The American Polydactyl is a medium to large sized domestic cat characterized by extra toes on the feet.
The body is strong and powerful with a broad chest. It has a broad head and ears that are set wide apart. The muzzle is somewhat square, but not foreshortened. These are very outgoing cats.
American Polydactyls come in all colors. They may be tailless, have short tails, or have full-length tails. They come in both long and short hair.
The polydactyl gene is a dominant gene. The cats may be polydactyl only in the front feet, only in the hind feet, or on all feet.
Nicknames for polydactyl cats include “boxing cats“, “mitten cats“, “mitten-foot cats“, “snowshoe cats”, “thumb cats“, “six-fingered cats“, “Cardi-cats”, “Hemingway cats“, and “double-pawed cats”.
Normal cats have a total of 18 toes, with five toes on each front paw and four toes on each hind paw; polydactyl cats may have as many as seven digits on their front and/or hind paws. Tiger, a Canadian polydactyl cat with 27 toes, was recognised by Guinness World Records as having the highest number of toes on a cat.
Registration on American Polydactyls is still open at this time. This means that cats displaying the characteristic extra toes may be registered as American Polydactyls. In addition, outcrosses are allowable. Due to the dominant nature of the polydactyl gene, some kittens with “normal” feet may be born in litters. These kittens are still registered as American Polydactyls. The “PD” genetic code is used to designate if a cat displays the polydactyl gene.
The true polydactyly is a congenital abnormality, genetically inherited as an autosomal dominant trait of the Pd gene with incomplete penetrance.
Nobel Prize–winning author Ernest Hemingway was one of the more famous lovers of polydactyl cats, after being first given a six-toed cat by a ship’s captain. Upon Hemingway’s death in 1961, his former home in Key West, Florida, became a museum and a home for his cats, and it currently houses approximately fifty descendants of his cats (about half of which are polydactyl). Because of his love for these animals, “Hemingway Kitty Cat“, or simply “Hemingway Cat”, is a term which has come to describe polydactyls.