Maine’s polydactyl Maine Coon whispers from the porches of stately sea captains’ homes. It whispers from the memories of old schooners and ships. It whispers from the past to the present and the future. Read on to discover more about this unique breed.
Breeders of polydactyl Maine Coons
While polydactyl Maine Coons are not allowed in most cat shows, some breeders participate in showing. This type of cat has been kept alive in the breed by selective breeding and some groups are working to bring them back into the show ring. There are breeders specializing in polydactyl Maine Coons that are purebred and registered.
While the Polydactyl Maine Coon may not be perfect, they are magical animals. They are smart, sociable, and very loyal to their owners. Maine Coons are a native species of the forests in northern America. Their oversized paws and extra toes provide them with more stability and insulation.
Because of their unique physical features, polydactyl cats require special care. They can damage furniture and cause paw deformities. Breeding polydactyl cats is a risky proposition. Breeders must be extremely careful to ensure that their kittens are healthy and do not have a genetic condition called feline radial hypoplasia.
While polydactyl kittens are not at risk of life-threatening diseases, they can develop bacterial infections that lead to permanent damage. The polydactyl condition is often surgically corrected. In the past, polydactyl kittens were known as Hemingway cats, after the famous writer who owned many of them. More than half of the kittens that he owned were polydactyl Maine Coons.
Polydactyl Maine Coons were not widely bred. However, today, many breeders are introducing this mutation back into the breed. While this mutation has been excluded from some cat shows, it is slowly making a comeback. The polydactyl mutation in Maine Coons is a natural trait that would have been present in 28% of Maine Coon cats.
History of polydactyl Maine Coons
The polydactyl Maine Coon’s heritage traces back to its early life in the coastal towns of Maine. It is a hardy, self-reliant cat that evolved from a breed of cats that favored salt-water farming and local vessel building. In the days before the automobile, Maine’s rivers and the sea served as highways. The Kennebec River was particularly well-known for the number of ships built there.
Maine Coons have long been popular, but they were once not regarded as a serious breed. In the 1960s, they were relegated to a low-class, non-show cat category. This was changed when the New Zeeland Cat Fancy introduced the New Traits Class to the Maine Coon breed standard. Since then, the polydactyl Maine Coon was accepted into Championship status.
The genetics of polydactyl cats are still unknown, but researchers have identified a polydactyl gene in Maine Coons. The mutation causes preaxial polydactyly. It is a result of ectopic expression of the Sonic Hedgehog gene in developing limb buds. Mutations in the ZRS cause this abnormal expression.
Ernest Hemingway loved polydactyl cats and was given one by a ship captain. Now, his former Key West house is a museum and home to 50 descendants of his polydactyl cats. Today, half of the cats there are polydactyls.
The Maine Coon breed had a unique physical trait. The word polydactyly comes from the Greek word polydaktylos, meaning many fingers. Polydactyly refers to a physical anomaly in humans and other animals that results in an extra toe or finger.
Number of extra toes in polydactyl Maine Coons
Polydactyly is an anatomical abnormality that causes some Maine Coon cats to have extra toes. This condition is due to a mutation in the gene Hw (Hemingway), which controls the expression of the Shh gene that controls digit formation in the paws. Cats with this mutation will have varying phenotypes and may have up to 8 extra toes. They may also have an enlarged standard dew claw. The number of extra toes in polydactly is usually under 6 for males and five for females.
While polydactyly is a common trait in the Maine Coon breed, it does not affect the health of the animal. Indeed, some breeders are even convinced that polydactyl Maine Coons are more resilient than their standard counterparts. The condition is caused by a mutation in the gene responsible for paw digit formation, which is called the Hemingway mutation after a famous writer. Breeders can avoid breeding polydactyl Maine Coons by selecting parents that do not have the condition.
Almost all polydactyl cats have extra toes on the front paws, while about 10% of cats have extra toes on both front and back paws. While the number of extra toes may vary from cat to cat, they almost always show symmetrical toe numbers. In rare cases, the extra toes may be multiple, and in rare cases, there are even cats with 28 extra toes on their back paws.
Some Maine Coon cats have six toes or more, which are called polydactyl. Early Maine Coons were polydactyl, which means they were born with extra appendages on their paws. All polydactyl Maine Coons carry the Pd gene, which causes extra toes to grow, usually on the front paws.
Incidence of polydactylism in polydactyl Maine Coons
Polydactylism is a genetic condition affecting Maine Coon cats. This condition is inherited autosomally as a dominant trait with variable penetrance and expression. Because of this genetic heterogeneity, Maine Coon breeders need to adjust their breeding practices accordingly.
This genetic variation is carried by 40% of Maine Coons. It does not pose any health risk to the cat, but requires careful trimming of the extra nails. This condition is common in the Main Coon breed. Approximately 40% of the breed exhibit polydactylism.
Some researchers believe polydactyl cats first appeared in Boston in the early 17th century. The polydactyl coat pattern may have evolved in cats taken by English Puritans to Boston in the 1600s. Because these cats were transported on ships to the New World, the mutation may have travelled to other areas.
The cause of polydactylism is not known, but some researchers have studied the breed to find out whether it can be corrected. One such example is the Maine Coon breed, which has a pre-axial form of polydactylism.
Regardless of the reason for this genetic variation, polydactylism is an important factor in the heritage of the breed. Not only does polydactylism add diversity to the pedigree of Maine Coon cats, it also helps them walk over snow more easily.
Polydactylism in the Maine Coon is caused by the Pd gene. This gene has a variable expression and can cause a different number of toes on each foot. Some cats have as many as 7 toes per foot while others have less.
Associations that recognize polydactyl Maine Coons
While there is some controversy about the existence of polydactyl Maine Coons, this mutation is not a genetic disorder and does not affect the animals’ health. While there are no associations that recognize this genetic trait, there are several breeders who specialize in breeding Polycoons. Although some people find this trait to be freakish, others find it charming. One fan even named his dog Hemingway.
The Maine Coon Polydactyl trait was first mentioned in the pre-standard of the CMCCC and MCBFA, which founded the breed in 1968. In order to qualify as a polydactyl Maine Coon, a cat’s toes should correspond to the standard of the breed. The polydactyl trait can affect several toes on the front or hind paws.
A polydactyl Maine Coon has six toes instead of five. This is a fairly common trait in Maine Coons, and about 40 percent of them have six toes. Some people want these cats to be recognized as a breed, but it is not currently recognized as a recognized type of Maine Coon.
Polydactyl Maine Coons are not recognized by many breed associations, including FIFe. The breed council does not allow polydactile Maine Coons to breed, and FIFe will not allow them to participate in shows. The polydactyl mutation has also been a cause for concern for breeders.
Maine Coons with polys are genetically related to Maine’s maritime lifestyle, and it is believed that polydactyl Maine Coons were present in the Pine Tree State 300 years ago. During that time, the polydactyl gene mutated and became interconnected with the Maine Coon.