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1
Interest Story on Hemingway Cats
Interest Story on Hemingway Cats
::2008/06/13::
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2
Polydactyl Cat And Kitten
Polydactyl Cat And Kitten
::2009/07/07::
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3
Frankie the 6 Toed Polydactyl Cat Having A Ton of Fun
Frankie the 6 Toed Polydactyl Cat Having A Ton of Fun
::2010/05/09::
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4
A Polydactyl Cat Show Her Toes
A Polydactyl Cat Show Her Toes
::2012/10/15::
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5
Polydactyl cat Ernie flexing his
Polydactyl cat Ernie flexing his 'hands'
::2013/11/12::
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6
Xander the polydactyl cat doing tricks
Xander the polydactyl cat doing tricks
::2012/02/01::
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7
SixKiller Sam the Beast the polydactyl cat
SixKiller Sam the Beast the polydactyl cat
::2009/01/03::
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8
Amazing Cat Gives Thumbs Up
Amazing Cat Gives Thumbs Up
::2011/02/23::
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9
Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway's Polydactyl Cats
::2013/04/03::
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10
Polydactyl cats-"Ships Cat"-Family meal-social bonding
Polydactyl cats-"Ships Cat"-Family meal-social bonding
::2010/01/13::
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11
Polydactyl Cat
Polydactyl Cat
::2013/05/06::
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12
Frank the Fangy Polydactyl Cat
Frank the Fangy Polydactyl Cat
::2013/03/02::
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13
American Polydactyl Cat | Cat Breeds 101
American Polydactyl Cat | Cat Breeds 101
::2014/03/07::
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14
Polydactyl Cat Plays with Petmate Crazy Circle - ラグドール - Floppycats
Polydactyl Cat Plays with Petmate Crazy Circle - ラグドール - Floppycats
::2011/03/12::
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Polydactyl Cat Loves His Neko Flies Cat Wand Toy - ラグドール - Floppycats
Polydactyl Cat Loves His Neko Flies Cat Wand Toy - ラグドール - Floppycats
::2012/01/06::
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Polydactyl Cat Plays with the Bergan Turbo Track - ラグドール - Floppycats
Polydactyl Cat Plays with the Bergan Turbo Track - ラグドール - Floppycats
::2011/11/20::
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17
Polydactyl Cat Swats Petmate Booda® Balancing Ball - ラグドール - Floppycats
Polydactyl Cat Swats Petmate Booda® Balancing Ball - ラグドール - Floppycats
::2011/07/10::
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18
Muhammad Catli 👊#johnnyfuzzball #polydactyl #cat #cats #kittenmittens #instacat #catsofinstagram
Muhammad Catli 👊#johnnyfuzzball #polydactyl #cat #cats #kittenmittens #instacat #catsofinstagram
::2014/08/17::
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19
Beautiful red polydactyl cat - The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
Beautiful red polydactyl cat - The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
::2010/02/15::
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20
Frankie Six Toes The Whiskas Temptations PolyDactyl Cat Stands, Waves and Winks
Frankie Six Toes The Whiskas Temptations PolyDactyl Cat Stands, Waves and Winks
::2009/03/09::
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21
A Walk with Dempsey, the Polydactyl Cat
A Walk with Dempsey, the Polydactyl Cat
::2012/03/30::
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22
Polydactyl Cat Nursing Her 5 Month Old Kittens
Polydactyl Cat Nursing Her 5 Month Old Kittens
::2014/05/30::
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SPOOK R.I.P. 7 TOED POLYDACTYL CAT
SPOOK R.I.P. 7 TOED POLYDACTYL CAT
::2013/03/05::
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Dempsey. the Polydactyl Cat, in Late Spring
Dempsey. the Polydactyl Cat, in Late Spring
::2012/05/06::
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6-toed polydactyl cat in ernest hemingway home sleeping comfortably on top of a display case
6-toed polydactyl cat in ernest hemingway home sleeping comfortably on top of a display case
::2013/08/26::
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26
My mutant polydactyl cat playing with a pencil
My mutant polydactyl cat playing with a pencil
::2014/05/09::
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27
Crazy polydactyl cat
Crazy polydactyl cat
::2010/12/09::
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Huey the Polydactyl Cat
Huey the Polydactyl Cat
::2011/05/09::
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29
My Polydactyl Cat Having Fun Playing With iPad App "Fun And Games For Cats."
My Polydactyl Cat Having Fun Playing With iPad App "Fun And Games For Cats."
::2012/03/11::
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30
Cutest polydactyl cat Paw P Chulo
Cutest polydactyl cat Paw P Chulo
::2014/04/18::
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31
My polydactyl Cat Henry
My polydactyl Cat Henry's extra toe
::2007/06/03::
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Toilet Trained Polydactyl Cat
Toilet Trained Polydactyl Cat
::2010/11/05::
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Xander the polydactyl cat waits for his dinner
Xander the polydactyl cat waits for his dinner
::2012/02/02::
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Valentine the polydactyl cat running away from ceviche
Valentine the polydactyl cat running away from ceviche
::2013/08/27::
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Information On Polydactyl Cat Nail Trimming
Information On Polydactyl Cat Nail Trimming
::2014/05/16::
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36
Zoey
Zoey's toes in action - Polydactyl cat playing
::2010/06/29::
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37
Polydactyl cat, Mittens, drinking
Polydactyl cat, Mittens, drinking
::2013/02/17::
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38
Hemingway Polydactyl Cat - Dyson
Hemingway Polydactyl Cat - Dyson
::2008/02/03::
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Muhammad Catli 👊#johnnyfuzzball #polydactyl #cat #cats #kittenmittens #instacat #catsofinstagram
Muhammad Catli 👊#johnnyfuzzball #polydactyl #cat #cats #kittenmittens #instacat #catsofinstagram
::2014/08/05::
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40
Polydactyl cat plays fetch with her favorite toy. Harlee Thumbs!
Polydactyl cat plays fetch with her favorite toy. Harlee Thumbs!
::2011/07/18::
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41
Wedge.Polydactyl cat at Tree House Humane Society
Wedge.Polydactyl cat at Tree House Humane Society
::2011/02/28::
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Hemingway Polydactyl Cat
Hemingway Polydactyl Cat
::2012/05/15::
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Dr. Tredecimal Spaceman the polydactyl cat
Dr. Tredecimal Spaceman the polydactyl cat
::2008/11/11::
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Crazy Hemingway Polydactyl Cat
Crazy Hemingway Polydactyl Cat
::2012/06/09::
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HIGH TIMES MedCanCup Bay Area 2013   Polydactyl Cat and The Mad Dabber
HIGH TIMES MedCanCup Bay Area 2013 Polydactyl Cat and The Mad Dabber
::2013/06/25::
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Polydactyl Cat
Polydactyl Cat
::2013/03/26::
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polydactyl cat
polydactyl cat
::2013/12/29::
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Simone, the gurgling rolling polydactyl cat
Simone, the gurgling rolling polydactyl cat
::2009/08/03::
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Polydactyl Cat Buried By Kittens
Polydactyl Cat Buried By Kittens
::2014/05/29::
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Jake the Polydactyl Cat Being Silly
Jake the Polydactyl Cat Being Silly
::2013/05/29::
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One of the polydactyl cats at the Ernest Hemingway House in Key West, Florida; this particular cat has 26 toes

A polydactyl cat is a cat with a congenital physical anomaly called polydactyly (or polydactylism, also known as hyperdactyly), a type of cat body-type genetic mutation that 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 Wales.

Occurrence[edit]

The true polydactyly is a congenital abnormality, genetically inherited as an autosomal dominant trait of the Pd gene with incomplete penetrance.

Kitten with 23 toes

Normal cats have a total of 18 toes, with five toes on each front paw and four toes on each hind paw; polydactyl cats may have as many as eight digits on their front and/or hind paws. Tiger, a Canadian polydactyl cat with 27 toes, was recognised by Guinness World Records as having the highest number of toes on a cat.[1] Various combinations of anywhere from four to seven toes per paw are common, and the number of toes on either the front or rear paws is typically the same. 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.

The nickname "double-pawed cat" is a misnomer since there is a specific double paw condition, although this condition may be interrelated with polydactyly.[2]

Feline radial hypoplasia (see squitten) is a mimic of polydactyly and is considered a severe condition. Radial hypoplasia may cause the formation of extra jointed toes, but it is not a result of the Pd gene normally associated with polydactyls. It thus does not cause the "mitten cat" or "thumb cat" condition where the extra toes occur separated from the normal ones just like a dewclaw, usually associated with an additional pad which makes them look like an underdeveloped foot sticking out near the base of the normal toes. Rather, radial hypoplasia-related extra toes are immediately adjacent to the normal ones, giving the cat overly large, flat feet — colloquially known as "patty feet" or "hamburger feet". Though this looks less serious than true polydactyly (as the feet appear "normal" apart from having one or two extra toes), breeding such cats will eventually result in severely crippled offspring. Cats used in polydactyl breeding programs can be screened by x-ray for indicators of radial hypoplasia, and cats suspected to have radial hypoplasia should not be used for breeding.

History and folklore[edit]

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.[2][3] 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 also considered them to be extremely good luck when at sea.

Genetic work studying the DNA basis of the condition however indicates that many different mutations can all lead to polydactyly[4] and since samples from the UK and USA were shown to possess different mutations it seems likely that these cats have originated multiple times independently, rather than spreading from a single origin.

Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway was a famous aficionado of polydactyl cats, after being first given a six-toed cat by a ship's captain. Upon Hemingway's death in 1961, his former home in Key West, Florida, became a museum and a home for his cats, and it currently houses approximately fifty descendants of his cats (about half of which are polydactyl). Because of his love for these animals, polydactyl cats are sometimes referred to as "Hemingway Cats".

Some sources state that these cats are rare in Europe because they were killed as witches' familiars,[3] but other sources indicate that they are quite common in southern Britain.[2]

Naming[edit]

Nicknames for polydactyl cats include "conch cats", "boxing cats", "mitten cats", "mitten-foot cats", "snowshoe cats", "thumb cats", "six-fingered cats", "Cardi-cats", and "Hemingway cats". Two specific breeds recognized by some but not all cat fancier clubs are the American Polydactyl and Maine Coon Polydactyl, and named regional populations include the Boston thumb cat, Cardi-cat, Ithacat, and Vermont snowshoe cat.

Breeding[edit]

American Polydactyl cats are bred as a specific cat breed, with specific physical and behavioral characteristics in addition to extra digits.[5]

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.[6]

A particular strain of polydactyl cats native to Ithaca, New York is known as the Ithacat. Polydactyls are very common in the Cardigan area of Wales, where they are known as "Cardi-cats."

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Fat Cat, Inc. — Your Cat Magazine Articles!". Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  2. ^ a b c "Polydactyl Cats (Part 1)". Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  3. ^ a b "Is it true many New England cats have extra paws because Boston ships' captains considered them lucky? Or may it be true that they were better at catching mice than normal cats?". The Straight Dope. 1999-06-29. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  4. ^ Lettice, L A; A E Hill; P S Devenney; R E Hill (February 1995). "Point mutations in a distant sonic hedgehog cis-regulator generate a variable regulatory output responsible for preaxial polydactyly". Human Molecular Genetics 17 (7): 978–985. doi:10.1093/hmg/ddm370. PMID 18156157. 
  5. ^ "American Polydactyl". Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  6. ^ Kus, Beth E. "The History of the Polydactyl Maine Coon". Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  • Chapman, VA; Zeiner, FN: The anatomy of polydactylism in cats with observations on genetic control Anatomical Record 141:205-217, 1961
  • Danforth CH: Heredity of polydactyly in the cat. Journal of Heredity 38: 107, 1947
  • Danforth CH: Morphology of the feet of polydactyl cats. American Journal of Anatomy 80:143, 1947
  • Jude, AC: Cat Genetics, 1955
  • Lockwood, Samuel, From American Naturalist "Malformations", polydactyl cats - Popular Science Monthly January 1974 Page 383
  • Robinson R: Genetics for Cat Breeders, Mar 1977
  • Sis, RF; Getty, R: Polydactylism in cats Veterinary Medicine and Small Animal Clinician 63:948-951, 1968
  • Todd, NB; Jones, TC: On independent assortmant of dominant white and polydactyly in the cat Journal of Cat Genetics 1:16-17, 1964
  • Vella, C; Shelton LM; McGonagle J; Stanglein TW: Robinson's Genetics for Cat Breeders and Veterinarians, Butterworth- Heinemann Ltd (19 Aug 1999)
  • Wenthe, M; Lazarz, B: A case of atavistic polydactyly at the hind limb of a cat [German] Kleintierpraxis 40:617-619, 1995
  • Wittmann, F: Polydactylism in a Cat Praktische Tierarzt 73:709, 1992

External links[edit]

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