I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that Memphis is a polydactyl (AKA: Boston Thumbs Cat and Hemingway Kitties). Which means he has extra toes on his paws, as well as some ginormous paws!
Here is his left rear paw compared to his sister Belle’s left rear paw.
He only has one extra toe on each paw, but there are many polys out there that have more toes, and some with less (they only have extra toes on two paws instead of all four)
What makes his case a bit different is HOW his extra toes formed. The ones on his rear paws are fine and make him look like he’s wearing snowshoes all the time.His front paws on the other hand, while also huge, have the potential to cause a bit of health issue if not looked after.
His extra front toes actually curve UNDER is paw in such a way the he can’t clean them easily, or stretch/strip the claws while scratching like normal cats would. So if I don’t keep his claws on those toes clipped short and clear of debris, he runs the risk of puncturing his paw pads and infection.
This issue was brought to my attention when he was still a kitten during one of his routine kitten visits to the Vet. His Vet actually recommended that I de-claw those extra toes to keep from running that risk. Since I wasn’t able to afford the surgery at that time I asked if claw trims would be a good alternative, she was a bit hesitant to agree since his paws would need constant attention.
Now five years later he still has his extra toes, and we have never had any issues with punctured pads or infection.
In retrospect I think his Vet was hesitant since we were just developing our Doctor/Client/Patient relationship. Now she doesn’t worry about his paws as much since she knows I check them often and will let her know if there is an issue.
Most polys I believe don’t have these issues, but if you do happen to adopt a poly with even more special toes, remember that routine paw care is a MUST.