Curious Questions: Do Cats Have Thumbs?

February 04, 2021

Curious Questions: Do Cats Have Thumbs?

Do cats have thumbs? 

Cats are natural predators and their bodies have evolved to hunt prey for thousands of years. Your kitty's paws are perfect for hunting. Cats do not have opposable thumbs as we do. 

However, polydactyl cats do exist.

They're known by several aliases, such as thumb cats, mitten cats, polydactyl cats, etc. These cats have six (instead of five) toes. Keep reading to find out more about polydactyl cats. 

This Condition is Hereditary 

Extra thumbs or toes are hereditary in nature. In his lifetime, Ernest Hemingway had several polydactyl cats and his museum currently cares for over 50 six-toed cats. 

If your cat or kitten has six toes, it means that one of its ancestors had six toes, and the dormant gene was carried down the family line until it was able to express itself. 

These Extra Toes Don't Cause Any Problems 

Most polydactyl cats lead normal lives and do not run into any issues just because they have extra toes. The only thing that should bother you is that you have an extra toe to clip. 

These cats do not experience any pain in the extra toe. 

Polydactyl Cats are More Common in Some Parts of the World

This point ties in with the one about hereditary. 

Some regions of the world, such as western England, Wales, North American East Coast, etc. have more polydactyl cats than most other regions of the world. 

Summing Up: Do Cats Have Thumbs? 

No, cats do not have thumbs in the literal sense of the word. 

Humans are one of the few animals that have opposable thumbs, and these played a major role in our evolution. These thumbs allow us to have a precise grip on things. 

However, cats did not need thumbs to evolve. 

Do you have any questions? We'll answer them in the comments section.


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