The Claw Is Not a Flaw

As most of you know, DG has a genetic anomaly known as "polydactylism" which is basically Greek for "the boy's got himself some extra toes".

I used to think it was a flaw, but that misconception was inevitably abandoned because the fact is that every one of my cats that happens to have this trait utilizes it to great efficacy in a wide variety of ways. Lucky opened doors, Raven stole meatballs and other morsels off people's plates, Diblet uses his to maintain balance and grip on the banister, and DG…

…DG often uses his non-retractable claws to anchor himself in place while he bathes and sleeps. There have actually been times when he would have slipped off the couch in a dead sleep if not for a single claw keeping his fuzzy bundle of a body stationary.

He uses them in other ways, as well. When I'm holding him, he uses them to ensure the ride lasts as long as he desires. I can reach up and dislodge his talons from the collar of my shirt if I want to set him down, but by the time I've gotten my hands positioned under his chest, he's already turned and buried the pointies in my shirt again. It's pretty much his way of informing me he's not in the mood to provide his own locomotion just yet, now take me over to the front window so I can look outside at the squirrels and birds thank you very much.

And let's not ever forget how he uses them to let me know he's been startled.

It's pretty hard to call DG's extra toes a flaw when he uses them so well.

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About kirkstarr

I draw pictures for a living.
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16 Responses to The Claw Is Not a Flaw

  1. jaypo says:

    Sailors valued polydactyl cats for their
    extraordinary climbing and hunting abilities as an aid in controlling vermin AND–>they considered them good luck at sea. Deej has proven that they're good luck on land too.

  2. Kirk says:

    How cool is it that you know this stuff? ๐Ÿ˜€ It's true sailors thought they were living symbols of good fortune and that they were particularly good luck while at sea. Strange, really, considering how much cats loathe the water, huh?Another tidbit I always found interesting is that based on the concentration of polydactyl cats in the greater Boston area, it's speculated they arrived in the US via that particular port city. They really should have gotten a mention in an episode of Cheers. ๐Ÿ˜›

  3. jaypo says:

    Polydactyl cats are a New England original! My big boy Bluto ( stray I took in) was polydactyl front and back and 16 lbs of muscle. That cat could *fight* and had the scars to show it. But not fight at me–hims wuz putty-kittn in my hands. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Kirk says:

    Ha ha ha! Yeah, I think mad brawlin' skillz are somehow encoded in the polydactylism gene. After all, DG invented his own feline form of martial arts, if you'll recall. ๐Ÿ™‚ Somehow, though, he manages to make sure the scars end up on others. Then again, he didn't grow up on the mean streets of Beantown!

  5. jaypo says:

    LOL! And you have the scars to prove it.

  6. I-Luv-Eeyore says:

    Here all along I thought the polydactyl kitties came from Florida and ( famous writer….wrote "Old Man and the Sea"..come on brain think..think…think….Googled it.) Ernest Hemingway brought them to the States from somewhere else. Oh well, learned my something new for the day.When I was married to the ex and back before I knew I was allergic to kitties we had several of the polydactyl kitties. The Momma cat was all black and there was usually only one baby per litter that would be polydactyl. She had a smokey gray boy cat that grew to be the dominant creature in our world of dogs, cats, pigs, horses, and cows. His polydactyl front paws smacked it's fair share of doggie noses and I always loved to stick my finger in the center of his paw. All of his claws would come out and they were unable to cause my finger damage. I thought it was cool.

  7. Kirk says:

    You actually did research just to leave me a comment? I am flattered beyond words. :)"The Momma cat was all black and there was usually only one baby per
    litter that would be polydactyl."Lucky sometimes had several polys in a single litter, but no matter what, there was always at least one."I always loved to stick my finger in the center of his paw."Zach just mentioned this just yesterday — how he loves to stick his finger in there and let all those tiny toes wrap around it. Cute beyond compare.

  8. I learned something new today. I did not know about polydactyl cats and I find all that you told us and the comments above to be quite interesting and instructive. Wow…learn something new every day. Thanks, Kirk!! That is fascinating.

  9. lauowolf says:

    Aaaaaand, they make his adorable feetz BIGGER, so there is moar of them to love.

  10. I-Luv-Eeyore says:

    You actually did research just to leave me a comment? I am flattered beyond words.Not only that, but I let you in to my thinking process, too. Only extra special people get to see how I think. I usually delete it when the right answer comes along. This time I forgot to delete my thoughts. LOL!! Lucky lucky Kirk.

  11. Lurkertype says:

    Teh Deej can do whatever he wants, b/c he's got THAT FACE. Swinging excess scimitars about, you go boy. Cat paws are wonderful to play with, as long as they'll let you. They're like bouquets. Whole separate entities.And they do amazing things with them. HRTortie has one clubfoot paw, and those little toes are all twisty and at the wrong angle, with one claw that doesn't retract and is just a big slab of nail material. Yet she can outrun us, climb the cat tree, and turn on a dime.We had a declawed kitteh when I grew up (yeah, yeah; it was the 60's, take it up with my dead mom), and he used his toes like fingers. He could pick up a dime out of that super-long shag carpeting.

  12. Lurkertype says:

    BTW, do you still have a scar from last year's Ginsu attack? (I've still got a faint scar from the attack I mentioned in those comments)I'm so glad I've only ever dealt with the standard number of cat toes. Although at one point we lived with a tuxie girl who had developed a thumb, even without polydactlylism. Luckily she was very sweet and extremely stupid, so we didn't live in fear. It did frustrate the other cat, who had designs on taking over the world, but had no thumbs to do it with. If only!!!

  13. Kirk says:

    "BTW, do you still have a scar from last year's Ginsu attack?" Yup. It isn't bad, but you can definitely see I got cut.

  14. arbed says:

    Edgar's only got normal paws, but he is very good at letting me know I am not to put him down quite yet. I usually go "Awww, it's okay, you can stay for a minute more." or something similar because I think it's so cute when he does it.

  15. Kirk says:

    Truth be told, I do the same thing.

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