Meet Paws, the polydactyl cat who ties the Guinness World Record for feline with the most toes

In an extraordinary story posted by CBS News in February 2018, a rescued polydactyl cat finds a home with owner Jeanne Martin of Minnesota. 

Special rescue

In the video, Martin’s daughter’s partner, Walter Nachtigall, recounts rescuing the polydactyl cat, Paws, on his maple syrup farm near Cokato, Minnesota. He remembers the warm-hearted demeanor and nature of the feline when he found her.

Receptive to belly rubs, the friendly cat felt comfortable being around him. Eventually, she had a litter of kittens and ended up with Martin.

She is extra special. Not only does Paws have a sweet disposition, but she also has a total of twenty-eight toes.

This ties the Guinness World Record holder Jake for the most toes on a feline. Paws has three extra toes on each front paw and three extra on her back paws.

Although unusual, this trait is genetic. Paws unique feet help her navigate around the house and grip narrow surfaces much easier.

Jeanne Martin states that when taking Paws to the veterinarian for nail-trimming, she’s sure to remind them to get all twenty-eight toes. Fortunately for her, they don’t charge a fee per toe.

Her unique attributes don’t end there. Mom Martin says,

“She can even say ‘hello.’ It’s really funny.” 

What is a Polydactyl cat?

Polydactyly occurs as a result of a genetic mutation in a dominant gene. Consequently, this forms extra toes on a cat’s paws; any number between four to seven toes on a feline’s paws.

The condition is not fatal, although it may make nail-trimming a bit more laborious. The extra toes on the feline can prove to be quite advantageous as it offers additional support and grip when navigating the terrain.

The appearance of the paws resembles that of mittens or human hands. 

cat polydactyl toes
Paws, the polydactyl cat, has three extra toes on its forepaws and back paws. Pic Credit: @CBSNews/YouTube

Fun Fact

Polydactyl cats are sometimes referred to as Hemingway cats. Why?

Writer Ernest Hemingway loved them. Once gifted a white, polydactyl cat named Snow Ball by a ship’s captain, Hemingway developed an affinity for these multi-toed felines.

After his death, his home transformed into a museum and a home for his beloved cats. The current cat colony is descendants of about fifty cats; half are polydactyl.

Do you own a polydactyl cat? Did you know about Paws tying the Guinness World Record? 

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