Polydactyl Cats: What Are They?
Learn more about the forever-fascinating and unique polydactyl cat!
Flickr User failing_angel
Cats usually have five toes on their front feet and four on their back feet, adding up to a total of 18 toes between them. Some cats, however, are blessed with extra toes, meaning they have more than the 18 usually found on felines. These unique critters are known as polydactyl cats, a name representing the fact that they have many extra digits ("poly" in Greek means "many",and it's combined with the Greek word for "digits", which is "daktylos").
Nicknamed the "double-pawed cat", "boxing cats" or "mitten cats" (amongst others), polydactyls are born thanks to polydactyly, a congenital deformity. Though they are considered fairly rare, this anomaly need not be feared, and isn't health threatening. In fact, some folks, like the famed author Ernest Hemingway, prized the cats for their unique feet and paw structure.
Recently, our friends over at Vetstreet.com set out to uncover some of the mysteries surrounding the forever fascinating polydactyl cat, shedding light on what polydactyly physically is while also sharing some interesting facts about these cute critters. They also set out to answer some commonly asked questions regarding the phenomenon.