A lesson in history…
Maine Coons come from a selection of both standard Maine Coons & polydactyl (extra toes) Maine Coons… A Polydactyl Coon shows this heritage visibly on their feet with their extra-wide multi-toed paws. Polys exist throughout the world in both Maine Coon and non pedigree populations.
Polys are descended from cats that were raised among hardy seafaring people, who often preferred the strong boned, dextrous polys, who were considered to be lucky cats to have on a ship. Polys were also believed to be better mousers (and they probably were – larger paws and extra functional toes DO help).
We value our polys & their wonderful enhancement, which reflects an important part of Maine Coon history. A polydactyl Maine Coon has living visible proof of its original native Maine heritage. This heritage goes back through generations of kittens possibly 300 years or more, through the earliest Maine Cats, when the polydactyl gene became intertwined with & irrevocably part of the original Maine Coon breed. This natural mutation is harmless and indeed advantageous, providing not only the benefits of paws that do more, but also substantial strong bones giving great structural support to a larger size cat.
Poly Maine Coons have always been able to be bred from, and breeders valuing this original trait of the breed have kept it alive despite the fact that they could not be shown. Now, that has all changed. New Zealand was the first country in the world to accept polys in the show hall and since then the international registry TICA has accepted them too.
A polydactyl Maine Coon may have ‘patty paws’ which just look like a larger size paw with all toes around the same length… or may have ‘mitten paws’ with a noticeable thumb or thumbs. A poly will always have extra toes (or at least an extra dewclaw) on their front paws, and MAY have extra toes (or a dewclaw) on their back paws. We like to call the front paws only 2WDs, and those gifted with extra toes on all four feet 4WDs.
You will be amazed at your poly’s skill with his or her hands – it’s simply quite remarkable.