March 11 2014 Latest news:
Friday, February 21, 2014
Five new kittens at a Suffolk animal rescue charity are all fingers and thumbs – after having been born with more than the normal number of digits.
The five-month-old kittens, known as polydactyl or “mitten” cats, have extra toes which look like they have thumbs.
They are being cared for at the Felixstowe Blue Cross rehoming centre after being discovered abandoned in a back garden – and staff are hoping they can find new homes for the unusual footed youngsters.
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, can be shy at first so need understanding owners who will give them time to settle.
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.
“They’re ready to be rehomed now but we are looking for owners who will help them blossom into happier, more confident cats.”
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.
Anyone interested in giving the kittens at Felixstowe a home should pop in at the centre to find out more, call 0300 777 1480 or visit www.bluecross.org.uk.