Animal Rescue Workers Handed Two Cats With SIX Toes On Each Paw

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These two rare cats astonished workers at an animal adoption centre today when they were handed in with an amazing six toes on each paw.Cats usually have five digits on each of their front paws and four of the back feet, meaning siblings Pudding and Baby have an extra 12 toes between them.Experts said although some felines can be born with extra toes, it is extremely rare to have extra digits on every paws – especially in two kittens from the same litter.

The nine-year-old cats were handed to the Blue Cross animal adoption centre in Cambridge after their owner developed an cat allergy and could no longer care for them.Technically they are known as ‘polydactyls’ – the name given to animals and humans with extra toes – but otherwise Puddy and Baby are not hindered by their extra appendages.In America, polydactyl cats are affectionately known as ‘Hemingway’ cats after the famous author was given a six-toed feline by a ship’s captain.

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Centre manager Alan Maskell appealed for pet-lovers to offer the pair a home.He said: ‘Having extra toes doesn’t hinder Puddy and Baby in any way – if anything they’re probably lighter on their feet.’They’re a cheeky, affectionate duo and are looking for a loving home together.’ Maggie Roberts, Cats Protection’s Director of Veterinary said the that the cats’ extra toes were traditionally prized among sailors.

She said: ‘It is usually a genetic condition which, in the majority of cases, causes no harm to the cat whatsoever.’There is a legend among sailors that polydactyl cats used to be ship’s cats and the extra toes helped them climb the rigging.’It’s a nice story, but these cats do not have a greater climbing ability.Basically it’s neither an advantage or a disadvantage to the cat – just an unusual quirk of nature.’

The world record for the cat with the most toes is Jake Contant from Ontario, Canada, who had 28 toes, with seven on each paw.He was officially given his Guinness World Records title when he had his digits counted by a vet in September 24 2002.Polydactyl cats are known by various names including ‘mitten cats’, ‘thumb cats’, ‘Cardi cats’, ‘Boston Thumb cats’ and ‘witch’s cats’.Because the extra toes on the front paws are often opposable, some cats can use them to manipulate small objects and some owners believe this represents the next stage in feline evolution.

(source)

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