The Premier Online Magazine devoted to Persian & Exotic Shorthair Cats
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The Premier Online Magazine
devoted to Persian & Exotic Shorthair Cats

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The Premier Online Magazine devoted
to Persian & Exotic Shorthair Cats

Close this search box.

Kitty With 28 Toes Ties World Record

Many-toed kitty, Paws, with owner Jeanne Martin

Most kitties have 18 toes, 5 on each front paw and 4 on each back paw, but occasionally, a kitten is born with an extra toe or two… or in this case, 10! Paws, a 3-year-old tabby and white kitty owned by Jeanne Martin of Northfield, Minnesota has 28 toes. Paws extraordinary number of digits has earned him a place in the Guinness World Record book. Paws has eight extra toes, with three bonus toes on each front paw and two extra on each back paw making her front paws look like a supersized catchers mitt. Paws joins fellow-record holder, Jake. Jake, a red tabby male with 7 toes on each paw, lives in Bonfield, Ontario, Canada, with owners Michelle and Paul Contant. A vet officially counted Jake’s many toes on 24 September 2002. For a toe to “count” it must have its own claw, pad and bone structure.

Paws was born on the maple sugar farm of the boyfriend of Jeanne’s daughter. Walter had a friendly cat on the farm who gave birth to her kittens in the Studebaker truck he was restoring. One of the kittens was Paws. Sweet and friendly, Paws was irresistible and soon moved from the farm to Jeanne’s house to become part of the family. Paws’ “gloved” paw comes in handy when she needs to walk onto narrow surfaces as she is able to grip on to a narrow surface, using her extra toes like a thumb. Of course, when Paws goes to her veterinarian for a nail trim, it takes a little longer to clip all those extra toes — but no extra charge :-).

Paws has a total of 28 toes, 3 extra on each front foot; 2 extra on each back foot.
Paws is a brown patched spotted tabby and white spay.

Cats with extra toes are called polydactyl cats. Polydactyl means many fingers. The condition is a congenital physical anomaly that causes some cats, dogs and even humans to grow extra digits. The first scientific record of polydactyl cats is from 1868. They were mostly found in England, Wales, the northwestern United States, and Nova Scotia, Canada. One theory is that the first “mitten” kittens were brought to America by English Puritans in the 1600s. In the days of multi-mast sailing ships, legend says seaman believed polydactyl cats were good luck. The cats were widely recognized as top-notch mousers, and their extra toes were rumored to helped them climb the rigging while sailing the high seas.

In the early 1900’s one of the first cats to live in the White House was a polydactyl cat appropriately named Slippers, the favorite feline of President Theodore Roosevelt. Polydactyl cats are often called Hemingway cats. Earnest Hemingway had many extra-toed kitties in his home in Key West, Florida. A sea captain gifted the famous author a white polydactyl kitten, Snow White, in the 1930s. Today, many descendents of Snow While continue to live in the Hemingway House, carrying on the tradition of Hemingway’s 6-toed cats.

This kitty has 7 toes each back foot.
This cat has 12 toes total on its back feet.
This kitty has 6 toes on each foot for a total of 24.

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“Many people prefer cats to other people, and many cats prefer people to other cats.”
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