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Gypsy the cat stuns staff when she arrives at animal rescue centre with an extra digit on each paw

Nine lives, two thumbs! Gypsy the cat stuns staff when she arrives at animal rescue centre with an extra digit on each paw

  • Gypsy, six, arrived at Cats Protection Adoption Centre in Newbury, Berkshire
  • Workers spotted the feline’s unique paws, which have an extra digit on each one
  • Polydactyl cats can be born with up to three extra digits on each of their paws

A cat has stunned rescue centre staff after they found it had an extra digit on each paw.

Gypsy, six, arrived at Cats Protection Adoption Centre in Newbury, Berkshire, after her owner was unable to care for her.

Workers spotted the feline’s unique paws, with an extra digit on each one giving her a total of 22 rather than the usual 18.

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Gypsy (pictured), six, arrived at Cats Protection Adoption Centre in Newbury, Berkshire, after her previous owner was unable to care for her

Staff spotted the feline's unique paws, with an extra digit on each one giving her a total of 22 rather than the usual 18

Staff spotted the feline’s unique paws, with an extra digit on each one giving her a total of 22 rather than the usual 18

Gypsy is a polydactyl cat, an inherited congenital condition meaning that can result in cats being born with up to three extra digits

Gypsy is a polydactyl cat, an inherited congenital condition meaning that can result in cats being born with up to three extra digits

Gypsy is a polydactyl cat, an inherited congenital condition that can result in them being born with up to three extra digits on each paw.

What is a polydactyl cat?

Cats born with more than the average number of toes have the congenital physical anomaly known as polydactyl – a dominant genetic trait.

Normal cats have 18 toes, with five toes on each front paw and four on each hind paw. Polydactyl cats can have as many as eight digits on their front and hind paws.

The condition is most commonly found along the east coast of North America and in South West England, Wales and Kingston-upon-Hull.

Polydactyl cats were popular with writer Ernest Hemingway, who had more than 50.

After his death in 1961 his Florida home was turned into a museum and home for his cats.

They are often referred to as ‘Hemingway Cats’.

Polydactylism is a condition that can also affect humans and dogs.

Staff at the centre said Gypsy is already a firm favourite and that she loves playing with tennis balls.

Jenni Warrior, Cat Care Assistant at the centre, said: ‘Gypsy is such a sweet cat whose additional toes will always make her a talking point but above all she has a great character, lots of affection to share and loves attention in return.

‘We’d love to hear from anyone who would like to give this gorgeous girl a loving home.

‘Key West in Florida has a high number of polydactyl cats who live at The Ernest Hemmingway house, where the author lived.

‘And there is a legend among sailors that polydactyl cats used to be ship’s cats and the extra toes helped them climb the rigging.’

Ms Warrior added: ‘It’s a nice story, but these cats do not have a greater climbing ability.

‘It’s neither an advantage nor a disadvantage – just an unusual quirk of nature.’

Polydactyl is a genetic condition that in a majority of cases causes no harm to the cat. The animals can have as many as eight digits on their front and hint paws.

Staff at the centre have said Gypsy is already a firm favourite and that she loves playing with tennis balls

The cat looks up at the camera in its new home at the Berkshire centre

Staff at the centre have said Gypsy (left and right) is already a firm favourite and that she loves playing with tennis balls

Jenni Warrior, Cat Care Assistant at the centre, said: 'Gypsy is such a sweet cat whose additional toes will always make her a talking point but above all she has a great character, lots of affection to share and loves attention in return'

Jenni Warrior, Cat Care Assistant at the centre, said: ‘Gypsy is such a sweet cat whose additional toes will always make her a talking point but above all she has a great character, lots of affection to share and loves attention in return’

Ms Warrior added: 'We'd love to hear from anyone who would like to give this gorgeous girl a loving home'

Polydactyl cats were popular with writer Ernest Hemingway, who had more than 50. Pictured: Gypsy

Ms Warrior added: ‘We’d love to hear from anyone who would like to give this gorgeous girl a loving home’

Some polydactyl cats can have up to three extra digits on each foot.

If a polydactyl cat has kittens, there is a good chance some of her kittens will also have the condition.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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