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Anatomy of Polydactyly in Cat

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I got permission from the vet today to take this picture and show people as long as I don’t talk about the clinic or any other business details. The cat was getting neutered, so no extra trouble for him since he was already out. I suited up, positioned him on the table, collimated the field and shot the x-rays. He is a polydactyl with 7 toes on his right front paw, 6 on his left, and 4 on each hind foot, for a total of 21 toes instead of the normal 18.

I didn’t ask the vet to explain it, but I have tried my best to interpret how the mutation works. It looks like there is an extra metacarpal between 1 (dewclaw) and 2, which is actually two fused metacarpals. The larger and better formed one looks like a “normal” toe (like 2), and the smaller less developed one looks like another dewclaw. It is not easy to see and has only a very small claw growing from it.

I love polydactyl kitties. =D
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blueiyes's avatar
I have a cat colony that are almost all Polydactyl. Some on back too . Love this X-ray.
Leonca's avatar
VitaKore's avatar
I myself own three Poly's. My own kitten, Cain, has 24 toes. His mother has 27 (which by record, is the most toes on a cat in the world) and his uncle has 26.
Leonca's avatar
That's a lot. =)
LunarSymphony's avatar
This is really interesting! I have a polydactyl kitty who also has 21 toes (6 on each of her front feet, and 5 on each back one). I've read a bit on it, but have always been curious as to what the skeletal structure of their feet is like as opposed to a cat with a normal compliment of toes. Thanks so much for sharing! :-)
Leonca's avatar
You're welcome. =D
Its-Wolfeh's avatar
Interesting... I have a poly too, he was born from a perfect cat but she has funny eyes and rarely makes direct eye contact because she used to be feral, but now is very tame but still has problems with eye contact. Anyways, he was born with deformed paws so I called him "Bear" because they're huge, he is OBSESSED WITH ME, but hates his front paws to be touched like they hurt him, his back paws are fine though even though they are deformed, they are more "solid" than his front ones though. He has these like cartilage growths on his paw pads too, and when he walks on a hard surface his paws click, its pretty weird. He also used to have those like, cartilage claws, that grow out of the paw pads, but I trimmed them once and haven't seen them grow out since, pretty weird huh? They don't seem to hurt him, but he doesn't like people messing with them either, lol.
Leonca's avatar
That is odd. There are many different ways that polydactyls can be, but I’ve never seen one with changes to the pads like that. Cats not liking people touching their feet sounds normal though. My longhair has “snowshoe” toe fluffs and hates it when people touch his paws.
Its-Wolfeh's avatar
Yeah, I forgot what they call it, but I've seen it before. *Looks for webpage* [link] He has horns on like three of his front pads, and just had a claw grow out of one once. Like it says there is no quick, its really odd, maybe the quick is inside the pad hidden away. Ah okay, mine I think has the same thing, he has long hair growing from the inside of his paws.
OdderByArt's avatar
thanks for sharing!
Leonca's avatar
You're welcome. =D
Shadowthorne's avatar
I have a polydactyl cat ^^ Hes a little over a year old now, but when i first got him i did all kinds of research on them. Its quite fascinating to think about
He has 6 on each front paw and 5 on each back paw ^^ Though, the extra toes on his back paws are more like dew claws and have real small claws. But the extra on the front are like little thumbs, hes even been recently been using them to pick up his mice, its so cute! He wraps his little "hands" around toys and peoples fingers ^^
Leonca's avatar
Cool. I'd like to have one some day. =)
Leonca's avatar
FreeMeadows's avatar
This is a great XR! I never stopped to think about the anatomy these guys. From your AP view I agree with you that it looks like the metacarpal of the normal 1st phalanx is a fused metacarpal, or at least a widened one. And then the other extra toe seems to get its very own metacarpal. I might have to shoot a couple polys myself and see if they all look similar to this!
BTW are you an LVT? Or a vet assistant?
Leonca's avatar
Thanks. =) I’m guessing you’ll see a lot of neat variety if you do that, since it seems like the mutation comes in many different forms.
I am a registered veterinary technician student, technically graduated but haven’t passed my boards yet.
FreeMeadows's avatar
Oh, awesome! Good luck on boards!!! Have you taken them already and are just waiting for scores, or do you have yet to take them?
Leonca's avatar
Thanks. I waited until this summer to do my practicum, so they are having me wait to take the boards in November. I really should stop putting off signing up for that. :XD:
FreeMeadows's avatar
haha, I don't blame you though. Who wants to rush to take a test?!
flyashy's avatar
Very interesting.
I've always found X-ray imagery enticing.
Once had an idea to shoot an entire video in X-ray ;which I suppose is very expensive & hard to do. :D
Anyways, I suppose you must be a certified radiologist?
Leonca's avatar
I’m not sure if anyone has ever tried that. It would be a lot of radiation exposure. The only x-ray videos I’ve heard of were for studies of organ function, like the GI tract.
No, I’m a veterinary technician student. Vet techs get to have fun with x-ray procedures without special certification. =D
VolfnessWhiter's avatar
It's really weird, but I like weird things. After seeing this and reading how polydactyly is common among cats, I checked my kitten's paws, but there's nothing :( Or I can't look properly :D
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