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Common Name:
American Polydactyl
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Common Name:  American Polydactyl

Other Common Names:  Hemingway Cat, Mitten Cat, Boston Cats

Scientific Name:  Felis catus  (Full Taxonomy)

Group:  

Origin or Range:  United States

Relative Size:  Larger Than Average  
    (as compared to other cats)

Average Lifespan:  ??? year(s)

Compatibility:  Relatively Non-Aggressive   
    (as compared to other cats)

Category:  Mammals » Cats
Animal Description: Breed Standard

How many toes can a cat have on one foot? Some American Polydactyl Cats have up to seven. Perhaps the most famous American Polydactyl Cats were those Ernest Hemingway wrote about, and as a result this breed is sometimes known as the Hemingway Cat or Mitten Cat.

In personality and care requirements, American Polydactyl Cats are much like any other cat. Many owners have made the observation, however, that their American Polydactyl cats seem to have a more relaxed and mellow personality than other cats they have owned. These cats are quite hardy and can survive even in snowy weather. American Polydactyl Cats adapt very well to indoor or outdoor life, or a combination of the two. They make outgoing pets, and are reported to be affectionate and patient even towards children.

In size, American Polydactyl Cats are medium to large with bodies strong and muscular in appearance. Their heads are broad, with a modified stop, and medium in size. Their noses and muzzles are medium sized and the chin has a squared appearance. The wide-set ears have pointy tips. Occasionally, American Polydactyl Cats used for stud purposes have very well developed cheeks. The rounded eyes of American Polydactyls are set at an angle, and any color or color combination is acceptable. This is true also of coat color and fur length, so long as the hairs lie close to the body. Longhaired American Polydactyl Cats should have silky smooth hair. The bodies of American Polydactyls are rectangular in shape, with good muscling over a medium bone frame. Their chests are well rounded and broad. Some American Polydactyls have bobtails, and these cats have shorter bodies than those with long tails. The legs of American Polydactyls are straight and sturdy, and bobtailed cats have hind legs that are noticeably longer than the front legs. Of course, the characterizing trait of the American Polydactyl Cat is its feet with their extra toes. One of the conformations of the extra toes looks like a thumb, and for this reason American Polydactyl Cats are also known as Cats with Thumbs. The other conformation is that of another, three-toed foot attached to the cat's four-toed foot. The extra toes may be found on the front feet only or on the back feet only, or all feet may have extra toes.

American Polydactyl Cats probably came to the United States on ships in the Colonial Period. They were kept by sailors who considered them to be extremely good luck when at sea. Their name, Polydactyl, means multiple toes. American Polydactyl Cats are actually regular house cats, but with a genetic mutation which gives them multiple toes, and sometimes a bobbed tail. Polydactyl Cats may be found in any breed, but American Polydactyl Cats are bred specifically for their extra toes, their temperaments, their good health, and their color or size.

Specific Care Information: Relative Care Ease: Average

Because of their larger feet, American Polydactyl Cats have an easier time walking on snow than do other cats. In the show ring American Polydactyl Cats will be penalized for deafness associated with blue-colored eyes in white-colored cats. Muzzles short enough to resemble a Persian Cat are penalized, as is a long body type resembling a Siamese Cat. American Polydactyl Cats will also lose points if their feet are such that they appear deformed or hinder the cats walking, and especially if they cause the cat discomfort in walking.

Breeding and Propagation: Relative Breeding Ease: Average

Polydactyl Cats are actually quite common and can be found at most animal shelters. Because of the overpopulation problem in cats, many people disapprove of breeding American Polydactyl Cats. Many people do breed them and are quite enthusiastic about them because of their great temperaments and unusual appearance! American Polydactyl Cats have extra toes because of a dominant gene. This means that kittens of a Polydactyl mother will have extra toes even if the father does not. Breeding two Polydactyl Cats increases the incidence of Polydactyl kittens. Because the gene has incomplete expression, however, it is not certain how many toes the kittens will have or what conformation their feet will show. American Polydactyl Cats can be registered with the breed society even if only one parent is Polydactyl. If both parents are Polydactyls and the kitten is not, it will be registered as an American Polydactyl without extra toes as long as it has a shortened tail.

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Sunday, 21 September 2014