European Maine Coon Cats

Polydactyl Maine Coon Cat — More than Just Extra Toes

Polydactyl Maine Coon Cat — More than Just Extra Toes
Aleksey Malov Director, MasterCoons Cattery

The Maine Coon polydactyl cat has a unique charm that makes people fall in love with it instantly. Due to their unique personality and cute extra toes, they are very popular among cat lovers. But if you look into their past more, you'll find an interesting link between polydactylism and how the Maine Coon breed first came to be.

It's easy to see why a common belief about the long-lasting connection between these unique traits continues. With their beautiful, many-toed paws and charming personalities, these cats intrigue and charm people.

In this article, we'll solve the mystery of Polydactyl Maine Coon Cats by looking at how rare they are, what causes polydactyly in this breed, and the different kinds of polydactyly they can show. Read this information to learn more about the beautiful world of Polydactyl Maine Coon Cats.

What Causes a Polydactyl Maine Coon Cat?

Polydactyl Maine Coon cats get their additional toes through a genetic abnormality passed down from a parent's dominant gene. Polydactyly can happen in any type of cat, but Maine Coons are more likely to have it. Polydactylism can happen with just one change to a gene.

Children of polydactyl parents have a 50% chance of also being polydactyl. However, the exact cause of polydactyly in Maine Coons is still unknown. This genetic difference makes the breed more exciting and shows how complicated feline genetics can be. It also makes us appreciate the variety of features that domestic cats have.

Types of Polydactyly in Maine Coons

Postaxial Polydactyly

Postaxial polydactyly, or "snowshoe paw," is a unique trait that Maine Coons have. In this type, extra toes stick out from the paw's edge, which makes it look like a snowshoe. This unique trait makes the breed more appealing and helps give it a distinctive look.

This condition, called postaxial polydactyly, shows how genetically diverse Maine Coon populations are and how fascinatingly different cats can look. It also helps us learn more about polydactylism in this popular breed.

Preaxial Polydactyly

If a Maine Coon has preaxial polydactyly, also known as "mitten paw," it means that it has extra toes on the side of its paw that faces the middle of the cat. This unique trait gives the breed its look and is something that all polydactyl Maine Coon cats have in common.

The condition known as preaxial polydactyly shows how genetically diverse the breed is and how fascinatingly different cats' bodies can be. We can better understand the unique traits of the Maine Coon and the complicated processes involved in genetic transfer in cats by learning about this type of polydactyly.

Are Polydactyl Maine Coon Cats Rarer than Normal Ones?

Contrary to popular belief, polydactyl cats are pretty common. If one parent has polydactylism, there is a 50% chance that the child will too. Even though polydactyly is more common in Maine Coons—about 40% of the breed at one point—everyone has worked hard to lower its incidence.

Breeders have tried to get Maine Coons to lose this trait through careful breeding. This shows that polydactyl Maine Coons cats may have been relatively common in the past but that breeding programs have worked to make them less common, possibly making non-polydactyl Maine Coons more common in recent generations.

What is it Like Having an Extra Toe for a Maine Coon?

Maine Coon Kittens


Having an additional toe for a Maine Coon cat has many advantages. Historically, shipsailors admired these polydactyl felines for their outstanding climbing abilities. The extra toes gave them a more excellent grasp, similar to having hands, which made them skilled climbers of trees and ship masts.

This distinguishing feature enabled them to traverse their surroundings more successfully than cats without additional toes. Furthermore, their improved climbing abilities made them skilled mouse hunters, winning them the respect of sailors who considered them lucky.

Overall, the extra toe of a Maine Coon cat provided advantages in climbing, hunting, and navigation, making them valuable companions on ships.


Most postaxial polydactyly Maine Coons cats don't have any problems with their extra toes, but in some cases, preaxial polydactyly cats may need surgery. In these situations, the extra toe or toes are between their other toes and their "thumb."

These extra toes can sometimes fold over and grow into the foot, which can hurt and cause infections. To help with these problems, vets often suggest cutting off the claw on the extra toe to avoid pain and illness.

Although it doesn't usually happen, polydactyl Maine Coon owners need to keep an eye on their cats' extra toes and see a vet if any problems arise to make sure their pet is healthy and happy.

Care Requirements

Taking care of a polydactyl Maine Coon's paws is pretty straightforward: just check them often for any problems or accidents. Make sure to look at each paw to see if any cuts or foreign items are stuck between the toes.

Regular nail trimming of Maine Coons is important to prevent nails from growing too long, which can cause pain or sticking. Giving your cat lots of scratching posts and toys lets its claws naturally wear down, keeping them healthy. Keep an eye on how active your cat is, and clean its toes often to prevent illnesses or pain.

Overall, it's important for your polydactyl Maine Coon's health to get regular medical care and make sure they can do everyday things. You can help your furry friend live a relaxed and happy life by keeping an eye on their paw health and taking care of any problems as soon as possible.

Can a Polydactyl Maine Coon Compete in Shows?

Potentially showing a polydactyl Maine Coon depends on the rules set by the organizing group. Some groups, like the New Zealand Cat Fancy Inc. and the International Cat Association, are open to cats with extra toes and let polydactyl Maine Coons compete in their shows.

However, groups like the Federation Internationale Feline (FIFe) don't recognize polydactyls or allow them to be registered or bred. Because of this significant difference in acceptance, the polydactyl Maine Coons cat can't go to some shows but can go to others.

Potential exhibitors must check the show's rules ahead of time to make sure their polydactyl Maine Coon is eligible. This shows how different cat exhibitions feel about polydactylism.

The Bottom Line

Maine Coon Kittens

Polydactyl Maine Coon Cats are an interesting mix of history, biology, and personality. These fantastic cats may have evolved to have extra toes, giving them a genetic edge over cats with normal toes. Maine Coons are one of the most giant pet cat breeds, and about 40% of them are polydactyl.

They can use their extra digits to help them climb, which makes them excellent hunters. Sea sailors loved this trait hundreds of years ago, but cat lovers have only recently started to like it. Polydactyl Maine Coons, which were once called "Hemingway cats" because the author wanted them so much, were not popular with breeders until recently.

Some groups for cat lovers now accept them, but it might take a while for them to get the same respect as cats with normal toes. But these cute and unique cats continue to charm and inspire everyone who meets them, leaving a lasting mark on their hearts.

Thank you for reading our articles and joining us in our Maine Coon kitten adventure! As the Director of this Maine Coon kitten cattery, I’d like to introduce myself and share some insights about our cattery.

My passion for Maine Coon cats ignited years ago when I welcomed my first Maine Coon kitten into my home. Their charismatic personalities, stunning appearance, and loving nature captured my heart, leading me to establish this cattery. Here, we prioritize the well-being, health, and happiness of our Maine Coon kittens. We uphold rigorous breeding standards, ensuring they are raised in a nurturing environment and socialized well. Our commitment extends to responsible breeding practices and collaboration with experienced veterinarians to maintain their health.

Our blog serves as a valuable resource for Maine Coon cat enthusiasts, offering tips on care, grooming, and delightful insights into their unique traits. We appreciate your support and encourage you to reach out with any questions or comments. Thank you for being a part of our Maine Coon kitten community; your engagement means the world to us. We look forward to sharing more about these magnificent cats in our upcoming blog posts.

Warm regards,

Aleksey Malov

Director, MasterCoons Cattery

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