Paw-some Sussex puss Shell has four extra toes

Shell the tortoiseshell may make you paws for thought as she has four extra toes.

Shell the cat needs a new home
Shell the cat needs a new home

The six-year-old puss has a rare genetic trait that gives her an extra toe on each paw.

She has 22 digits, four more than the usual 18, due to an inherited condition known as polydactyly.

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And after her owner died, Shell is looking for a new home after being handed into the Cats Protection’s National Cat Adoption Centre at Chelwood Gate in West Sussex.

One of Shell's special paws showing the extra digit

Karen Thompson, deputy manager of the centre, said: “Shell is a lovely cat and her big paws make her that extra bit special.

“We don’t see polydactyl cats very often, it’s a really unusual quirk of nature. Having extra toes is neither an advantage or disadvantage for cats and, so long as they don’t get their extra claws caught on things, it shouldn’t present any problems.”

While she’s friendly and sweet-natured, she can be nervous and needs a home without young children or dogs.

Polydactyl cats were made famous by American writer Ernest Hemingway. A keen cat lover, Hemingway received his first polydactyl puss, named Snow White, from a ship’s captain in the 1930s.

To find out more about cats currently available for rehoming please call: 01825 741331, email [email protected] To find out about cats available for rehoming at Sussex volunteer-run branches visit: