Polydactyl cats, which are cats with extra fingers on their paws. The most common variation of this are cats “with thumbs” as they are informally called. This is the result of a genetic mutation that’s passed on by an autosomal dominant trait. However, there are multiple variations of this mutation that make the location of these extra fingers different. A postaxial polydactyl cat has extra fingers on the pinky side of the paw, a mesoaxial polydactyl has extra toes in the middle of the paw, and a preaxial polydactyl has the so called “thumbs''. Most polydactyl cats are preaxial, as this is the most common variation.
Certain breeds of cats such as the Maine Coon or the Pixiebob breed have a much higher chance of having extra fingers on their paws, explains Anita Patel, the Medical Director at IndeVets. These cats also enjoy some benefits; they are usually much more adept at climbing up onto structures, as they have wider paws which do not lose traction the same way that normal cats’ paws do. Polydactyly usually does not cause any health problems for the cat later down the line, and they have around the same life expectancy as any other cat, which is around 12-15 years.