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Cats are super agile animals known for their inquisitive minds and ability to get into mischief. You might be wondering how a four-legged animal can jump, crawl, and stomp so easily! Although cats don’t have hands like humans, their paws set them up for success. If you’ve ever looked closely at a cat’s paws, you may have noticed their unique structure. So, do cats have thumbs?
Yes, cats have two thumbs. A normal cat will typically have five toes on its front legs, with only four toes on the back legs. This means that most cats have a total of eighteen toes, with more on their front paws than on their backs. Some cats are polydactyls and may have extra toes that also look like a thumb.
Cat thumbs may sound weird, but they’re a real thing! Let’s take a closer look at how a cat can use its thumb, its rarity, and some considerations.
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Do all cats have thumbs
Yes, cats have five toes on their front paws, so following the same convention as human fingers, they have that fifth toe that acts like the thumb. However, for cats, all of their toes have the same functionality.
Their five front toes help them climb and be great hunters in the wild. Their legs help a cat stabilize and more easily distribute its weight while walking evenly.
Are cat thumbs rare
It’s not uncommon for a cat to have five fingers on its front paws, but it’s special when it has extra toes that look like mittens or thumbs. Some cats are polydactyl, which means they have extra toes on their front or back legs. The word polydactyl itself means “several digits”. If your cat is polydactyl, he may have one or more extra toes on his front or back paws, although your cat is more likely to have extra toes on his front paws.
Having a polydactyl cat is not as rare as it seems. A specific gene is passed from parent cats to their offspring which causes a cat to inherit this condition. A cat mother or father must be polydactyl themselves for the gene to be passed on to a kitten.
Although it may seem bad for a cat to have those extra digits, it doesn’t impact their daily life. In some ways, having those extra limbs might make them even better climbers and hunters than cats with the standard number of toes.
If you notice your cat is polydactyl, it may be worth talking to their veterinarian. get them checked out in case there is another underlying condition besides being polydactyl.
Do cats have fingers and thumbs
Cats don’t have fingers and thumbs the way humans do. The paws of a cat’s foot function differently from the fingers and toes of the human body and do not give them as much flexibility. Humans have individual fingers with an opposable thumb for picking up objects and grasping them easily. Human fingers allow us great mobility to spread or stretch our fingers as needed, and that’s not how a cat’s paw works. Most often, the individual digits on a cat’s paw are called toes on their front and hind legs.
The only cats that come close to the same type of thumb as a human are polydactyl cats, but even polydactyl cats still don’t have opposable thumbs. However, having that extra digit gives them the advantage of being more skilled than other cats.
Cats can navigate life with whatever paws they have, and some can open cabinets or doors with their front paws. Cats generally use their front paws more to explore the world around them and may also use their front paws to help them eat.
How many inches do cats have
A normal cat has two thumbs on its two front paws, where they have five toes. Their fifth toe is called the thumb because it falls on the medial side of the foot, which is the same place where humans have their thumbs.
If you have a polydactyl cat, it’s not uncommon for a cat to have up to three extra toes on each of its paws. Although unusual, it is possible and usually not harmful to your cat. The Guinness World Record holder is a cat named Jake who had 28 toes all over his body.
Are there any cats with opposable thumbs?
The average cat does not have opposable thumbs, as its toes are connected by a hinge joint. However, there are rare exceptions where polydactyl cats can use their extra toes as opposable thumbs. A thumb is considered opposable when it can be “placed opposite the fingers of the same hand”. It also allows the person to grasp objects, and this is something commonly seen in primates.
Polydactyl cats may have extra abilities to move around small objects thanks to their extra toe. A truly intelligent cat that is polydactyl might learn over time to use its paws in a way that gives it the same range of motion as an opposable thumb.
However, in reality, no cat has the same functionality as having truly opposable thumbs. Yet, there is always a chance that cats will evolve in this direction over time. Even without opposable thumbs, it’s pretty amazing how much cats can do with their paws!
Things to consider
There are several scenarios in which having a polydactyl cat could present health issues for your pet. Sometimes polydactyl cats have another underlying condition called radial hypoplasia. This is a condition in which a cat’s radius is shorter in its front legs than it should be proportionally. It is therefore difficult for a cat to move properly, as it has difficulty in regaining its balance. If a cat has this condition, you might see it hopping around to avoid having to walk. Being polydactyl is a symptom of radial hypoplasia.
Another condition that can occur in polydactyl cats is if the extra toes are not fully formed. If your cat only has part of an extra toe, it can be painful and dangerous for them. It could give your cat ingrown toenails or bother him with his claws. Whether you have a polydactyl cat or not, you should spend time every few weeks to check its paws and make sure everything is fine. It can be easy for a cat to get a thorn or burr stuck in their pads, which is painful for them and often difficult to remove on their own.