Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lucky Cats! Adoption Fees Waived for Adult Cats August 27-28, 2011 at the Cape Cod MSPCA

Meet Jaxx, a polydactyl cat at the MSPCA. This cat has an extra toe on each of its front paws, a much beloved trait which many people consider lucky. There are a lot of these guys in New England and especially Boston, and they are known as Boston thumb cats and mitten cats because the extra toes look like a thumb and are used by some cats to catch objects with one paw, open latches and other feats of dexterity.

The trait was favored by sailors and spread throughout the Atlantic trade routes from Boston on ships. Sailors considered them lucky and since sailors needed all the luck they could get they took them on board where they performed as superior climbers, mousers and ratters.
Sadly, these cats were persecuted in Europe during medieval times because they were considered “witch cats” and destroyed, but they were welcomed in New England and have become quite common. One reference we found noted that they are especially common in Yarmouth. If so, yippee for Yarmouth! The trait is common in Maine Coon cats where it is thought that the extra toes act like snowshoes. Ernest Hemingway loved them and of the more than 50 cats who live on his Key West estate, more than half are polydactyl, giving rise to the term Hemingway cats.

Jaxx is available for adoption as well as many other charming felines at the MSPCA Centerville Adoption Center and that a special adoption event August 27 and 28 offers cats over 1 year old for free! Whether you find a polydactyl cat or not, you will be changing the luck of any cat you adopt. Come by the Adoption Center and take a look. Even if you can’t find room for a new kitty in your home, these wonderful critters will give you a smile.

Note that if you have a polydactyl cat, you have to make sure that cat is “sharpening” those extra claws or they can curl into the pad and hurt your kitty’s feet. If your thumb cat is too squirmy to trim those nails, call us for a “nails only” appointment.

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