polydactyl maine coon outdoors with tongue sticking out

What is a Polydactyl Maine Coon?

Polydactyl Maine Coons are one of the most popular cat breeds in the world. But what you may not know is that some Maine coons are born with a rare genetic trait – polydactylism, or extra toes. These are also known as the “Hemmingway Cat”.

Polydactylism in cats is caused by a dominant gene and can be inherited by offspring. One copy of the gene must be present in at least one parent in order for it to be present in kittens. However, it is not always guaranteed that a polydactyl cat will have polydactyl kittens.

Maine Coons have more instances of polydactylism than any other breed of cat, but not all Maine Coons are polydactyl.

The paws of a normal cat have 5 toes each on the front paws, and 4 on the back. A polydactyl Maine Coon can get a maximum of two extra toes on each paw. If you see a note about the kitten being 7/7/6/6, this means that he has the most toes that a Polydactyl can have, which is 7 on both front paws and 6 on each back paw.

Caring for a Polydactyl Maine Coon

Luckily, taking care of a polydactyl cat’s paw health isn’t difficult as long as you regularly check for any problems or injuries.

  • Examining each paw, looking for anything stuck in between their toes or cuts on their pads.
  • Trim their nails regularly to prevent them from getting too long, getting embedded and causing discomfort.
  • Provide plenty of scratching posts and toys to keep their claws healthy and worn down naturally.
  • Monitor your cat’s activity levels and regularly check and clean their toes

Overall, it is important for the health of a polydactyl cat to provide regular veterinary care and ensure they are able to function normally.

polydactyl maine coon paw

Are Maine Coon Polydactyl Rare?

At one time, it was said that up to 40% of Maine Coon were polydactyl. That isn’t the case now. There’s a much lower occurrence since breeders have started to breed out of the polydactyl trait.

The love and enthusiasm of the polydactyly Maine Coon is not universal. The regulations on breeding and the ability for the poly cat to show nationally varies by country. For example, Polydactyl Maine Coons are accepted by TICA, but not by CFA. On the contrary, however, Sailors with Maine Coons on their ships thought these extra toes brought good luck and helped catch mice.

The difference in opinion about Polydactyl Maine Coon is what makes them very intriguing to many people. These odd but unique characteristics help define who the Maine Coon is as a breed. having extra toes is part of their history.

Sassy Koonz doesn’t currently work with Polydactylism, but we’re in the process of making some changes. So you could definitely see some extra toes heading your way soon. In the meantime, you can enjoy one of our normal-toed kittens.

So if you’re ever lucky enough to meet a polydactyl Maine coon, be sure to give them a good pet – extra toes or not, they’re just like any other cat and deserve all the love in the world!

Do you have a Polydactyl Maine Coon? Let me know about him or her in the comments below!

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  1. I think i found an abandoned Maine coon with polydactylism. I feed all the strays in my apartment complex and she showed up a couple weeks ago and I slowly gained her trust. My kids named her fluffy because she’s well… So fluffy compared to our cat (muffin) who’s a British shorthair. How do I go about getting her certified? I don’t really have many extra funds but would the local SPCA be able to help with that?

    1. You can’t. To register a purebred cat, you must be able to prove lineage by prodiving Pedigrees of both parents when you register the kitten.

  2. That hardly matters. If you have a nice fluffy cat just feed her well, and have her checked by your vet. The polydactyl cats I’ve had were smarter than my others. I don’t know if that’s always true. They can be a bit clumsy as kittens, but they’ll figure it out.

  3. I have just bought a Maine Coon and noticed that he “Rajah” is Polydactyl. He was born on March 18th this year and has a sibling with 7 toes. We will be picking him up on the 8th and already love him sooo much. We’ve been doing some research on this since we’ve noticed it in the pictures we got of him. Very interesting for sure of how this came about and how they’ve adapted to use them.

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