Animals Video

By James Somper


A cat got the thumbs up for rescue centre staff after they found that it had an extra digit on each paw.

Six-year-old Gypsy arrived at Cats Protection Adoption Centre in Newbury, Berks, after her previous owner was no longer able to care for her.

But staff quickly spotted Gypsy’s unique paws, with an extra digit on each paw giving her a total of 22 rather than the usual 18.

Gypsy is a polydactyl cat, an inherited congenital condition meaning that can result in cats being born with up to three extra digits.

Staff at the centre have said that Gypsy is already a firm favourite and that she loves playing with tennis balls and kickers.

Jenni Warrior, Cat Care Assistant at Cats Protection’s Newbury Adoption Centre, said: “Gypsy is such a sweet cat whose additional toes will always make her a talking point but above all she has a great character, lots of affection to share and loves attention in return.

“We’d love to hear from anyone who would like to give this gorgeous girl a loving home.

“Key West in Florida has a high number of polydactyl cats who live at The Ernest Hemmingway house, where the author lived.

“And there is a legend among sailors that polydactyl cats used to be ship’s cats and the extra toes helped them climb the rigging.” Jenni added: “It’s a nice story, but these cats do not have a greater climbing ability.

“It’s neither an advantage nor a disadvantage – just an unusual quirk of nature.”

Polydactyl  is a genetic condition that, in the majority of cases, causes no harm to the cat.

Some polydactyl cats can have up to three extra digits on each foot.

If a polydactyl cat has kittens, there is a good chance some of her kittens will also have the condition.