Polydactyl Maine Coons: Unique and Fascinating Felines
Polydactyl Maine Coons are a captivating variation of the beloved Maine Coon breed. Contrary to popular belief, they are not a separate breed or a cross of breeds but rather Maine Coons with remarkable genetic traits. The Cat Fanciers’ Federation (CFF) and The International Cat Association (TICA) have recognized Polydactyl Maine Coons, granting them championship status.
Pterodactyl: The Origin of Polydactylism
The term “Polydactyl” comes from the Greek words “poly” (many) and “daktulos” (fingers). Polydactylism is a common trait inherited as autosomal dominant, occurring naturally in various animal species, including cats and even humans. The first scientific recording of Polydactylism in cats dates back to 1868.
The Extra Digits
Typically, a cat has 18 digits—four to five toes on each front paw, and four toes on each rear paw, along with one dewclaw on each front foot. In the case of Polydactyl Maine Coons, they possess one or two additional toes on each foot, often appearing on the thumb side of the paw. Some may even have different numbers of toes on each front foot.
The gene responsible for Polydactylism can result in either extra toes or extra dewclaws. Each extra toe typically has its own “terminal pad” (the fingertip pad) and may include an extension of the palmar pad on the front feet or the plantar pad on the rear feet.
2x or 2wd (Front Wheel Drive)
When a Polydactyl Maine Coon has extra toes on its front feet, it is referred to as “2x” or “2wd” (front wheel drive). These charming felines showcase their unique feature with grace and beauty.
4x or 4wd (All-Wheel Drive)
If a Polydactyl Maine Coon has extra toes on all four feet, it is referred to as “4x” or “4wd” (all-wheel drive). This distinctive characteristic adds to the allure of these extraordinary cats.
Unique Appearance and Personality
Polydactyl Maine Coons are renowned for their friendly and outgoing personalities, much like their non-polydactyl counterparts. They are known to be affectionate, intelligent, and gentle companions, making them cherished members of any family.
Prevalence and Genetic Inheritance
Polydactylism is a naturally occurring genetic variation and is not a defect or health concern for the cat. While it is more common in certain regions and populations, not all Maine Coons are polydactyl. The trait can be passed on to future generations, making it a fascinating aspect of the breed’s genetics.
Ethical Breeding and Care
Responsible breeders of Polydactyl Maine Coons ensure that the extra toes do not cause any discomfort or health issues for the cat. They prioritize the overall well-being and health of the kittens, adhering to ethical breeding practices and providing a nurturing environment for their feline family members.
Polydactyl Maine Coons continue to captivate cat enthusiasts with their unique appearance and endearing personalities. Whether they boast extra toes on the front or all four paws, one thing is for certain – Polydactyl Maine Coons never fail to capture our hearts with their distinctive and fascinating traits.