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6 or more toes

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
A cat was hit by a car near my house. It isn't unusual we live in the middle of nowhere on a busy hwy and are not to far from an animal shelter (people tend to drop off their pets in the middle of the night to avoid the fee).

Anyway a few hours later I heard meowing and my dog was whimpering and wagging her tail so much I thought she was going to dislocate a hip. I followed her and she lead me to the kittens.

I operate a clinical research company (we research humans, not animals) and so I did what I would do if I found 6 crying humans. I took them in and warmed them up. I've been feeding them kitten replacement formula according to the weight and weighing them everyday and I've been keeping a chart on each. Their stools look normal, they are eating well. I would guess they are about 2-3 weeks old (according to the info I've found on the web).

The odd thing is that out of the 6 kittens only 2 have the "normal" number of toes. The rest of them have extra toes. One only has extra toes on one side (front and back). They are sweet as can be. 4 of them are solid black, one is black with white paws and one looks like a siamese (I'm sure I spelled that wrong).

My question is why do the black ones shun the white one? He's always alone and the others are curled up together. And the obvious guestion...why do the black ones have extra toes?
post #2 of 13
You are an angel for rescuing these kittens!!

Extra toes = polydactyl cat, or sometimes known as a Hemingway cat. It is a genetically based trait in some cats. It is fairly rare, so consider yourself fortunate!!

Why one kitten doesn't hang out with the others? Not really sure. I've raised 2 orphaned litters and there were times when they didn't all snuggle in a pile. Keep a very close eye on that one, as it might be ill and just doesn't have the strength to wiggle his/her way into the kitten pile.

If they are eliminating on their own, they are more likely 3-4 weeks old. Do you need to stimulate them to go?

We'd love pictures.
post #3 of 13
Extras toes is just the result of a genetic mutation that's carried by a lot of cats in the US particularly in the Northeast/N.England area. About 98 percent of the time it does no particular harm to the cats to have an extra digit or two and therefore nature doesn't select against it.

At least one of your kitties' parents has this common cat mutation.

Occassionally the extra toes may have to be removed. Or oddly shaped or placed nails (like between the extra toes) may need regular trimming or removal by a vet, but its unusual and is not something anyone looking to adopt a cat really needs to concern themselves with. My family has a loveable 7-toed sloth at home named Midori. She has even figured out how to use them as thumbs to latch onto things.

But, this is where I digress into a discussion of evolutionary advancement in cats and how they are eventually going to take over the world from us...

Good luck with your little ones...
post #4 of 13
I have a poly litter, born to a poly mom. Three polys, three "normals".

The world record for the most digits in a cat is 28, 7 toes on each paw (front and back) Poly kittens sometimes have trouble learning to walk, and pick it up slower than the others, but once they get on their feet they can do some amazing things with those extra digits.

The mother of the poly litter I'm fostering right now would unlatch her cage at night! we caught on when we found kittens out in the AM and tied a toy around the cage, simple once around because we didn't think any better and after a few days she was able to remove the string and undo the latch! The coolest Poly I have right now is called Digit, he's got 7 on the left and 6 on the right!

they tend to get adopted fast because of their uniqueness! Good Luck!
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breellablue View Post

The mother of the poly litter I'm fostering right now would unlatch her cage at night! we caught on when we found kittens out in the AM and tied a toy around the cage, simple once around because we didn't think any better and after a few days she was able to remove the string and undo the latch!
Evolutionary advancement -opposable thumbs... The cats are taking over!

No, seriously my Midori has figured out tricks like that. she uses the extra toes like they're thumbs to latch onto stuff like your hand or a cat toy.

Mind you she does walk a little funny. The extra toes make her turn her feet out kind of like if you tried to walk on your hands.

Polys are fun!
post #6 of 13
I have a polydactyl Mama cat and her 6 kittens, 3 are polydactyl and 3 are not.


post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ok the white one, whom I was sure wasn't going to make it, got up for this mornings feeding and he's a whole new kitten. Normally I have to pry his mouth open and caox him slowly to eat, and this morning he attacked me and the syringe of milk. My hands are bloodied from his clawing and his belly is round as a beach ball.

Question 1: some of the kittens "suck" the milk out of the syringe and some of them "chew and lick" are the ones who are "chewing and licking" ready for more solid food out of a dish?

Question 2: some of the kittens go potty in the litter box when I scratch their paws in it and some don't. Is this normal for some to be "ahead" of the other ones?

Question 3: I've been stimulating them all while holding them over the litter box so they will get the idea that this is where they should go when they go on their own, is this the right way to do it? I've also been scratching thier paws in the litter before and after I stimulate them...do cats scratch their litter before and after they go potty?

Question 4: The day I found the kittens I took a life size stuffed toy cat my kids had and I rubbed it around in the "nest" to try and pick up the mother's scent. We have human mother's leave a shirt they have worn to put in with a baby so they are comforted by the scent of mom, I was quessing it might be the same with cats. I keep it near the heating pad and they curl up next to the stuffed cat. But now that they are getting more playful and nipping at each other I'm nervous they might bite off a piece of fur and get choked. Should I take it out of the play pen?

Thank you all again for sharing your stories and insight.
post #8 of 13
1) Try some moistened dry kitten food, I have a litter where two are eating it, and two are still nursing. Every kitten is different.

2) like I said before, they're all different.

3) Some yes, some no. Sometimes one cat will change their prerogative.

4) thats totally up to you. I have stuffies that the kittens play with all the time, and unless they rip them open I don't take them out. HOWEVER: just be sure it doesn't have eyes or other small attachments that could be ripped off and swallowed.

Good luck!
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharma3 View Post
Ok the white one, whom I was sure wasn't going to make it, got up for this mornings feeding and he's a whole new kitten. Normally I have to pry his mouth open and caox him slowly to eat, and this morning he attacked me and the syringe of milk. My hands are bloodied from his clawing and his belly is round as a beach ball.

That's good sign!

Question 1: some of the kittens "suck" the milk out of the syringe and some of them "chew and lick" are the ones who are "chewing and licking" ready for more solid food out of a dish?

I don't think it makes a difference. All 4 of my orphans "sucked" on the syringe and they chose their own time on when they started lapping. The next step is lapping the KMR by the way. Migrate them over to a dish then you can start to incorporate food into that dish.

Question 2: some of the kittens go potty in the litter box when I scratch their paws in it and some don't. Is this normal for some to be "ahead" of the other ones?

Yes, but not by many days.

Question 3: I've been stimulating them all while holding them over the litter box so they will get the idea that this is where they should go when they go on their own, is this the right way to do it? I've also been scratching thier paws in the litter before and after I stimulate them...do cats scratch their litter before and after they go potty?

That's exactly how I trained my to the litter box and all 4 of them are obsessed with using it as adults. Some cats scratch before, but most do not. Some don't even bother to cover after they go.

Question 4: The day I found the kittens I took a life size stuffed toy cat my kids had and I rubbed it around in the "nest" to try and pick up the mother's scent. We have human mother's leave a shirt they have worn to put in with a baby so they are comforted by the scent of mom, I was quessing it might be the same with cats. I keep it near the heating pad and they curl up next to the stuffed cat. But now that they are getting more playful and nipping at each other I'm nervous they might bite off a piece of fur and get choked. Should I take it out of the play pen?

If you see that it is losing hair and they are ingesting it, then yes, you might consider taking it away from them. Perhaps give it back when you know they are getting close to sleepy time.

Thank you all again for sharing your stories and insight.
It sounds like you are doing a great job!
post #10 of 13
I just wanted to wish you well. You're doing a great thing--and I know its a lot of work. I have a litter of five--but have the momma and I still feel like I'm doing a lot--my poor resident boys beg for love at night and I think I've been neglecting them (I guess when your number of cats goes from 2 to 3 to 8 things get a little crazy)

Good luck and remember we are storing up our treasures in Heaven

Leslie
post #11 of 13
I have actually seen couple of cases where the extra toes were causing alot of pain for the cats. Both of them seemed to be fine as kittens, but when they grew up the other one had her toes removed in a surgery and the other had to be put to sleep because it wouldn't have been possible to remove the toes for some reason, her front legs would have had to been amputated.

I was a kid back then and the cats belonged to my friend. They had chosen those cats because they had the extra toes, so it was definitely a case of bad luck for them. (The cats were not related to each other).

Some people in Finland call polydactyl cats 'ship cats' or 'swamp cats'. The ship cat name comes from the fact that when long time ago people had cats in their ships to kill rats etc, the cat population started to become polydactyls because of high inbreeding.
And the swamp cat name was given to them because people believed that polydactyl cats developed their extra toes to make it easier to walk in swamps (or something like that).
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernGlow View Post
I have actually seen couple of cases where the extra toes were causing alot of pain for the cats. Both of them seemed to be fine as kittens, but when they grew up the other one had her toes removed in a surgery and the other had to be put to sleep because it wouldn't have been possible to remove the toes for some reason, her front legs would have had to been amputated.

I was a kid back then and the cats belonged to my friend. They had chosen those cats because they had the extra toes, so it was definitely a case of bad luck for them. (The cats were not related to each other).

Some people in Finland call polydactyl cats 'ship cats' or 'swamp cats'. The ship cat name comes from the fact that when long time ago people had cats in their ships to kill rats etc, the cat population started to become polydactyls because of high inbreeding.
And the swamp cat name was given to them because people believed that polydactyl cats developed their extra toes to make it easier to walk in swamps (or something like that).

yeah, sometimes when the toes are extra jointed they have to be amputated, but it is not a common occourance.
post #13 of 13
I just wanted to say good for you for taking in these guys, and I'm so glad that everything is alright
Keep us updated on your little kittens!
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