Two tiny kittens with super-sized paws are amazing staff at Cats Protection’s National Cat Adoption Centre in Lewes Road, Chelwood Gate.
They may be tiny, but with 26 toes each - eight more than usual - kittens Violet and Knight have knockout appeal.
The pint-sized moggies, currently in the care of the Centre, were born with a rare genetic condition called polydactyl, giving them two extra digits on each paw.
While their oversized paws may look unusual, the condition is a harmless quirk of nature which, as long as the extra claws don’t catch on things, shouldn’t cause any health problems.
The kittens were handed into Cats Protection along with their mother November and litter-mate Kathleen after their owner couldn’t cope with the unplanned litter.
Neither two-year-old November or Kathleen carry the condition and have the correct number of toes – five on the front and four on the back paws.
Deputy centre manager Tania Marsh said the kittens had surprised staff. “We do see polydactyl cats from time to time, but it’s unusual to see them with so many extra toes – normally it’s more like an extra four or five. When we counted them up and found they had eight extra each we were really surprised.
They are lovely, playful and happy kittens and there’s no denying they do look very sweet with their huge paws. There is a legend among sailors that polydactyl cats used to be ship cats and the extra toes helped them climb the rigging. It’s a nice story but these cats do not have a greater climbing ability. It’s neither an advantage or disadvantage, just a quirk of nature.”
November, Violet, Knight and Kathleen will all be looking for a new home once they have been neutered to prevent further unplanned kittens. Tania added: “The kittens may be unusual because of their condition, but they are among many that will be handed into us this year because they were unplanned. Cats are prolific breeders and can become pregnant from a very early age. We recommend neutering at around four months or younger. To find out more email: firstname.lastname@example.org