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How Many Fingers Does A Cat Have On Its Hind And Front Legs With A Normal Anatomical Structure, Possible Deviations And Their Causes
How Many Fingers Does A Cat Have On Its Hind And Front Legs With A Normal Anatomical Structure, Possible Deviations And Their Causes

Video: How Many Fingers Does A Cat Have On Its Hind And Front Legs With A Normal Anatomical Structure, Possible Deviations And Their Causes

Video: Do Cats Have The Same Number Of Toes On All Four Paws? 2022, December
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How many fingers does a cat have and what is polydactyly

How many fingers does a cat have
How many fingers does a cat have

How many fingers does a cat have? Seemingly simple question - but the answer is not as easy as it might seem. Moreover, there are also special cats, which have much more toes than ordinary cats.

Content

  • 1 The structure of cat paws
  • 2 How many fingers does a cat have

    2.1 Have there been any profits?

  • 3 What is polydactyly

    • 3.1 Video: polydact - a cat in "mittens"
    • 3.2 Extra fingers - where and why?

      3.2.1 Video: the more fingers you have, the more convenient it is to play

    • 3.3 Record holders in the number of fingers

      • 3.3.1 Video: Polydactyly or Polymelia?
      • 3.3.2 Multi-toed cat breeds
      • 3.3.3 Video: multi-fingered Maine Coon from Omsk
      • 3.3.4 Video: short-tailed elf with six fingers
    • 3.4 Interesting facts

      3.4.1 Photo gallery: multi-fingered cats and kittens

  • 4 How to care for cat paws

    4.1 Video: do-it-yourself scratching post - it's easy

  • 5 Owner reviews about cat fingers

The structure of cat paws

Easy, dancing gait of cats cannot but attract attention. Take a closer look: they walk on their toes like ballerinas! The cat does not step on the heel when walking, the foot remains collected and rounded, and the sharp claws are securely hidden in special "cases".

Cat paw
Cat paw

Nature reliably protected the cat's fingers and claws

Cat's paws are a perfection conceived and realized by nature that deserves a separate story. All their joints and joints are endowed with extraordinary mobility, which not only provides graceful movements, but also allows, if necessary, to run very quickly, jump high and far, and make incredible somersaults and pirouettes. The motor reactions of this animal are faster and more accurate than that of any of the mammals.

Cat on a rope
Cat on a rope

Flexible and grippy fingers allow cats to move on any surface

The fingers are especially flexible - each of them seems to live a separate life, moving, bending and unbending independently of all the others. Thanks to this, cats instantly find their balance and stay on almost sheer, uneven, slippery, very risky surfaces.

Cat sitting
Cat sitting

The cat puts its paw on the toes, the heel remains high above the ground

The famous cat's toe walking is complemented by such a gait feature as amble. All cats are pacers: they move alternately all their right paws, and then two left ones. This allows the predators to confuse the tracks, for conspiratorial purposes, accurately getting some fingerprints into others. In addition, pacing makes the cat more stable and maneuverable - it makes it possible to quickly develop speed and change direction of movement.

The cat is walking
The cat is walking

Pacing cats can walk as if they are on track

The toes and claws on the forepaws of all felines are designed to catch and hold prey - they are significantly weaker than the striking hindlimbs. However, large predators are capable of inflicting significant damage on the victim with a powerful blow of the front paw. By the way, have you noticed which "hand" your cat uses more actively?

Cats are fighting
Cats are fighting

In a fight, all four legs are used - but the hind legs are much more dangerous

How many fingers does a cat have

Only an ignorant person can think that a cat, like him, has two dozen fingers on "hands and feet." Nothing of the kind - count it yourself: on each of the front cat's paws, there will be five toes (four main and one dew), and on the back - only four fingers. The dew (or false) toe is located on the front paw separately, just above the pastern, and is only used on inclined or vertical surfaces.

That is, the total number of fingers is eighteen - two less than that of the vast majority of other animals. But this is if we talk about ordinary cats. But there are also extraordinary ones - we will talk about them a little later.

Cat shows paw
Cat shows paw

An ordinary cat has four main toes and one dewclaw on its front paw.

Were there any profits?

It is obvious: that at the dawn of the glorious family of felines, they, like all mammals, had five fingers on all four limbs. However, the cat led such a lifestyle that the fifth toe on its hind legs was not only not used, but also interfered, so it gradually began to disappear in the process of development.

The front legs are another matter entirely. Although dewclaws stand apart from everyone else here, sometimes they help their owner a lot - say, without them it would be much more inconvenient to climb trees.

Front and hind legs of a cat
Front and hind legs of a cat

If the dewclaw is clearly visible on the front paws, then not a trace of it remains on the hind feet

In cats, evolution has advanced further, and such a rudimentary manifestation in newborn kittens is almost never observed. On the metatarsal bones of the hind legs from the fifth toe, only a faint hint remained.

What is polydactyly

The standards of the vast majority of domestic breeds call the general norm for a cat to have eighteen toes. But there are exceptions to the usual rules - multi-toed cats. Designating a fairly common genetic mutation, the word "polydactylism" consists of two Greek words: "poly" is translated as "many", and "dactylos" - as "fingers"; it is also called hyperdactyly. With polydactyly, one paw may have up to seven fingers, and sometimes even more.

The polydactic cat is sleeping
The polydactic cat is sleeping

Polydactyly in cats is a harmless but very unusual mutation

Polydactyly is inherent in almost all animals and even humans, but this strange phenomenon occurs most often in the feline family. If one of the parents is multi-fingered, then the probability of the birth of kittens "polydactylate" reaches sixty percent.

Postaxial polydactyly
Postaxial polydactyly

Postaxial polydactyly makes cat paws resilient in the snow

There are two types of feline polydactyly, which are called "mittens" and "snowmobiles" in felinological slang. Postaxial polydactyly - when the extra fingers are lined up with the main ones. This helps the animal easily move through deep snow without falling into it - which is why such cat paws are called snowmobiles. And with preaxial polydactyly, extra fingers grow, as it were, separately from the rest, while the cat's paw really looks like a funny mitten.

Preaxial polydactyly
Preaxial polydactyly

Preaxial polydactyly - these feet do resemble mittens

Video: polydact - a cat in "mittens"

Extra fingers - where and why?

It has been known about many-fingered cats for a very long time - they live with a person as long as the feline brethren we have tamed exist. According to the scientific definition of geneticists, the manifestations of polyfingering are inherited as an autosomal dominant trait of the Pd gene with incomplete penetrance.

Does this make the cat uncomfortable? Judging only by their appearance, one might think that polydactic cats should be very uncomfortable to move around. In fact, this is absolutely not the case. Since the anomaly is congenital, the “special” kitten perceives it as a completely natural state of affairs and does not spend any effort to adapt. True, breeders note that such babies learn to walk a little longer than their usual, 18-toed littermates.

Kitten-polydact
Kitten-polydact

Multi-toed kittens begin to walk a little later than their "standard" littermates

Video: the more fingers, the more convenient it is to play

Record holders for the number of fingers

It is difficult to name an unambiguous record holder for multi-finger. Recently, the popularity of polydactic cats has grown rapidly around the world, and there are quite a few examples of individuals with seven toes on each paw. According to some reports, there was a cat Mickey Mouse, the number of fingers of which reached 32 in total - it was reported back in 1974, but there is no official confirmation of this phenomenon.

Sometimes polydactyly is confused with another congenital mutation - polymelia, in which extra fingers appear due to an extra limb spliced ​​with the main one. Most likely, Mickey Mouse's cat had just such a pathology.

Multi-fingered paw
Multi-fingered paw

There are 8 fingers on the paw; if all the others have the same amount, then this cat is an absolute record holder

Video: polydactyly or polymelia?

Multi-fingered cat breeds

The American multi-fingered cat is an aboriginal North American breed, about the origin of which scientists have no consensus - only versions. Only the historical homeland of the American polydactyl cat is known for certain - this is the state of Massachusetts. Polydactyl cats, semi-wild and tame, have lived here since time immemorial and are famous for their success in catching mice.

American multi-toed cat
American multi-toed cat

American Multi-Toed Cat is an unrecognized breed of native origin

Some breeders claim that forty percent of Maine Coon kittens in their cattery are born with many toes. For a long time, such babies were culled or sterilized, not allowing them to breed. But the breed potential takes its toll - polydactyly is embedded in the genetics of Maine Coons.

Maine Coon in the snow
Maine Coon in the snow

Multi-fingered paws help Maine Coons not fall into deep snow

Recently, some "marten" nurseries began to purposefully engage in breeding polydactic. Such a bold undertaking was initiated by reputable breeders from Holland and Belgium - they strive to recognize the multi-fingered Maine Coon as a new breed, at least in the experimental status at first. And recently in the American Maine Coon Breeders Association (MCBFA) a standard was developed for a new breed line; registration of polydactic cats is carried out by such felinological organizations of the USA as CFA and TICA.

Video: multi-fingered Maine Coon from Omsk

The Pixie Bob (or short-tailed elf) is the only internationally recognized breed that, by its standard, officially has full rights to polydactyly. In the section of the breed standard describing the paws of a pixie bob, it literally reads: "Polydactyly is allowed, maximum seven fingers."

Pixie bob
Pixie bob

The Pixie Bob is the only breed whose standard welcomes polydactyly

Multi-toed representatives of this breed are valued several times higher than ordinary ones. Of course, there is no direct relationship between the number of toes and the price, but pedigree, polydactic kittens that meet the standard can cost ten thousand dollars or even more. The multi-fingered pixie bobs are highly appreciated by experts at exhibitions.

Video: short-tailed elf with six fingers

Interesting Facts

Immediately after the discovery of America, the many-toed cats found there were laid eyes on … by seafarers. Thanks to them, most likely, polydactics and got to Europe. Sailors believed that such cats bring good luck and were especially appreciated for their stable paws and hunting talents - extra fingers and claws were very useful in the fight against ship rats and mice. The term "ship cats" originates from here.

Cat on the ship
Cat on the ship

A multi-fingered cat on a ship brings good luck

In Medieval Europe, polydactic cats were subjected to brutal extermination during the troubled time of the "witch hunt". Extra fingers on cat's paws were perceived by the Inquisition as a clear devilish sign.

One of the first cats to live in the White House was the Slippers, the favorite of US President Roosevelt. Slippers, who belonged to the American multi-fingered breed, were distinguished by intelligence and regal habits and often decorated with their presence various official events. Interestingly, slippers translates from English as "slippers" - a great name for a multi-toed cat!

Theodore Roosevelt with a cat
Theodore Roosevelt with a cat

President Roosevelt and his beloved cat Sulmpers - they have something in common, don't they?

Polydactyls are sometimes called "Hemingway cats". It turns out that the great writer Ernest Hemingway adored cats - about fifty of them lived on the territory of his estate in Key West. And the unambiguous favorite of "old Ham" was the cat Snowball, on each of the front paws of which there were six toes. Now in Key West, where the writer's house-museum is located, at least sixty cats and cats are on allowance, and most of them are polydactics; these are the descendants of the famous Snowball.

Ernest Hemingway with a cat
Ernest Hemingway with a cat

Ernest Hemingway was very fond of cats

Photo gallery: many-fingered cats and kittens

Bad Cat
Bad Cat

The Canadian polydactic cat Poorish got his name for his special ingenuity in pranks

Cat tiger
Cat tiger

The famous Tiger cat is a representative of the American multi-fingered breed, he has 27 fingers

Samba cat
Samba cat

Maine Coon Polydact Samba is the most famous cat of Samara

Kittens from California
Kittens from California

A California resident finds a litter of multi-toed kittens in her garage

Wallace kitten
Wallace kitten

A kitten named Wallace was thrown into a Portland vet clinic

How to care for cat paws

All cats instinctively take great care of their paws, and the owners' task is to help them in this as much as possible. Even a very minor injury - a scuff, a crack or a scratch on the pads of the fingers can greatly unsettle your pet: he will become irritable or, conversely, depressed, lose his appetite. In addition, wounds in this area are extremely painful, and sensitive cats suffer greatly from them.

The causes of injury to the pads of the paws and fingers can be very different:

  • physical - cuts with sharp objects at home or while walking;
  • thermal - cats often get burns, jumping, for example, onto a hot stove, and frostbite of the fingers occurs in extreme cold;
  • chemical - if an animal walks in the snow in winter, then a chemical burn may appear on the foot from the substances that are sprinkled on it;
  • improper nutrition - unbalanced, poor-quality feeding leads to cracking of the skin on the pads and the appearance of weeping sores.
The cat has a paw
The cat has a paw

Even minor injury to the fingers is fraught with serious consequences.

To fix the problem, you need to timely identify its cause, and for this you should periodically carefully examine the pet's paws. And for the slightest skin disturbances on the pads and fingers, immediately rinse and heal the wounds. It is also very important to constantly monitor the condition of the claws - to ensure that they do not grow too long, do not split and do not get injured.

The claws of the cat are cut
The claws of the cat are cut

Trim your cat's claws in time

If the cat does not grind off the claws naturally, as they grow back, you will have to do a manicure - on your own or at the veterinarian. To prevent your pet from spoiling the upholstered furniture and wallpaper with its claws, just get him a good scratching post or make it yourself from scrap materials - it's not difficult at all.

Cat with a scratching post
Cat with a scratching post

Buy your cat a good scratching post

Video: do-it-yourself scratching post is easy

Owner reviews about cat fingers

Small toes on a cat's paws are the most important anatomical component of the body of this animal. The physical and mental health, as well as the normal functioning of the whole body of your pet, directly depends on the condition of the cat's fingers.

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