7 Polydactyl Kitties Warm Their Mitts at Helen Woodward Animal Center


Despite an unusually warm fall, recent winter weather blew more than cooler temperatures through the doors of Helen Woodward Animal Center. 

As though prepped for the chill, seven adorable polydactyl kittens arrived showing off their fluffy mittens.  

Potential adopters hoping to take home these adorable and rare felines should get to Helen Woodward Animal Center at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18 to be first in line.

A polydactyl cat is a feline with a congenital physical anomaly causing the cat to be born with more than the usual number of toes on one or more of its paws. (Normal cats have a total of five toes on each fore paw, and four toes on each hind paw; polydactyl cats may have as many as nine digits on their front or hind paws.) 

A variety of lore surrounds polydactyls but there is general agreement that the spread of the breed was a result of the felines traveling on ships between Boston and Great Britain. Sailors were known to value polydactyl cats, especially for their climbing and hunting abilities, which aided in controlling shipboard rodents, and they even thought the cats brought good luck at sea. 

The Center’s special arrival of “Kittens in Mittens” did not come by ship, however.  These seven polydactyls were part of a Southern California transport of three different litters, each including the multi-toed balls of fluff.

“It’s been a challenging year for shelters across the country,” Adoption Services Director Kendall Schulz said.  “Adoptions are down and economic costs are up which can dampen the mood but that’s the beauty of working with animals.  Every day we see things that delight and surprise us.  For any cat-lover who has ever swooned over a kitten toe bean… I can tell you there was far more than the normal swoon-worthy material on this one transport.”

The seven polydactyl kittens named Bailey, Kahlua, Mocha, Espresso, Pepper, Corn, and Etta have each been spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped in preparation for finding their forever families on Nov. 18. 

Those who would like to adopt one of these special kittens should know that each tiny kitten comes equipped with winter-sized mittens big enough to knock every item off the counter but also with hearts warm enough to keep you toasty all season long.

The polydactyl kittens are available to liven up your winter beginning Saturday, Nov. 18, at 10 a.m.   For more information on these kittens and other available orphan pets at Helen Woodward Animal Center, please contact the Adoptions Department at 858-756-4117 ext. 1, or visit www.animalcenter.org.