While most cats usually have a total of 18 toes, polydactyl cats can have as much as 28! Derived from the Greek word for “many fingers or toes”, polydactyly is a genetic mutation causing more than the usual number of digits in cats.
Nicknamed mitten cats, snowshoe cats, and Hemingway cats, polydactyl cats have this condition that sometimes makes them look like they have thumbs.
This is generally harmless and can occur with any cat breed or size, but they are mostly seen among Maine Coon cats. Felines with this inherited trait are usually found in the East coast of North America, South West England, and Wales.
With their extra toes, polydactyl cats have wider paws which provide better balance and can help them climb. Due to these characteristics, these felines are considered lucky by sailors and were usually brought in long journeys to help catch mice and keep the ship’s supplies safe.
Average Cost of a Polydactyl Cat
With numerously available breeds, polydactyl cat price can vary. Be sure to obtain a cat from a cattery registered with reputable organizations such as Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), International Cat Association (ICA), World Cat Congress (WCC), and World Cat Federation (WCF).
American Polydactyl Cats and Maine Coon Polydactyls are the most common types sold. Rebel Cattery in Nebraska prices a standard Maine Coon kitten at $1,200, while polydactyls are a little bit more expensive at $1,300.
Both include a one-year genetic guarantee and lifetime breeder support. Adult or retired polydactyl cats are also available at $500 to $800.
Colorado Maine Coon Cattery also breeds polydactyl kittens at $2,000 each with a $550 shipping cost if you are unable to pick them up personally.
Thinking of Adopting Instead?
If you think polydactyl cats are adorable, then you can count yourself among the likes of Nobel-Prize winning author, Ernest Hemingway. To this day, 40-60 cats with the polydactyl gene are living in the Hemingway estate.
Polydactylism, while unusual is not rare. Any cat breed may inherit the polydactyl gene.
Cats Now archives a number of polydactyl cats for adoption – priced around $200 to $500. You can also check out animal shelters near you and online and you will find a perfect polydactyl cat for you!
Overall Living Expenses
Of course, the cost of owning polydactyl cat does not end at its purchase. You will have to provide it with its basic needs.
Polydactyls are also famous for their more playful personality compared to their 18-toed relatives. Giving them toys would certainly up their quality of life.
Most polydactyl cat breeds are not hypoallergenic – meaning, they are not suitable for people allergic to cats. However, if you decide that their cuteness far outweighs the health risks, consult your doctor so that an antihistamine regimen may be arranged.
Special care will also be dependent on the cat breed. Cats with brachycephalic skulls tend to have poor fluid drainage demanding regular eye cleaning. Scottish Folds and other breeds with folded ears are prone to ear cartilage problem.
Feeding – There is no doubt that cats are picky eaters. Some would always prefer one brand over the other.
Kittens would also require wet food for the first several months. Hands-on cat owners even prepare for their pet’s meals to make sure it is fresh and safe.
A new trend emerging is raw feeding, where cats are fed raw chicken and a few vegetables. This is what many believe is the natural way since wild cats catch their prey and eat them raw.
Regardless of what method you choose, food is the central part of owning a cat. Make sure you have a feeding station far away from the litter box since cats are very sensitive to smell.
Multiple cat owners would also suggest that you provide different feeding bowls for each cat as felines are quite territorial.
- Purina Fancy Feast Dry Food 12 lbs: $20
- Hill’s Science Diet Canned Wet Food 2.9oz (24 cans): $22
- Temptation Treats for Cats 30oz: $15.78
- Cat Bowls (set of 2): $13
Equipment – More toes equals more fun! The playful nature of the polydactyl cat is directly attributed to its increased number of digits and bigger paws.
Polydactyl cats are more sure-footed due to their improved balance and will run around circles in the house.
Cat owners attest to this active behavior. These cats can open cabinet doors and will certainly knock off a few objects displayed on top of your shelf.
But before you second guess your choice in cats, this restless trait can certainly be managed.
Provide your cat toys, scratching posts, and other things to distract from those picture frames above your fireplace. You can go all out and build a cat jungle in your house using a few empty hanging bookshelves.
For pet transport and trips to the vet, you will also need a carrier large enough to fit your cat but one that is still cozy. Cats feel safe when they’re tucked away in a tight corner.
To keep your cat safe and to ensure that you will be able to locate it if it wanders off, your pet will also need a collar – preferably one with its name and owner’s name.
For extra measure, microchip your cat. This may sound unnecessary but you can never be too safe.
- Amazon Basics Cat Activity Tree: $36
- Cat Scratcher with Catnip: $6 – $12
- PetStages Tower of Tracks Cat Toy: $10
- Bemix Pet Reflective Collar with Bell (Pack of 3): $9
- Cat Tailer Bluetooth Waterproof Tracker Collar: $59.00
- HomeAgain Microchip Implant Kit: $11 – $25
- EliteField Pet Carrier: $26
Hygiene – Cats should be brought for grooming regularly to keep its coat shiny and healthy. Aside from aesthetics, a clean and well-groomed cat indicates good circulation and disposition.
Although cats clean themselves, professional care should be given to them once in a while depending on fur length. Long-haired cats and older cats are more prone to health issues that come up due to bad grooming habits.
Most cats should be sent to the groomers once a month to have maximum benefit. Pet Salon USAcharges $29.95 – 48.95 for standard grooming of small pets. This included bath, brush, trim, groom, nail trim/file, ear cleaning, and anal gland expression (if requested).
Indoor cats may be bathed less frequently every four to six weeks due to minimal exposure to dust and dirt – with complete grooming needed only three or four times a year.
American polydactyls and Maine Coon polydactyls are famous for their constant shedding; partly due to their long, thick fur.
Brush your cat’s fur once a day. This is essential to prevent hairball and evenly distribute natural oils from the skin.
- Grooming Glove: From $4.39
- Grooming Brush: From $3.28
- Grooming Metal-Comb: From $0.30
- Cat Claw Trimmer: From $5.99
- Pet Shampoo: From $2.67
A clean cat is a happy cat. Felines are hygienic creatures in general.
They keep their body spotless by self-grooming and they expect their environment to be as sanitary. Healthy indoor cats use the litter box to relieve themselves; though there are cats that are toilet-trained.
Litter and its accessories is another thing to always include in your shopping list.
- 7-Pound Litter Sand: From $6.00
- Litter Box: From $2.30
- Litter Scoop: From $2.29
- Litter Deodorizer: From $3.70
Medical Care – Putting their genetic condition aside, polydactyl cats are generally healthy cats. If you want to make sure your cat has a happy and long life, annual medical check-ups are a must.
With an average lifespan of around 14 years, there is no question that medical expenses take up a huge chunk of cat care cost. Prices may vary depending on the brand and products you use, the veterinarian, the geographical area, and the type of illness.
Invest in good pet insurance for your cat. This will save you thousands of dollars in medical fees if your cat needed emergency treatment or critical care.
- First-year Vaccinations: Up to $190 with free physical exam
- Flea and Tick Control: Up to $139
- Spay and Neuter: $130 (male) and $140 (female)
- Boost shots for Adult Cats: $98
- Physical Exam: $25
- Heartworm Prevention: Up to $117
Special Care – Polydactyly is usually harmless and does not have any detrimental effects on cats. Look at it as an anomaly, rather than a deformity; just a rather charming quirk. These cats have an extra phalangeal growth on their paws.
Polydactyl cats are predisposed to injury due to an additional digit either with soft tissues or connecting to an inappropriate bone structure. Typical issues to watch out for include nail overgrowth, irregular nail growth, and nail bed infections.
Meticulous paw and nail care will usually thwart these risks. Trim your cat’s nails constantly and check for any sign of tenderness in the toes.
Keep your cat’s environment free from tight spots where it or its toes might get stuck. The more toes a cat has, the more it is likely to get stepped on or caught.
Pay special attention to your cat’s regular routine and any deviation from it. If you observed that your cat favors walking on one side than the other, has started self-grooming more frequently or does not each as much, chances are, something is wrong and you should bring it for a check-up.