Simply put, polydactyl cats have more than the usual number of toes on one or all of their paws. Ernest Hemingway, Nobel prizewinning author, was one of the most famous lovers of polydactyl cats. Because of his love for these felines, they are sometimes known as Hemingway cats. To this day, his home in Key West Florida is a museum and home for the descendents of his beloved cats.
Polydactyl cats can be found in any breed, but American Polydactyl cats are bred specifically for their extra toes, their temperaments, their good health and their color and size. These felines have medium to large muscular bodies, broad heads, a squared chin, and wide-set ears with pointy tips. Any color or color combination of fur is acceptable, and any fur length is good as long as the hairs lie close to the body.
A Polydactyl's feet are large and have one or two extra toes on the front or hind paws. Sometimes the extra toes are only on the front paws, sometimes on all four paws, however it is rare for a cat to have extra toes on the hind paws only. This congenital abnormality seems to improve the dexterity of these felines, and some polydactyl cats have been known to open latches or catch objects with a single paw.
In personality, polydactyl cats are much like any other domestic cat. These cats adapt very well to indoor or outdoor life and are known to be very affectionate and patient towards children.
Polydactyl cats are found on the eastern coast of the United States and in South West England. One particular strain, known as Ithacats, is being bred in Ithica, New York, and there are a high percentage of polydactyls in the Maine Coon breed. In the Cardigan area of Wales, these felines are very common and are known as Cardi-cats.
Sailors were known to value polydactyl cats for their climbing and hunting abilities, which aided in the control of rodents on shipboard. Some sailors even considered them to be good luck at sea. So it is not surprising that this strain of felines first appeared in America during the Colonial period.
Care and grooming of Polydactyl cats ought to be kept up as any other housecat; good nutrition, regular play and veterinary visits. For more information of your favorite furry pets visit: lovefatcat.com