A litter of polydactyl kittens was born in foster care, with a whole lot of extra toe beans to go ’round!
Virginia ceramics artist and kitten fosterer Lisa Zolandz shared the story of Mama Mirabel and her kittens born with extra toe beans, a genetic abnormality. Along with gorgeous crystalline glazed pottery, we often see her foster kittens, a beautiful and unusual combo of kittens and clay.
Known as polydactyly, most Mirabel’s kittens had more than the usual five toes in the front and four in the back. Their unique toes are adorable, but the condition is not all that uncommon. Before going on, it’s important to note that there are unscrupulous breeders who claim these cats are rare and worth a lot of money. However, this is a scam, and you can find polydactyl cats and kittens from animal shelters and rescue groups.
🐾 4 Polydactyl Kittens – 17 Extra Toe Beans 🐾
Mama Mirabel’s litter of cuties includes four polydactyl boys and one female with the usual mittens. Notably, polydactyly can affect males or females of any cat breed.
“Finally! They’re here!!! Mama Mirabel had 5 kittens on Wednesday, and they’re all doing well,” Zolandz shared to Instagram. “Four out of 5 are polydactyl boys and 1 female without any extra toes. One of the boys has 7 toes on one of his feet! A total of 17 extra toes between the 4 of them.”
One Kitten – 23 1/2 Beans!
In another post, Zolandz showed that the “chunkiest” kitten has 23 1/2 toes, all to himself. That’s a lot of toe beans!
“23 1/2 toes on this guy! There’s a bitty toe bean without a claw on one of his back feet. He’s also the chunkiest one of the bunch at 184g.”
The Kittens and Their Pretty Calico Mama
Fortunately for these foster babies, Mama Mirabel is caring for them. So, they get all the nutrition and attention they need without requiring round-the-clock bottle feeding.
“Eat, sleep, repeat,” Zolandz posted.
“When all goes well, fostering kittens with their mama is by far the easiest fostering situation. Beyond making sure that mama has all she needs, I just need to monitor weights and admire the babies.”
To follow the progress of this extra toe bean bunch, you can follow them all on Instagram. One day, they will have a loving home, but until then, we might spy them among this artist’s beautiful pottery?
Polydactyl Cats Vs. Radial Hypoplasia
With polydactyl cats, there can be six or more toes on each paw, but it doesn’t affect their health. In fact, the wider paws can help some cats balance as they search for prey. In Maine Coon cats, 40 percent may have polydactyly, which can help them walk in the snow like insulated snowshoes.
For this reason, polydactyl cats once traveled on ships, making excellent mousers on the rough seas. As such, they were considered good luck like black cats. In other cases, polydactyl cats can be clumsy, so it depends on the unique cat.
According to The Spruce Pets, it’s extremely rare to have polydactyly on all four paws. Generally, it affects the front paws more and is sometimes confused with feline radial hypoplasia. In those cases, kittens can have extra toes that crowd normal toes, a deformity that results in large, flat feet. Unlike polydactyly, the condition can harm the cat’s health.
Recently, we shared the story of a famous polydactyl cat known worldwide as Lil Bub. After DNA testing, it turned out the cat with extra toes and a lolling tongue may be related to six-toed cats in Key West. Today, descendants of those cats remain at author Ernest Hemingway’s former home, now a museum.
Hemingways love of polydactyl casts began when a ship captain gifted him a white polydactyl cat named Snow Ball.
More about Hemingway and his cats from Grunge: