Monday, June 20, 2011

Polydactyl Rex




Relax you Jurassic Park aficionados; the term polydactyl isn’t a reference to a newly discovered dinosaur.  Simply put, it’s a cat, a cat with extra toes. 

Now when my daughter, Mary, was little she had a polydactyl cat she called Daisy.  So it was no surprise when the other day she got a polydactyl kitten.  When she found out it had those extra toes, she took it as a sign.

The condition of polydactlylism is a genetic mutation that results in extra toes on one or more paws. Some people call these cats mitten cats; some call them Hemmingway cats in reference to the writer Ernest Hemmingway who loved these cats so much that he basically collected them.  To this day on the grounds of his Florida home, now a museum, many polydactyl cats still roam freely.



The origin of these cats is a bit cloudy. They can be found mainly on the east coast of the United States, Southwest England, and Wales. Sailors prized these cats thinking they were good luck.  Why you may ask?  My hypothesis is this… Ships have rats and mice, which is not such a good thing on a ship.  Polydactyl cats have giant paws with extra toes—and nails.  If you were a mouse and you saw those paws coming at you, you got down on your little mousey knees and said your prayers—right before you jumped ship.

Most Polydactyl cats have at least six toes on the front paws making it appear as if they have thumbs.  What’s more is that a particularly intelligent cat can actually learn to use these pseudo-thumbs much as we humans do. Polydactyl cats have a manual dexterity that can be, frankly, amazing.  I’ve seen Daisy catch things in one hand and open doors. 



This little hyper kitten may end up being quite a handful for Mary.  Then again, she could teach him to fetch the paper and open tight pickle jars.  If she really set her mind to it maybe she could even teach him to clean his own litter box.  That would work for me.

Before I close I would like to mention two giveways given my blogging buddies Maggie and Maddie.  They create the most charming Santas and I know anyone would just love to win one!  Check them out!

http://offmyrocker-maggie.blogspot.com/  and  http://santaandthemrs.blogspot.com





19 comments:

maddyrose said...

What an interesting bit of knowledge and the subject it pertains to is certainly darling. As always your post brought a smile.

laurie said...

I love the term mitten paws,, we have had kittens such as this on the farm,, it looks so cute when they pad along,,this is a beauty, but I agree could be a handful or should we say mitten paw full, (ahem) sorry,, couldn't stop.

craftattack said...

I have never heard about these cats before, thanks for the very interesting information! Valerie

Maggie said...

I love these cats. My daughter had one, too. Although, I don't think he ever learned to clean his litter box or open a pickle jar... LOL, you are too funny, Crystal! Thank you for mentioning my giveaway.

maddyrose said...

I really do need new glasses. I really didn't see the link to my blog or the mention of my giveaway when I was here this morning. Thank you.

Betsy said...

I've never seen such a thing! It really does look like they have thumbs! ha!

Franz said...

Wonder of wonders, I love cats!
ciao Crystal,have a nice week!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

I once had a friend who called his cat "Thumbs Kitty" because of the extra digits.

Liz Revit said...

This kitty is lovely (extra toes and all).

Gerri Herbst said...

This kitty is extra lovely! due ti its tiny toes.

Leovi said...

Very interesting, I never noticed if any of my cats was polydactyl.

Magic Love Crow said...

Crystal, this is so interesting! I love cats and never knew anything about this? Thanks so much for this fantastic post! Have a great day!

Heather said...

yes, growing up i had a cat like this...he clicked when he walked on the hardwood floors! I do love cats! hee! :)

Daniella said...

Oh that kitty is adorable!!!
I don't care how many toes he has! he is precious!!
And yes, this iternet thing is a real PAIN!!!!
xxDaniella

Lee Pierce said...

very pretty kitty, too! I've never seen this - thanks for sharing Crystal :D

Judy Adamson said...

I can't believe it! :)

We have a new, hilarious TV advert based on the notion of what cats could do if they had thumbs. I can't even remember what the advert was for but it was long and very funny. But the whole point would disappear if people knew that such cats really do exist!

Judy Adamson said...

Me again!

I found the advert on Youtube but if I post the link it may go into your spam, so do google 'what if cats had thumbs' - it really is quite a laugh!

Gerri Herbst said...

thanks for stopping by and looking at my sea matchbox!

jamberry_song said...

Sooo interesting! Our polydactyl cats have always been the most friendly. My sister just got a black kitten with "thumbs". She's so flippin' smart, too. Thanks for sharing this; I never had a clue. The bit about Hemingway is particularly cool. :D P.S. Her kitten is adorable!

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