Polydactyl Cats Not So Rare

Cats with six or more toes, called polydactyls, are more common than you may think.

By J. Veronika Kiklevich, DVM | Posted: Thu Feb 17 00:00:00 PST 2005

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Q. My boss found a stray cat that was apparently dropped off around his home. He is unable to keep the cat, so I took in the 3-month-old kitten. I currently have two domestic shorthairs that are 4 years old. They are having a hard time adjusting to the new cat. The stray kitten is dark gray, with white frosting on her paws and chest area. The peculiar thing is this kitten has six toes on all but one foot. She also has a very short, blunt facial profile with yellow-green eyes and a short, stocky body. 

Is this an inbred cat or is she a rare breed? My aunt claims there is a rare purebred with six toes, but I cannot find information on it.

A. While you indeed might have a rare breed of cat, the fact that she has six toes does not confirm she is a purebred. Polydactyl refers to cats with multiple toes, which is an inherited trait in many cats not specific to one breed in particular. The blunt facial profile may suggest some Persian, Himalayan or Burmese could be in her background. This little kitty is fortunate to be a new member of your loving home. Remember to introduce her slowly to your other cats. Using a behavior modifier/diffuser in their common space may help with a smooth introductory period.

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Polydactyl Cats Not So Rare

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Reader Comments

m    Lake City, FL

12/13/2012 11:57:44 PM

What an interesting sounding cat! Thanks for sharing!

Teresa    Union Hall, VA

10/13/2012 9:17:58 AM

I have a yellow and white polydactyl and he is the only one, who lived in his litter. He was also the only one that had the mamny toes. None of his other sibbling had it. He is a very funny loving cat and must have my attition at all time. He follows me around like a puppy dog. His name is Batista we named him after the wrestler on t.v. Because of his muscle features and how strong he is.

Janet    Bethlehem, PA

7/16/2012 6:39:43 AM

good article, thanks

Carolyn    Dallas, TX

6/30/2012 12:47:30 PM

I saw a show about cats on animal planet which said polydactyl traits are from the Maine Coon cat & the trait is directly from the Maine Coon & no other breed has this trait unless Maine Coon is in their background. The M.C. cat developed these extra toes to help the cat through the snow in Maine. Send me an email re: this. Thanks Carolyn

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