Why Do Some Maine Coons Have Extra Toes?

Welcome to our exploration of the fascinating world of Maine Coon cats and their unique trait of having extra toes. Have you ever wondered why some Maine Coons have more toes than usual?

In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind this genetic anomaly, known as polydactyly, and discuss how it adds to the charm and character of these beloved feline companions.

Understanding Polydactyly in Maine Coons

Polydactyl Maine Coons, also known as “mitten paw” cats, possess a fascinating genetic mutation that results in additional toes on their paws. Polydactyly is not exclusive to Maine Coons, but this breed is well-known for exhibiting this unique trait.

The origin of polydactyly in Maine Coons remains unclear, but it is believed to be a naturally occurring mutation. This breed’s genetic makeup predisposes them to having extra digits, which can vary in number and placement.

While the standard number of toes for cats is 18 (five on the front paws and four on the hind paws), polydactyl Maine Coons can have up to seven toes on each paw. The additional digits may resemble thumbs or mitten-like appendages, hence the term “mitten paw.”

This extraordinary trait has captured the attention of cat enthusiasts worldwide, contributing to the popularity of polydactyl Maine Coons. One particularly famous group of polydactyl cats were the Hemingway cats, beloved companions of the renowned author Ernest Hemingway.

“One cat just leads to another.”
– Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway was so enamored with polydactyl cats that he even named one of his homes in Key West, Florida, after them. The Hemingway House, now a museum, is home to numerous descendants of Hemingway’s beloved polydactyl feline friends.

The Prevalence of Polydactyly in Maine Coons

Polydactyly is a relatively common occurrence in Maine Coons, with some estimates suggesting that up to 40% of the breed may exhibit this trait. It is important to note that not all Maine Coons are polydactyl, and breeders do not intentionally propagate this trait.

While the presence of extra toes does not affect a cat’s overall health or functionality, it does add to their unique charm and personality. The mitten-like paws of polydactyl Maine Coons often garner attention and admiration from cat lovers.

Maine Coon TraitDescription
Paw ConfigurationTypically, five toes on the front paws and four toes on the hind paws, but polydactyl Maine Coons can have up to seven toes on each paw.
Digit StructureThe additional toes are fully formed and functional, resembling thumbs or mitten-like appendages.
Feline AnatomyThe extra toes do not impact a polydactyl Maine Coon’s overall health or mobility.

If you are considering adding a polydactyl Maine Coon to your family, it is essential to find a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their cats. Polydactyl Maine Coons make wonderful companions, and their unique trait adds an extra touch of feline charm to your home.

Why Do Some Maine Coons Have Extra Toes?

The Significance of Polydactyl Maine Coons

When it comes to Maine Coons, the presence of extra toes is not just a unique trait – it holds significant appeal for breeders and cat enthusiasts alike. The polydactyl anomaly, characterized by additional toes on the paws, adds to the charm and individuality of these remarkable felines.

The demand for polydactyl Maine Coons has skyrocketed in recent years, with breeders recognizing the allure of this genetic anomaly. These cats are highly sought after for their distinctive mitten-like paws, also known as “snowshoe paws,” which enchant many with their unusual appearance.

Despite being a mutation, polydactylism in Maine Coons is not considered a flaw or a hindrance to their overall health. In fact, it is often seen as a desirable trait that sets them apart from other cats. The additional toes add to their agility, giving them a bit of an advantage when it comes to climbing, hunting, and even playing with toys.

Owning a Polydactyl Maine Coon

If you’re considering adding a polydactyl Maine Coon to your family, it’s important to find a reputable breeder who specializes in this unique trait. A knowledgeable and ethical breeder will prioritize the health and well-being of their cats, ensuring that the polydactyl anomaly doesn’t come at the expense of their overall quality of life.

While polydactyl Maine Coons are often purebred cats, it’s crucial to do your research and find a breeder with a good reputation. They should provide proper documentation and genetic testing to confirm the presence of the polydactyl trait and ensure that the cats are free from any underlying health issues.

As with any cat, owning a polydactyl Maine Coon comes with its own set of considerations. Their unique paws may require a bit of extra care and attention, such as regular nail trimming and monitoring for any signs of discomfort or difficulty while walking. Additionally, finding the right litter box that accommodates their paw size may be necessary for their comfort.


In conclusion, the presence of extra toes in some Maine Coon cats, known as polydactyly, is a fascinating genetic anomaly that is cherished by many feline enthusiasts. We have explored the reasons behind why some Maine Coons have extra toes, the history and prevalence of polydactyl Maine Coons, as well as the significance and appeal of this unique trait.

Whether you own a polydactyl Maine Coon or simply admire them from afar, there is no denying the allure and charm of these special feline companions. The extra toes not only add to their distinctive appearance, but also provide a functional advantage, like enhanced dexterity and balance. It’s no wonder why polydactyl Maine Coons are highly sought after by cat lovers.

If you are considering adding a polydactyl Maine Coon to your family, it is crucial to find a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of these cats. A reliable breeder will ensure that their polydactyl Maine Coons are properly cared for and come from a lineage that minimizes potential health issues associated with this genetic trait.


Q: Why do some Maine Coons have extra toes?

A: Some Maine Coons have extra toes due to a genetic trait known as polydactyly, which causes them to have more than the typical number of toes on each paw.

Q: Are Maine Coons the only cat breed that can be polydactyl?

A: No, polydactyly can occur in various cat breeds, but it is more commonly associated with Maine Coon cats.

Q: Is having extra toes on a Maine Coon a sign of good luck?

A: In some cultures, having a polydactyl cat, like a Maine Coon with extra toes, is considered a sign of good luck.

Q: How many toes can Maine Coons with extra toes have?

A: Maine Coons with polydactyly can have up to seven toes on each front paw, totaling up to 28 toes in total.

Q: Are Maine Coons with extra toes healthy?

A: Yes, Maine Coons with extra toes are generally healthy cats and the extra toes do not usually cause them any health issues.

Q: What is the history behind Maine Coons with extra toes?

A: Maine Coons with extra toes are believed to have originated from mutations that caused polydactyly and were considered unique and even a trait of good luck.