Polydactyl Cats Personality Traits

Are polydactyl cats personality traits any different from others? In this post you’ll discover all about the quirky freak of nature, giving some cats extra toes. Should you adopt a polydactyl cat and do they have any health issues?

Firstly, polydactyl cats appear no different to other kitties apart from their toes. Before you start counting your cat’s toes, it is quite rare. Though, if a polydactyl cat mates with a non-polydactyl kitty, there’s a 50% the kittens will have extra toes.

How many extra toes can polydactyl cats have?

Normally, a cat has 5 toes on it’s front paws and 4 on the hind paws. This means domestic cats have 18 in total. It’s far more common for extra toes to be on the front paws, and rarer for hind ones. If your kitty has extra toes this will be the result of a genetic mutation, and one of the parents will be polydactyl.

A cat that’s polydactyl can have up to 7 extra toes, though 2 is most common. The Guiness Book of World Records states that a cat with the most number of toes ever recorded was a ginger kitty name Jake. He had 7 toes on each paw, totalling 28!

If your cat is polydactyl you’ll notice the feet seem larger compared to other felines. In fact, some look as if they have thumbs! If your extra toed kitty has “thumbs” you’ll be relieved to know she won’t be opening tins, or helping herself to cat food any time soon!

What about polydactyl cats personality traits

polydactyl cats personality traits- grey tabby multi-toed cat

Does having extra toes give polydactyl cats personality traits which are unique? When you consider they have a distinct advantage you’d think cats with added toes would be feisty in nature. After all, more toes mean better balance, as well as a greater chance of catching prey. However, they’re no different to other cats, and don’t display any odd characteristics. You’ll be just as likely to get a gentle, sweet natured polydactyl as you would any other cat. Just like humans, no two are the same.

Are there any health issues with polydactyl cats?

sleeping polydactyl cat

In general, polydactyl cats are the same as any other feline. However, it’s possible you may get problems with spaces between the extra toes. In addition, twisted joints could cause pain and affect your cat’s movement. However, you’ll be pleased to hear that such physical problems are quite rare.

It’s more common for a cat with extra toes to suffer ingrown claws. This can sometimes cause infection with the paw pad, though your vet would easily be able to clip the affected claw. Another common problem with polydactyl cats is toes growing at different lengths. As a result, the claws may also vary in size. The problem with this is it could making grasping and gripping objects hard. Climbing trees and fences could prove more challenging with deformed claws.

Occasionally, cats born with too many toes may become disabled. Fusing of toes can hinder movement and surgery is often the only option. If you become a pet parent to a polydactyl kitty you’ll need to be prepared for regular claw clipping. In addition, those extra claws will mean a greater chance of your sofa being shredded! Having several scratching posts can stop cats from scratching furniture, reducing risk of damage.

Maine coons and polydactyls

maine coon
Maine Coon Kitten lying on the floor before window

Though kitties with extra toes can occur in any breed, you’re far more likely to find this quirky attribute in maine coons. The maine coon is one of the largest breeds of cat, apart from the norwegian forest. Originating in the cold northern climate of Maine, they’re built for cold weather. Thick fur and large tufted paws help keep maine coon kitties warm. Around 40% of this breed have extra toes and known as maine coon polydactyls.

Finding a polydactyl cat breeder.

Many breeders spay or neuter kittens born with extra toes to eradicate polydactyls. Some cat breeders though, attempt to keep this quirkiness alive by deliberately breeding cats with extra toes. If you’re fascinated by this oddity and want to adopt a polydactyl kitty, you should start by looking for breeders in your local area. If you live in the United States, the American polydactyl cat breeders directory is a good place to start. You’ll probably find the equivalent in whatever country you’re residing in.

Hemingway cats

hemingway cat

The famous writer, Ernest Hemingway, became well known for his extra toed kitties. Hemingway’s property in Key West, Florida is home to around 50 cats, many of which are polydactyl. the first of these unique kitties was bought to the island in the 1930s as a gift from a sea captain. Sailors believed extra toed cats bought good luck and they were often used for catching mice on board ships. Their increased balance and ability to withstand rough seas made them very popular.

If you live in Florida or are planning a trip there, the Ernest Hemingway museum is a place you should definitely visit. You’ll be greeted by these adorable cats as you walk around the grounds and museum. These felines became known as hemingway cats and is a name sometimes given to describe polydactyl cats.

Where are polydactyl cats most commonly found?

Though polydactyl kitties can be found anywhere in the world, you’ll most likely find them in Canada, Wales, and England. It’s believed this is due to the cats being used as mousers on trans-continental ships. It’s thought many of these cats were taken from England and started breeding with non-polydactyl kitties.

Should you adopt a polydactyl cat?

Now you know the polydactyl cats personality traits are no different to other kitties, should you adopt one? As with owning any other pet it depends on your lifestyle. All pets whether a dog or cat, need a certain amount of your time each day. The decision to adopt a cat should never be done lightly, and you must be willing to give it care, love, and attention.

If you’ve enjoyed this post about polydactyl cats please share. Please feel free to share this pin on your “pets” board

Also, if you have any questions or would like to share your experiences, please leave a comment below.

Wishing you a purrfect day:)


12 thoughts on “Polydactyl Cats Personality Traits”

  1. Hello Kathy,

    I have NEVER EVER heard of cats with extra toes. I mean just like humans, being born with physical abnomalities is part of life but the idea of breeding polydactyl cats on purpose is defintely original.

    I think I will be counting cat toes from now on when I see a cat!! Haha

    Thank you for the interesting information.

  2. Sometimes most might adopt cats or pets in general because they look nice or are cute instead of focusing on their needs. This post really made me to re-think some pre conceived concepts.

    • Thank you Daniel, yes it’s a little bit like overlooking people with disabilities. It’s important to consider needs as well as looks:)

  3. Interesting article! I have never heard of cats with extra toes so this was a good read. Do you know where in Canada these types of cats are common? I live in Alberta, but I have never come across these.

    • Thank you Carla:) I’m not sure specifically where cats with extra toes originate from in Canada. However maine coons known for their extra toes originate from maine:)

  4. Great article

    My Grandma has a cat and I have always like to spend time with it. I had noticed that it had weird claws I think now I know this is a polydactyl cats. But I will still have to check it out when I see it again.

    • Thank you Thabo:) Yes, check the cats toes if you think the claws look unusual. Though fairly rare, your Gran could have a polydactyl cat! How cool would that be:)

  5. I have a feral tuxedo that hangs around my house. He is extremely shy of people. But last week he let me get close enough and I saw he has at extra toes on his back paw! I can’t wait to be able to get close enough again to see if his other paws have extra toes. He fathered some kittens that my neighbor took in and some of them have extra toes, too.

    • Hi Debby, sounds like your feral tuxedo could be polydacty! I actually have a post about it here. It simply means extra toes! They’re not that uncommon but can be fun to spot. Hemmingway the famous writer was known for being a cat lover, and kept polydactyl cats in his home. How interesting that the kittens have extra toes as well:)

  6. I just adopted a Polydactyl female from a shelter she’s beautiful and she will let you hold her but still shy and wants to hide I hope she gets better as time goes. And she learns she is safe and loves . She’s super furry , can feral cats learn to be friendly and be loving as time goes ?

    • Hi Dolores, absolutely, feral cats can become very loving pets. There are many cases when cats that are half feral settle in with a family. It’s far more common for semi-feral cats though as they’re often just unwanted pets ending up on the streets. New generations born from then however, gradually become more feral and harder to tame. Your Polydactyl cat sounds lovely and yes she will become more friendly as she gets used to you:)


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