Does your kitty have 10 fingers and eight toes?

21st November 2019
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Does your kitty have 10 fingers and eight toes?

Oh, Dear, He is a Cardi-Cat!

Does your kitty have 10 fingers and eight toes? Don’t be alarmed if you discover that he has more than 18 digits because you are probably the proud owner of a polydactyl!

Polydactylism is a genetically inherited trait that results in cats being born with more than the usual number of digits on one, or even more of its paws. Polydactyl cats are common to Wales South West England.

How to care for your polydactyl

Generally, polydactyl cats are just as “normal” as any other 18-digit kitty. The only extra care that they need is to have a regular inspection and trimming of their claws. Their extra fingers and toes can become infected but, other than that, polydactyl cats are definitely not handicapped.

You will find that the majority of polydactyl kitties have extra fingers on their front paws. These often appear to be thumb-like, resembling adorable mittens. Polydactyl cats most often have extra digits on the front paws. Extra toes are somewhat rare and additional digits on all four paws are even rarer. 

Polydactyl litters

If your polydactyl has a litter you can rest assured that some of the kittens will have the “normal” 18 fingers and toes. The rest will however also be polydactyl. Polydactylism is not related to any particular breed of cat but instead is a genetic mutation. Litters born of a polydactyl and a normal cat will result in about half of the litter being born with extra digits.

So don’t concern yourself if you discover your kitty is polydactyl. He is perfectly normal and able to accomplish everyday needs without any special attention. Just remember to trim his nails regularly to avoid infection and related pain.

On June 11, 2007, the BBC News reported the story about Des the cat with 26 toes. Instead of 10 in the front and eight at the back, Des had seven apiece on his front paws and six each in the rear. From Swansea in Wales, Des was said to be one of many polydactyl cats from the area of Cardiganshire. An expert said these cats were also known as ‘Cardi-cats’