Polydactyl Maine Coons are an interesting breed of cats that have a unique feature – extra toes! These cats have an extra digit on each paw, giving them a total of eight or even nine toes per foot. Polydactyly is the medical term for this trait and is especially common in Maine Coon cats. It can appear as either a dominant or recessive gene, although it’s more common to find this trait in purebred Maine Coons.
The extra digits are not just aesthetically pleasing; they also provide these cats with added agility and balance when navigating tight spaces or jumping higher than their counterparts. This makes polydactyl Maine Coons especially well equipped for life in the wild, where they were originally bred centuries ago. They may even be able to hunt prey more effectively due to their increased dexterity!
This article provides a comprehensive exploration of polydactyl Maine Coons, from their history to the care they need. We cover everything from their grooming needs to potential genetic health risks, so you know all there is to know about these interesting cats.
What is a Polydactyl Maine Coon Cat?
A Maine Coon polydactyl is a type of Maine Coon cat that has a genetic mutation that causes it to have extra toes on its paws. This trait is sometimes referred to as “thumb cats” or “mitten cats” because the extra toes resemble thumbs or mittens. Their extra-large paws are nick-named double-paws as their paws are usually double-wide when compared to a non-poly Maine Coon cat.
A polydactyl Maine Coon can have extra toes on their front and/or back paws. The number of extra toes can vary from cat to cat, with some having just one or two extra toes, while others may have several extra toes. It’s not uncommon for polydactyl Maine Coons to have six or more toes on each front paw, and sometimes even on their hind paws as well.
The cats are able to traverse through snow with greater ease, so they are sometimes nicknamed as snowshoe cats. However, they are most commonly referred to as polys.
What causes a Maine Coon to be Polydactyl?
A dominant gene is responsible for producing polydactyl Maine Coons. If one parent is polydactyl, there is a chance that the offspring will also be polydactyl. The extra toes are a result of a genetic mutation that causes an extra digit to form on the paw.
When breeding poly Maine Coons, it’s important to note that breeding two polydactyl Maine Coons together can increase the chances of genetic health problems. This is because when two individuals with the same polydactyl gene mutation breed together, the chances of passing on the same genetic mutation to their offspring increases.
To decrease the chances of genetic issues, it’s recommended to breed polydactyl Maine Coons with non-polydactyl Maine Coons. This is known as outbreeding, which is a breeding strategy that aims to produce kittens with a lower probability of genetic disorders.
It’s also important to note that even when breeding polydactyl Maine Coons with non-polydactyl Maine Coons, there is still a chance that the offspring will be polydactyl. This is because the gene that causes the extra toes is dominant, meaning it will be expressed even if only one parent has the gene.
History of the Polydactyl Maine Coon
The history and evolution of polydactyl Maine Coons can be traced back to the early days of seafaring. Sailors would often bring cats on board their ships to control the rodent population. These cats would often have the polydactyl trait, which was believed to bring good luck to the ship and crew. The extra toes were thought to provide better traction on slippery surfaces, which would be beneficial on a ship.
Maine Coons with extra toes were common in the region of New England, their place of origin. These cats were favored by the region’s fishermen and sailors. Additionally, they were often sighted on farms and in rural areas due to their prowess in hunting.
At the turn of the 20th century, the Maine Coon breed lost its popularity and the polydactyl trait started to become scarce. In the last few years, though, the breed has experienced a resurgence of interest, and the polydactyl trait has become more widespread.
Today, polydactyl Maine Coons are considered a variation of the standard Maine Coon breed and are recognized by many cat registries and organizations.
Polydactyl Maine Coon Personality
Polydactyl Maine Coons are known for their friendly and affectionate personalities. They are playful and enjoy playing with toys, especially interactive ones like strings, balls, and laser pointers. They also enjoy climbing and exploring their surroundings, making them great indoor-outdoor cats. Polydactyl Maine Coons are curious and inquisitive, often getting into mischief if they are not given enough mental and physical stimulation.
They have a strong bond with their owners and enjoy spending time with them, whether it’s cuddling on the couch or playing together. They can also be quite vocal, and they may communicate with their owners through a variety of meows, chirps, and purrs. They are also known for being quite loyal and protective of their owners, and they may even follow them around the house.
Polydactyl Maine Coons are intelligent and easy to train. They are quick learners and can be taught a variety of tricks, such as fetching, rolling over, and playing hide and seek. They also respond well to positive reinforcement training methods and can be trained to do things like using the litter box, coming when called, and walking on a leash.
Overall, Polydactyl Maine Coons are known for their friendly, affectionate, and playful personalities. They make great companions for people of all ages and can be a great addition to any household.
Polydactyl Maine Coon Care Requirements
Polydactyl Maine Coons have similar care requirements as standard Maine Coons. They have a thick and long coat that requires regular grooming to keep it in good condition. This includes brushing their fur at least once a week to remove any tangles, mats, and loose hair. They may also need occasional trimming to keep their fur from getting too long.
Their diet is also an important aspect of their care. They should be fed a well-balanced diet that provides all the necessary nutrients, including protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Wet or dry food formulated specifically for Maine Coon cats is the best option, and it’s important to choose a high-quality brand that meets their nutritional needs. They also need fresh water available at all times.
It’s also important to keep an eye on the extra toes and make sure they stay clean and free of infection. The extra toes may be more prone to injury, so it’s important to make sure they are not getting caught in anything or getting too dirty. Checking their paws regulary and cleaning them if necessary can help prevent problems.
Regular veterinary check-ups are also important to ensure that your polydactyl Maine Coon is healthy and to address any health issues that may arise. Additionally, if you notice any issues with their extra toes, it’s important to consult a veterinarian with experience in treating polydactyl cats.
Are Polydactyl Maine Coons recognized by the various cat associations?
Polydactyl Maine Coons are recognized by many cat registries and organizations as a variation of the maine coon breed standard. They are not considered a separate breed but rather a genetic variation of the standard Maine Coon.
The most well-known cat registry, The International Cat Association (TICA), recognizes polydactyl Maine Coons in their Maine Coon breeding program. They are considered a natural genetic variation and can be shown in competitions alongside standard purebred Maine Coons.
Another well-known cat registry, the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), also recognizes polydactyl Maine Coons as a variation of the standard pedigree Maine Coon breed. They are not eligible to be shown in cat shows, but they are accepted as pets.
In Europe, the World Cat Federation (WCF) recognizes the polydactyl Maine Coon as a natural variation of the Maine Coon breed and allows them to participate in competitions.
It’s important to note that the extra toes are not considered a health issue and do not affect the cat’s overall health and well-being. Some registries may have certain rules and regulations for showing polydactyl Maine Coons in competitions, but they are generally accepted as a natural variation of the breed.
What other cat breeds are polydactyl?
Polydactylism can be found in many different cat breeds, with Maine Coons being one of the most well-known. Other cats with extra toes are:
American Polydactyl: This breed is believed to have originated in the New England area, and is known for its extra toes.
American Shorthair: This breed can also be found with extra toes, although it is not as common as in the previous breeds.
British Shorthair: This breed can also be found with extra toes, although it is not as common as in the previous breeds.
Scottish Fold: This breed can also be found with extra toes, although it is not as common as in the previous breeds.
Other breeds like: Exotic Shorthair, Siamese, Sphynx, Manx, and many others.
Where to find a Polydactyl Maine Coon Cat?
There are a few ways to find a polydactyl Maine Coon for adoption. One of the most popular ways is through animal shelters and rescue organizations. You may be lucky enough to find a polydactyl Maine Coon available for adoption at your local shelter, which can be a great way to give a loving home to a cat in need.
Another way to find a polydactyl Maine Coon is through breed-specific rescues. Maine Coon rescues are dedicated to rescuing and rehoming Maine Coon cats, and some of them may have polydactyl cats available. See our guide to Maine Coon Rescue and Rehoming for more information.
You can also find polydactyl Maine Coon cats from breeders. However, it’s important to make sure that the breeder is reputable, and that the cats are healthy and well-cared for. Find a registered breeder here.
Lastly, you can look for polydactyl Maine Coon cats for adoption on online platforms like Petfinder and Adopt-a-Pet. These websites can help you find adoptable cats in your area.
It’s worth noting that adopting a polydactyl Maine Coon from a shelter or rescue can be a great way to save a life and provide a loving home to a cat in need. And always make sure to research the breeder or rescue before adopting.
In conclusion, Polydactyl Maine Coons are a unique and fascinating variation of the beloved Maine Coon breed. With their extra toes and friendly personalities, they make great companions for cat lovers.