September 22 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, March 6, 2014
A litter of five kittens from a Suffolk animal rescue charity have found new homes after being born with extra toes which look like they have thumbs.
The five-month-old kittens, known as polydactyl or “mitten” cats, were discovered abandoned in a back garden before being taken to Felixstowe Blue Cross rehoming centre.
Andy Gillon, manager of the centre in Walton High Street, which takes in around 250 cats and kittens a year, said staff soon noticed that these particular felines had something extra special about them when they were brought in.
He said: “We might get the odd cat with an extra toe, but to get an entire litter of polydactyl cats is really unusual.
“Cats normally have 18 toes but all the kittens in this litter have extra digits – one even has 26 toes!”
The kittens, named Norris, Murdock, Angus, Rodric and Kai, were born outside and because they missed out on early socialisation they were extremely nervous and didn’t enjoy interacting with people.
Mr Gillon said: “These kittens have come such a long way since they came into our care in December last year.
“They were extremely nervous and didn’t enjoy interacting with people.
“Our staff and volunteers have spent a lot of time with them, building their confidence and getting them used to human company.
“We hope they will continue to blossom into happy, confident cats in their new homes.”
Having extra toes is a genetically inherited condition. Cats usually have five on each front paw and four on each hind paw – the world record for a polydactyl is held by Tiger, a Canadian cat with 27 toes, recognised by Guinness World Records.
The cats are sometimes known as Hemingway Cats as the Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway loved polydactyls, after being first given a six-toed cat by a ship’s captain.