Maine coon cats are beautiful and large representatives of the cat breed. Among them, it is worth highlighting the Maine Coon polydact, which differs from its relatives by multi-fingering. Now such special specimens are not common and are of interest, both professional breeders and ordinary people.
Note that polydacts have a wider and heavier bone structure mainly in the chest and forelegs. We will try to figure out what is Maine Coon polydactyly.
Polydactyly. What is it?
Translated from the Greek word polydactyly means "many fingers." This is essentially a natural gene mutation., the result of which is the formation of additional, "extra" fingers. This feature is inherent not only to animals, but also to people. It is noted that this is far from a rare phenomenon, but it is described and officially recognized only in the 19th century.
Ordinary cats are born with five fingers on their front paws and four on their hind legs.
Polydactyls have an additional finger on each paw. Maine Coons with this feature have wider paws, different from the usual form. Fingers placed on the side make the cat's paw look like a mittens. It looks unusual and extremely interesting. Most often, additional fingers can be on the front paws, in rare cases, polydactyl maine coons with normal front paws and with hind legs having more than four fingers are born.
With ordinary care, which does not require special treatment and feeding, the strength of joints and ligaments is noted.
Two forms of polydactyly are noted:
- preaxial when the thumb is optional
- postaxial, the "extra" little finger appears.
The first of them is the most common. In this case, the polydacts are divided according to the location of the thumbs. Maine Coons with the correct form of the arrangement of extra fingers, they resemble a human hand.
The polydactyly gene does not affect the cat's body in any way, except for multi-fingering, a wide, powerful chest and developed large limbs. Some even say that Maine Coons have excellent health and psyche., as well as an unusually developed intellect in comparison with ordinary representatives of cat breeds.
The character, habits and mind of the Maine Coon polydact are compared with the features inherent in man.
Polyacts in the history of the breed
By nature, Maine Coons have endurance and strength, they are excellent hunters. Therefore, the assumption arose that extra fingers were "bestowed" on them by mother nature in order to give better stability and tenacity. They help not to fall on a snowy surface, as well as climbing trees.
Still polydacts are considered companions of sailors, ship cats. Extra fingers helped them keep their balance on deck even during a storm. Since their hunting instinct prevails, catching mice and rats on the ship was their first task. And besides, sailors believed that polydactyl cats bring good luck, therefore they willingly took them on long voyages. This has helped spread the maine coons to the Americas.
There is another legend, according to which Maine Coons with their strong paws with extra fingers could fish in streams. This again confirms the nature of the hunting instinct, especially developed in cats of this breed.
If in Britain and America, more than the usual number of fingers in Maine Coon was considered good luck, then in Europe such individuals were exterminated. The Middle Ages is generally marked by a witch hunt and everything that went beyond the ordinary. Unusual cats fell under the same story, nothing could spare them.
It is noted that almost half of Maine Coons possess such a mutation. It is believed that this is a gift given to this breed, because it was for her that she was the most successful.
Currently, the population of polydacts is becoming smaller, so nurseries are being created that specialize in breeding them.
Often in the literature it can be seen that cats with the polydactyly gene are called "mittens" cats. You can get such a kitten by crossing an ordinary cat and a cat with extra fingers. Autosomal dominant polydactyly gene is transmitted to offspring with a 50% probability. If you hope that the “mittens” will be inherited from ancestors who were once present in relatives, you will have to give up. Only direct inheritance from the gene carrier works here.
In one litter from at least one of the polydacts, a kitten polydact of the Maine Coon breed or an ordinary one can be born. At the same time, neither the shape of the paw, nor the number of fingers is inherited.
Briefly describe the scheme as follows:
1. Parents with multi-fingered both or one - kittens can be:
- with extra fingers
2. A polydact cat with the usual number of fingers will never produce multi-fingered offspring.
What is the difference between the appearance of a polydactyl Maine Coon
In addition to the fact that they are distinguished by an increased number of fingers on the paws, other external features are also noted:
- large body, broad-boned, stretched, with good, but not pronounced muscles, the chest is wide,
- strong limbs of medium length, proportional, slender, covered with thick hair, on the front legs 6 fingers, on the hind legs 5 or more (up to seven),
- massive head, pronounced strong chin,
- large ears pointed upwards,
- large eyes, expressive, proportional to the features of the muzzle, the color of the eyes is often blue,
- coat color does not differ from ordinary representatives of this breed.
Should I buy such a kitten?
First of all, those who plan to have a polydact cat should understand that a gene mutation only affects appearance, in no way violating any functions of the body. Looking at the photo of the Maine Coon polydacts, we see only a cute, physically strong creature. If you plan to buy a kitten of this breed, it is unlikely that the number of fingers will become an obstacle.
The only factor may be the desire to speak at various events, competitions, but the inability to do this in the usual breed class. It will be important here how many fingers a Maine Coon cat has. Multi-fingered individuals will never become champions among ordinary representatives of the breed, and will be able to participate only in special groups - a mutation.
It should be taken into account the fact that the cost of Maine Coon polydact will be higher than usual by about 1.5-2 times. This is due to the fact that today a cat of this breed with "extra" fingers is exotic. Its popularity is only gaining momentum, at times it has faded away.
Now again, nurseries are actively withdrawing the population and are widely advertising it. Therefore, those who wish to purchase a regular Maine Coon can also be offered this option.
All breeders of such special cats claim that it is easy to establish good, truly friendly relations with them thanks to his natural intelligence and tenderness. Give them your warmth and care, and a faithful friend will always be devoted to you. Remember that the main advantage of polydactyl Maine Coons is the ability to love and be devoted!