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Please read the following definitions and descriptions of poly configurations prior to entering the data about your polys.  This will aid in standardized entries for reporting purposes.  You may click the appropriate SUBMIT button at any time.  

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  Paws&Pads  Dewclaw  Toe
  Thumb  Rear Paw  Additional  Summary


AUTHOR'S NOTE:  PolyTrak has adapted standardized definitions for digits especially as it pertains the Polydactyl Maine Coon cat.  Many people, including breeders, have provided definitions and descriptions of poly digits based on their experiences and geographical areas over the years.   What may appear as a "thumb to one person may be defined as an extra toe to another.  In order standardize our reporting to research people and for display publicly, we ask that you read over the following definitions and apply these definitions to the toe descriptions you submit to our database.  Most of these standards are derived from articles by Sarah Hartwell1, Manhattan Cat Specialists2 and from various veterinary and research sources.   If you feel that these definitions do not adequately or correctly describe your kitten or cat,  please note the exceptions in the remarks section for each kitten or cat and provide a full description as you see it.  This could include the number of pads, digit not following the contour of the foot, length of digit,  placement on the paw or other unusual configurations. 

Polydactyl is normally defined as extra digits on a paw OR correct number of digits, but not standard configuration (i.e. a front paw with standard 5 digits, but consisting of 1 thumb and 4 toes). This varies from the classic "mitten cat" through to cats which simply have more toes or dewclaws than normal, but no "thumb". This is widely referred to as a “patty-foot”.
Note: In spoken language we generally talk about toes, when meaning all the digits on a cat's foot. We say a ‘standard’ front paw has 5 toes, but when you look at the definitions you will see it is 4 ‘normal’ toes and 1 dewclaw a total of 5 digits.


-Front Paws have 5 digits, meaning 4 standard’ toes and 1 toe which we call a dewclaw.
- Each paw contains 7 pads, 5 digital or terminal pads (fingertips) that have claws.
-One large pad, called palmer or plantar pad, made-up of three lobes (Note  The terms, palmar and plantar are synonymous to many when referring the large pads on any foot.  Others refer to large pads in front as palmar, while the large pad on rear paws is designated as the plantar pads.)
-And last, one much higher placed small pad, called wrist-pad or 'pisiform'.

-The standard rear paws have 4 digits, meaning 4 standard toes.
-Each rear paw contains 5 pads, meaning 4 digital pads and 1 plantar pad.

Drawing courtesy of www.pawsonline.info 


-Rudimentary digit that did not develop into a toe or thumb and which does not touch the ground.
-A dewclaw has no palmar or plantar pad, only the terminal pad (fingertip).
-Is very lose and can be wiggled easily.

-Is not used like the other digits (appears to have no function for the foot and does not carry any body weight when standing).


-A digit on a cats foot.
-A toe can be a 'standard' toe like the 4 that touch the ground on a 'non-poly' paw.
NOTE:  a 'standard' toe can be listed on the submission form as just "toe".
-A toe can be an 'extra toe' on a "poly" paw if it is in addition to the 4 standard toes.  See note on pads below.
-A thumb or dewclaw is called a toe by some people, however for purposes of clarity please use thumb or dewclaw where appropriate.
: A dewclaw is not a standard toe because it does not touch the ground and does not have a palmar or planter pad.
-'Standard' toe like we see in the standard footed cat.
-'Standard' toes follow all the same direction in the foot (don't stick out at a different angle).
-'Standard' toes touch the ground.
-'Standard' toes have a terminal pad ("fingertip") and a palmar or plantar pad. 


-To be a thumb it needs to have not only a terminal pad (fingertip) but also an additional (separate) palmar pad (like the palm of a person's hand or the ball of a person's thumb).
Note: When the cat is older, hair can cover the palmar pad, so to see if the cat has it, you probably need to push some hair aside with your finger. 
-A feline "thumb" sticks out at a different angle to the other toes, like the thumb of a mitten. 
-It can be wiggled independently of the rest of the foot and is opposable. 
-It touches the ground (when standing it supports the cats body weight).


-When extra digits occur on the hind paws, these are general a dewclaw or extra toe.. (By definition a dewclaw does not touch the ground). And sometimes a thumb.
-Because the hind paws are constructed differently to the fore paws, there are no true "thumbs" on the back feet. Though it has the separate pad, this digit doesn't have the different angle like it has on a front paw, nor is it opposable. It's not a feature we see a lot, since most the extra digits on the rear paws are extra toes or dewclaws


-If the digit does not touch the ground, it is a dewclaw.
-If the digit touches the ground and is in addition to the standard 4 counted toes, it can be an extra toe or thumb
-Any very undeveloped digit that cannot be identified or classified by the above definitions is defined as a "nub".
This can apply to bumps that have not broken the skin (especially if confirmed by X-ray) that would have turned into a regular digit, had the development process not been hindered or stopped.


NOTE:  All submissions assume preaxial configurations. Please list digits in order from the inside of the foot to the outside of the paw.  These may be further described by use of the terms: long, short, no nail, double nail, split nail, missing terminal, palmar or plantar pads and similar descriptions. The above policies are not intended to discourage entries to our database, but are provided as a tool to help you describe your entry. If you feel that your entry does not meet the above definitions, please submit your entry and provide a detailed description in the remarks section as it is our goal to provide accurate, complete and unbiased information on Polydactyl Maine Coons from around the world.



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1  POLYDACTYL CATS Copyright 2001-2006 Sarah Hartwell

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