by a genetic mutation. However, said mutation doesn't hinder the cat — in fact, it's believed to make them especially cute and, historically, good luck.

Why are cats called "mitten cats"?

Cats with preaxial polydactyly, on the other hand, are called "mitten cats" or "thumb cats" because their spare toes have a thumb-like appearance. Of course, they still aren't opposable. 4. Their Extra Toes Can Be an Asset. Daniel Dragoun / EyeEm / Getty Images.

Where did polydactyl cats come from?

There are a couple theories on where polydactyl cats originated. Some say they all descended from the Maine coon cat, native to North America (particularly the northeastern state after which it's named), while others say these extra-toed animals were brought over by English Puritans in the 1600s.

Is polydactyly a genetic mutation?

Learn more about these extra extremities — such as how many the Guinness World Record holder has — and how they may impact the life of your cat. 1. Polydactyly Is a Genetic Mutation.

1. Polydactyly Is a Genetic Mutation

Polydactyly is indeed a genetic mutation. It is a simple autosomal dominant trait. Cats with extra toes carry the dominant gene. If one parent has polydactylism, some kittens will inherit extra toes too.

2. The Condition Is Usually Harmless

Polydactylism is usually harmless. The most common polydactyly have well-formed extra toes. Other cats may have an enlargement that looks like an extra thumb. These types of polydactyly are harmless.

3. Some Polydactyl Cats Have 'Mittens'

Polydactyl cats may appear to have mittens due to the extra thumbs. This is the most common form of polydactyly. Typically, polydactyl cats have one or two extra toes on each front foot.

4. Polydactyl Cats Without 'Mittens' Appear to Simply Have Large Feet

Polydactyl cats without mittens have extra toes but they do not protrude out as much. These cats appear to simply have large feet.

5. Extra Toes May Not Be an Asset for a Cat

Some believe that polydactyl cats carry advantage by having extra toes. However, veterinarians often state that polydactylism offers no advantages or disadvantages.

6. Polydactyl Cats Are More Common in Certain Parts of the World

Polydactyl cats are more common in certain parts of the world. You'll likely find these extra-toed cats in the US and the UK.

7. Sailors Believed Many-Toed Cats Were Good Luck

Domesticated cats became domesticated because of their abilities to keep mice at bay. Cats help to save food and supplies from foraging mice, and cats get a nice meal—it's a win-win!

How many toes does a polydactyl cat have?

Polydactyl cats may have one, two or even three extra toes on each paw. The cat that currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most toes, a Canadian cat named Jake, had a total of 28 toes on all four paws. The extra toes of a polydactyl cat usually appear next to the cat’s dewclaw.

What does it mean when a cat has more than one toe?

However, some cats are born with more than the usual number of toes. This phenomenon is known as polydactylism or polydactyly. The word polydactyl is derived from the Greek words “poly” (many) and “dactylos” (finger). Simply put, polydactyl means extra digits (extra fingers or toes). People are fascinated by polydactyl cats.

Why is Hemingway's cat called Snow White?

Polydactyl cats are sometimes called “Hemingway cats.”. This is because American author Ernest Hemingway owned a polydactyl cat, a white cat aptly named Snow White. Hemingway’s cat interbred with local cats, resulting in many polydactyl cats running about the grounds of his home.

How old do polydactyl cats live?

The life span of polydactyl cats is the same as that of normal-toed cats. Many cats, including polydactyl cats, can live to be 12 to 15 years old or even older.

Where are the extra toes on a cat?

The extra toes of a polydactyl cat usually appear next to the cat’s dewclaw. The dewclaw is a smaller digit on the inside of the paw that grows higher up on the “wrist” than the other toes. The dewclaw is sort of like the cat equivalent of a thumb, although it doesn’t function like a human thumb.

What causes polydactylis in cats?

Polydactylism is caused by a genetic mutation. It is a simple autosomal dominant trait, which means just one parent needs to carry the gene for it to be potentially passed on to the kittens. If the mother or father cat has the genetic mutation, each kitten in the litter about a 50 percent chance of being polydactyl, too.

Where are polyactyl cats found?

For some reason, a higher number of polyactyl cats are found in the Northeastern United States. Polydactyl cats can be any color, be male or female, and have any coat type.

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Quotes

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Theres nothing cuter than a kittys paws, right? When it comes to polydactyl catsor cats born with more than the usual number of toes on their pawsthe extra toes just compound the cuteness. While most cats have five toes on their front paws and four toes on their back paws, polydactyl cats can have six (or more!) on each paw.
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Genetics

  • Although polydactyly, a genetic abnormality that results in extra digits, is more common in certain geographic regions of the world, it can affect any breed of cat, male or female, big or small. Read on to learn more about the genetic factors that contribute to polydactyly, and to check out some adorable photos of polydactyl cats.
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Cause

  • Polydactyly is caused by a genetic mutation in a dominant gene and usually results in the formation of anywhere between four to seven toes on a kittys paws. The front paws are most often affected by polydactyly, but it can also occur on the hind paws; its extremely rare for a cat to have polydactyly on all four paws.
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Health

  • For the most part, polydactyly is harmless to a cats health and wellness. It can make trimming your cats nails a bit more labor intensiveand if youve ever trimmed your cats nails, you know how difficult it is, to begin withbut otherwise, there are plenty of happy, healthy kitties with a few extra toes. Its important to note that feline radial hypoplasia, a condition that is often confused with p…
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Benefits

  • Polydactyl cats toes arent just cutethey actually provide some benefits to kitties, too. Because polydactyl cats have wider, larger paws, theyre better able to balance on various surfaces, climb, and hunt and capture their prey.
See more on thesprucepets.com

Prevention

  • If you have a polydactyl cat, be sure to buy her a scratching post or board. Those extra toes can seriously do a number on your furniture.
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Behaviour

  • With the help of their large, wide paws, polydactyl cats made excellent mousers and could keep the ships supplies vermin-free. Plus, their paws helped them balance on rocky seas.
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Geographic range

  • Polydactyl cats are most commonly found in Western England, Wales, Canada, and the Eastern United States, and their prevalence in those regions is often credited to their days on trans-continental ships. Its believed that polydactyl cats in England were transported across the Atlantic Ocean, where they bred with non-polydactyl cats and proliferated the genetic trait.
See more on thesprucepets.com

Trivia

  • Have you ever wondered why polydactyl cats are sometimes referred to as Hemingway cats? Well, its because Ernest Hemingway absolutely loved them. After he was gifted a white, polydactyl cat named Snow Ball by a ships captain, Ernest Hemingway developed a serious affection for these multi-toed kitties.
See more on thesprucepets.com

Death and legacy

  • After his death in 1961, his home in Key West, Florida was transformed into a museum and a home for his beloved cats. Currently, the kitty colony is home to about fifty descendants of his original pack of catsand about half of them are polydactyl.
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Evolution

  • Because Maine Coon cats originated in Maines harsh, snowy conditions, theyve evolved to have large, insulated paws that serve as tiny, built-in snow boots. And, lucky for Maine Coons, polydactyly was very common in the breedat one time, in fact, about 40% of Maine Coons had extra digits. Why's it lucky? Polydactyly gave Maine Coons larger, wider paws with more insulatio…
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Records

  • According to the Guinness Book of World Records, a polydactyl ginger tabby named Jake holds the world record for the most toes. Clocking in at a whopping 28 toes, Jake had seven toes on each pawand each toe had its own nail and pad.
See more on thesprucepets.com

Overview

A polydactyl cat is a cat with a congenital physical anomaly called polydactyly (or polydactylism, also known as hyperdactyly), which causes the cat to be born with more than the usual number of toes on one or more of its paws. Cats with this genetically inherited trait are most commonly found along the East Coast of North America (in the United States and Canada) and in South West England and

Occurrence

Polydactyly is a congenital abnormality that can be inherited in an autosomal dominant manner. Some cases of polydactyly are caused by mutations in the ZRS, a genetic enhancer that regulates expression of the sonic hedgehog (SHH) gene in the limb. The SHH protein is an important signalling molecule involved in patterning of many body elements, including limbs and digits.

History and folklore

The condition seems to be most commonly found in cats along the East Coast of North America (in the United States and Canada) and in South West England, Wales and Kingston-upon-Hull. Polydactyl cats have been extremely popular as ship's cats. Although there is some controversy over whether the most common variant of the trait originated as a mutation in New England or was brought there from Britain, there seems to be agreement that it spread widely as a result of cats …

Naming

Nicknames for polydactyl cats include Hemingway cats, mitten cats, conch cats, boxing cats, mitten-foot cats, snowshoe cats, thumb cats, six-fingered cats, and Cardi-cats. Two specific breeds recognized by some cat fancier clubs are the American Polydactyl and Maine Coon Polydactyl.

Breeding

American Polydactyl cats are bred as a specific cat breed, with specific physical and behavioral characteristics in addition to extra digits.
The American Polydactyl is not to be confused with the pedigree Maine Coon Polydactyl. The polydactyl form of the Maine Coon is being reinstated by some breeders.

Genetics

In the case of preaxial polydactyly of the Maine Coon cat (Hemingway mutant) a mutation of the cis-regulatory element ZRS (ZPA regulator sequence) is associated. ZRS is a noncoding element, 800 kilobasepairs (kb) remote to the target gene SHH. An ectopic expression of SHH is seen on the anterior side of the limb. Normally SHH is expressed in an organiser region, called the zone of polarizing activity (ZPA) on the posterior limb side. From there it diffuses anteriorly, laterally to th…

See also

• Polydactyly in early tetrapods
• Ship's cat
• Lil Bub
• Paddles

Further reading

• Chapman, V. A.; Zeiner, Fred N. (1961). "The anatomy of polydactylism in cats with observations on genetic control". The Anatomical Record. 141 (3): 205–17. doi:10.1002/ar.1091410305. PMID 13878202. S2CID 44384678.
• Danforth CH (1947). "Heredity of polydactyly in the cat". The Journal of Heredity. 38 (4): 107–12. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.jhered.a105701. PMID 20242531.

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