Paws to consider this

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
So how many toes can a cat have on one foot? Well, most normal cats have four plus a dewclaw on each front paw and four on each back paw.
Two Rowan County brothers have kittens with a few extra toes. And while that’s unusual, it’s not unheard of.
Kody Morgan, 11, and his brother, Gage Shiers, 7, own the two kittens, each with 23 toes.
Kittens like these are called polydactyl cats. But the boys have more affectionate names for them: Toes and Toes II.
The kittens have two extra toes on the front.
Was it a surprise their kittens were born with so many toes? Kody said no. The kittens’ mother was a polydactyl cat.
“The mom had extra toes. She had seven toes on the front,” he said.
Toes and Toes II are part of the mother’s second litter and they’re her only kittens born with extra toes, Kody said.
The kittens are nine weeks old.
Only a polydactyl cat can parent another polydactyl cat. The extra toes are a genetic trait.
Nobel prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway loved polydactyl cats. The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is the residence of 60 cats, half polydactyl, according to the Hemingway Museum Web site.
Hemingway’s cats are named after famous actors and presidents, including Spencer Tracy, Charlie Chaplin and Harry Truman.
Kody said as soon as he learned the cats were special, he did some research. He found out the world record holder among polydactyl cats is a feline named Jake, who has 28 toes and lives in Ontario, Canada.
Although he was a little disappointed his kittens didn’t seem to break any records, it’s still pretty cool, Kody said.
“It’s cool to have cats that are not normal,” he said.
“It’s pretty neat,” Gage said.
The two have had a zoo of sorts over the years, with an iguana named Iggie; rabbits; a cockatiel named Kody; a ferret named Smokie; and two Chihuahuas named Tiny and Dottie. They currently have eight Russian dwarf hamsters, two Chihuahuas ó Dixie and Zach ó and two baby Chihuahuas they haven’t named.
Kody, wants to become a veterinarian when he grows up.
The brothers say their classmates didn’t believe them when they told them how many toes Toes and Toes II have.
They will now.

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