Do All Maine Coon Cats Have 7 Toes?

Have you ever seen a Maine Coon cat up close? These majestic felines are a sight to behold, with their fluffy fur, big eyes, and charming personality. But there’s one aspect of this breed that sets them apart from other cats: their toes. Yes, you read that right. Many Maine Coon cats are born with extra digits on their paws, giving them the nickname of polydactyl cats.

Now, if you’re a fan of Maine Coons like me, you may have heard the rumor that all these cats have seven toes. But is it really true? Do all Maine Coon cats have 7 toes? The answer is not so simple. While some Maine Coons do indeed have seven toes, not all of them are polydactyl. In fact, only about 40% of these kitties are born with extra digits, and the number can vary from cat to cat.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the fascinating world of Maine Coon toes. We’ll explore the genetics behind polydactylism (yes, it’s genetic.), the history of this trait in Maine Coons (it goes way back), and even the potential pros and cons of having more than five toes (there are some.). Whether you’re a die-hard cat lover or just curious about this unique feature of Maine Coons, join me as we uncover the truth about their toes.

Is it True that All Maine Coon Cats Have 7 Toes?

They have notable physical features, such as their large size, fluffy coats, and distinctive ears. However, there is a widespread myth that all Maine Coon cats have 7 toes on their front paws. As an expert in this field, I am here to provide you with the facts and debunk this myth.

Firstly, while it is true that some Maine Coon cats have an extra toe on their front paws, this trait is not exclusive to the breed. Polydactyly, or having extra toes, can be found in other cat breeds as well. Additionally, having an extra toe does not necessarily mean that the cat is a purebred Maine Coon.

Contrary to popular belief, not all Maine Coon cats have 7 toes. According to the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), the standard number of toes for a Maine Coon cat is five on each front paw and four on each back paw. This puts them in line with most other domestic cat breeds. While some breeders may selectively breed for polydactylism in their Maine Coon cats, it is not considered a desirable trait in the show ring.

It is crucial for cat owners to recognize that while extra toes may seem charming or unique, they can lead to health problems such as difficulty grooming or walking. Therefore, it is essential for breeders to carefully consider the genetic implications of breeding for polydactylism and for potential cat owners to be aware of any potential health issues associated with this trait.

The Physical Trait of Polydactyly in Maine Coons

Polydactyly is a genetic mutation that results in extra toes on cats’ paws. Although not all Maine Coons have this trait, it is more common in this breed than in others. The extra toes can appear in various ways, including on just one paw, multiple paws, or even all four paws.

The most typical form of polydactyly in Maine Coons is having extra toes on the front paws, with six being the most common number. However, some Maine Coons can have up to eight toes on each front paw. These extra toes can vary in size and shape, with some even resembling thumbs that allow these cats to grasp objects and open doors. This trait has earned them the nickname “Hemingway cats” after the famous writer and cat lover Ernest Hemingway, who had many polydactyl cats at his home in Key West, Florida.

While polydactyly can be a fascinating physical trait, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential health risks associated with it. Cats with extra toes may be more susceptible to arthritis and joint problems due to the added weight and pressure on their paws. Additionally, some breeders intentionally breed for polydactyly, which can lead to issues with inbreeding and other genetic problems.

However, despite these risks, many people find polydactyl Maine Coons irresistible. They are unique and charming creatures that have captured the hearts of many cat lovers worldwide. If you’re considering adopting a polydactyl cat, it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian and choose a reputable breeder who prioritizes ethical breeding practices.

The Pros and Cons of Having Extra Toes

The unique characteristic of polydactyly may seem fascinating, but it’s important to weigh both the pros and cons before making a decision.

Starting with the benefits, cats with extra toes have improved balance and stability, making them more agile on flat surfaces and uneven terrain. This trait is especially beneficial for Maine Coon cats who love to climb and jump. Moreover, with more toes to work with, cats may be able to manipulate objects more easily and precisely.

However, there are also potential drawbacks to consider. The added stress on joints may make cats with extra toes more susceptible to developing arthritis. Grooming can become challenging, leading to matting or skin problems. Additionally, while extra toes can enhance stability in some situations, they can also increase the risk of injury if a cat gets their foot caught in tight spaces or objects.

Do All Maine Coon Cats Have 7 Toes-2

If you’re thinking about adopting a Maine Coon with extra toes, it’s crucial to prioritize your cat’s health and well-being. It’s essential to talk to a reputable breeder who practices ethical breeding methods and understands the potential risks associated with polydactyly.

To sum it up, having extra toes in Maine Coon cats has both advantages and disadvantages. While it may seem unique and fascinating, it’s essential to consider all aspects carefully before making a decision. Here’s a quick list of pros and cons:


  • Improved balance and stability
  • Increased dexterity


  • Increased susceptibility to arthritis
  • Difficulty grooming
  • Elevated risk of injury

How to Check the Number of Toes on a Cat’s Paw

Checking the number of toes on a cat’s paw can be a simple process, but it’s important to understand the anatomy of a cat’s paw and any potential genetic mutations that may affect their toe count.

Firstly, it’s important to note that most cats have five toes on their front paws and four toes on their back paws. However, Maine Coon cats can have up to 28 toes due to a genetic mutation called polydactylism. This means that they might have extra toes on one or more of their paws.

To check your cat’s paws for extra toes, gently hold their paw and count the number of digits. Be sure to approach your cat with care and patience as they may be sensitive to touch, especially if they are not used to having their paws handled. It may also be helpful to have someone assist you in holding the cat still while you examine their paws.

If you do discover that your cat has extra toes, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian. While having extra toes may not affect their health, it can sometimes cause issues with walking or grooming themselves. Your vet can examine your cat’s paws and provide further advice on how to care for them.

It’s also worth mentioning that not all Maine Coon cats have polydactylism, and even those that do may not have extra toes on every paw. So, don’t worry if your cat has a normal number of toes. However, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on their paws for any signs of discomfort or issues with grooming.

In addition to checking their toes, it’s important to regularly trim your cat’s nails to prevent ingrown nails and other foot-related issues. Use specialized nail clippers designed for cats and trim only the very tip of each nail. It may also be helpful to provide your cat with scratching posts or surfaces to help naturally maintain their claws.

How to Tell if a Cat Has Polydactyly

Polydactyly is a unique genetic trait that causes cats to have more than the usual number of toes on their paws. If you’re wondering whether your cat has polydactyly, here are some tips to help you tell:

Count the Toes

The easiest way to tell if a cat has polydactyly is to count the toes. Most cats have five toes on their front paws and four toes on their back paws. But if your cat has more than five toes on its front paws or more than four toes on its back paws, it may have polydactyly.

Observe the Shape of the Paws

Cats with polydactyly often have wider and more rounded paws, with the extra toes sticking out to the side. The extra toes may also be smaller and less functional than the regular toes. Additionally, if your cat has polydactyly, its paw may appear bigger and bulkier than usual.

Check Your Cat’s Behavior

If your cat has polydactyly, it may experience difficulty walking or grooming itself due to the extra weight and size of its paws. Observe your cat’s behavior carefully and ensure that it is not experiencing any discomfort or pain.

Consult with a Veterinarian

If you suspect that your cat has polydactyly, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. They can help you determine if your cat’s extra toes are causing any health issues and provide advice on how to care for them properly. A vet can also check for any underlying health problems that may be associated with this condition.

Embrace Your Cat’s Unique Features

Polydactyl cats are special and unique, and having extra toes is not a harmful condition. Some people even believe that polydactyl cats bring good luck. Embrace your cat’s quirks and enjoy the extra love and attention that comes with having a polydactyl cat. After all, it’s what makes them special.

Is Polydactyly Always Present in Maine Coon Cats?

While Maine Coon cats are known for their large size, tufted ears, and long bushy tails, not all of them have extra toes. Although polydactyly is more common in this breed compared to others, only around 40% of Maine Coon cats have extra toes. This genetic mutation is believed to have originated from the breed’s ancestors who were brought over to America by early settlers.

These cats had extra toes that helped them navigate the harsh New England terrain and catch prey more effectively. Over time, the trait became more common in Maine Coon cats.

It is important to note that having extra toes can come with some health issues. Extra toes can cause issues with grooming and make it harder for the cat to walk or run properly.

Additionally, some cats with polydactyly may develop arthritis or other joint problems. Therefore, before breeding or adopting a polydactyl cat, it is essential to consider any potential health issues that may come with this trait.

If you suspect your Maine Coon cat has extra toes, count their toes and observe the shape of their paws and behavior. If you are unsure, consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. And remember, having extra toes is not a harmful condition and some people even believe it brings good luck.

Breeds That Are Prone to Polydactyly

Polydactyly is a fascinating genetic trait that causes cats to have extra toes on their paws.

While this condition is not exclusive to Maine Coon cats, this breed is known to have a higher prevalence of the condition. However, several other breeds are also prone to polydactyly, including the American Bobtail, Pixie-Bob, and Hemingway cats (who are named after the famous author Ernest Hemingway, a lover of cats with extra toes).

Although having extra toes can be advantageous for certain breeds – such as providing better balance for Hemingway cats – it can also lead to health problems if not cared for properly. Extra toes can easily get caught in carpets or other materials, leading to injury or infection.

Therefore, it’s important to do your research and talk to a veterinarian about proper care for their unique paw structure if you’re considering adopting a Maine Coon or other breed that is prone to polydactyly.

Why Some Breeders Consider Polydactyly a Desirable Trait

This is known as polydactyly, and it’s not just an unusual genetic quirk – some breeders actually consider it a desirable trait. Here’s why.

Firstly, having extra toes is believed to give Maine Coon cats an advantage when it comes to hunting and navigating rough terrain. The larger paws provide better traction, balance, and stability, making it easier for them to climb trees or catch prey. It’s like having nature’s own climbing gear. This is particularly relevant for this breed, which originated in the harsh climate of Maine and was known for its hunting skills.

Additionally, having extra toes is seen as a unique and attractive feature of the breed. It sets Maine Coon cats apart from other breeds and makes them more desirable to potential owners. In fact, some breeders specialize in breeding polydactyl Maine Coon cats because there’s a market for them among cat enthusiasts who appreciate their distinctive appearance.

However, not all breeders agree that polydactyly is a desirable trait. Some argue that it goes against the breed standard, which specifies five toes on the front paws and four on the back paws. Others worry that it could lead to health problems such as arthritis or joint issues later in life. For this reason, some cat registries do not recognize polydactyl cats as purebred Maine Coons.

It’s important to note that whether or not polydactyly is considered desirable depends on personal preference and breeding goals. While some breeders may see it as an advantage, others may view it as a deviation from the breed standard. Ultimately, it’s up to individual breeders to decide whether or not to include polydactyl cats in their breeding programs.


To summarize, not all Maine Coon cats have seven toes. While it’s true that polydactyly is more common in this breed than others, only about 40% of Maine Coon cats are born with extra digits on their paws. This fascinating genetic quirk is thought to have originated from the breed’s ancestors who were brought over to America by early settlers. These cats had extra toes that helped them navigate the rugged New England terrain and hunt prey more effectively. As time passed, the trait became increasingly prevalent in Maine Coon cats.

While having extra toes can be beneficial for some breeds, it can also lead to health problems if not properly cared for. Extra toes can make grooming difficult and hinder a cat’s ability to walk or run comfortably. Additionally, some cats with polydactyly may develop arthritis or other joint issues.

Therefore, before adopting or breeding a polydactyl cat, it’s crucial to consider any potential health concerns associated with this trait. It’s vital to prioritize your cat’s well-being and seek guidance from a veterinarian who practices ethical breeding methods and understands the possible risks linked to polydactyly.