Why Some Cats Have Extra Toes

Polydactyl Maine Coon
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Polydactyl cats, also known as Hemingway cats, got their name from the Greek origin word, polydactyly which means many or extra toes. This word means multi-toed, and the extra-large paws are nick-named double-paws, because the paws are usually double-wide in size. They can walk through snow more easily, hence another nick-name of snowshoe cat; but most often though, they are simply called polys.

A natural anomaly, the polydactyl dominate gene in Maine Coons is a simple autosomal, meaning not linked to a dominate gene. The Pd gene is a harmless genetic trait that is not to be associated with other anomalies. Because of this, you must have a polydactyl parent to have a polydactyl kitten. Polydactyl maine coon price, polydactyl maine coon breeders australia, polydactyl kittens for sale, polydactyl maine coon for adoption, polydactyl maine coon size, polydactyl maine coon for sale, polydactyl maine coon cost, polydactyl maine coons canada.

There are no documented ill effects of the polydactyl gene in the Maine Coon cat. Much scientific research data collected has suggested that the polydactyl Maine Coon is a more preferred trait in the working breed for health and vigor. Many non-polydactyl Maine Coons have a polydactyl member of their genetic lines in their pedigrees, and breeding these polydactyl cats is still fully accepted and recognized as purebred worldwide. They can be registered with any official cat association. When looking over a Pedigree, you can see all the polydactyl Maine Coons in the pedigree because they will have a P. somewhere in the name.

Frequently Asked Questions
Are Maine Coons Born With Extra Toes?

Yes, polydactyl cats are born with extra toes, and this is diagnosed on the physical exam, where the veterinarian can see the extra toes and determine if they are bones or overgrown tissue.

Are Only Maine Coons Polydactyl?
Some rumors suggest that the first breed with polydactyly was the Maine Coons breed.

Some mistake polydactyl cats as a specific breed, but any cat, no matter the race can be born with extra toes. However, the Maine Coon cats are the ones assimilated with the term polydactyly, and the mutated gene is predominantly found in this breed, more than any other kind of cats.

Due to this fact, a polydactyl Maine Coon cat aided by the extra toes became excellent hunters and if they are let to progress naturally to will gain the ability to use those pawns in ways we can’t yet imagine.

I thought Maine Coons had extra toes?
Some “original” Maine Coons were polydactyls (had extra toes). However, modern purebred Maine Coons are rarely polydactyls. This is because all cat associations automatically disqualify polydactyls from competition in the purebred classes. Because of this, most polydactyls were culled from the Maine Coon breed decades ago, and only a few breeders continue to work with them. Since the polydactyl gene is dominant, you can’t get a polydactyl kitten unless at least one of the parents is also a polydactyl.
Are All Maine Coon Polydactyl?
Not all Maine Coon cats are polydactyl, and the breeders tried to breed out this mutation, and no veterinarian would advise you otherwise.

Even the risk of developing an infection or any serious health problems because of polydactyly is close to none, there might still appear some complications, so they do not support the breeding of Polydactyl Maine Coon cats.

The genetic anomaly, even if it was breed out of the Maine Coon is slowly starting to make their way back into the mainstream as its gaining popularity.

If the breeders wouldn’t have tried this, and the cats would have mated naturally, it is estimated that a 28% of the Maine Coon breed would have had this trait.

Polydactyly doesn’t produce any other health complications in most cases, but the owners should keep a close eye on the pawn in case of complications as nail overgrowth or soreness.

This unusual trait is more of an oddity than a deformity, and the cat’s health is not in any imminent danger and can play and run like any other cat.

Is It Painful For The Maine Coon?
The polydactyl cat doesn’t have any difficulties in running and playing and having an extra toe is not painful for them.

It is worth mentioning because of their anomaly they gain more dexterity and agility, making them incredible hunters. The sailors didn’t consider them lucky for no reason.

In some case, polydactyly can cause infections, or the mutation of the genes can spread and result in heart complications.

Surgical removal of the extra toes is a preferred method chosen by some owners, lowering the risk of an infection or an injury.

Does It Affect The Maine Coon’s Balance Or Hunting Skills?
The polydactyl cats were famous few centuries ago because of their amazing skills as hunters.

The extra toes aided the cats to gain a better balance and to be more agile.

Most sailors wanted to have these kinds of cats aboard because they were considered lucky and they were recognized for their talent to keep the rats in control.

The polydactyl cats are not as common as they used to be, but a growing trend made them gain more popularity, and they aren’t any longer being bred out by the breeders on purpose.

If this will happen in a few decades, the offspring of these polydactyls can learn how to use their extra toes better, and maybe humanity will witness some things considered now impossible for a cat.

History Of Polydactyl Maine Coons

Looking back a few hundred years it seems these cats were pretty popular among the ships which sailed between Britain and New England and there is still some controversy where they occurred first. Their popularity was achieved at that time due to their fantastic hunting skills, and they helped to prevent the rodents from overpopulation.

The Maine Coon breed is believed to be the first breed of cats to be born with this specific trait and, nowadays, it is still seen with them. The official state cat of Maine, the Maine Coone is one of the oldest and largest breeds in North America, but there is no record with the exact origins of this cat. Some hypotheses arose around the story of how the Maine Coone came to live in North America, but most of them are only folk tales with no solid ground.

A folk tale suggests that Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France tried to escape the country along with her favorite cats from the Turkish Angora breed. She didn’t make it to North America, but her cats reached Maine where they mated with short-haired breeds.

The hypothesis which is generally accepted by the cat breeders’ community states that the breed resulted from the mating of local short-haired breeds with long-haired breeds brought from overseas.

There is a strong resemblance between Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest Cat. In the late 19th century this specific breed was favorite in cat shows, but they saw a decline in popularity when another kind of long-haired cats was introduced in the 20th century.