Quiz about Polydactyl Cats
Quiz about Polydactyl Cats

Polydactyl Cats Trivia Quiz


My cat has thumbs. Really, he does. Cats with extra digits on their paws are called Polydactyl, so we named him Ptero, like a Pterodactyl. His brother, who lives with my brother and his wife, is named Digit, because he also has extra digits.

A multiple-choice quiz by efvie. Estimated time: 3 mins.
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Author
efvie
Time
3 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
288,565
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
7966
Awards
Top 10% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 73 (8/10), Guest 47 (10/10), mizzdazy (9/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. Polydactyly is an extremely rare trait among cats worldwide.

True
False

2. Polydactyly is generally a harmful mutation in cats.

True
False

3. Which of these names are polydactyls NOT commonly known as? Hint

Freak Cats
Hemingway Cats
Mitten Cats
Thumb Cats

4. There are cases of polydactyl humans.

True
False

5. Polydactyly in cats is unique to North American cats.

True
False

6. Polydactyly is less common among cats than other mammals.

True
False

7. Polydactyly, in its more common and non-harmful manifestation, is a dominant trait.

True
False

8. What are the most common minor problems associated with polydactyls? Hint

behavior problems (aggressiveness, etc.)
joint problems (hip dysplasia, etc.)
claw issues (ingrown nails, etc.)
mental problems (stupidity, etc.)

9. Why was polydactyly deliberately bred out of Maine Coons (a large cat characterized by its beautiful neck ruff of fur), despite folk belief that the extra toes acted as snowshoes and helped in hunting? Hint

people in Maine didn't want their cats hunting
breed standards made no allowance for extra toes
polydactyly is a harmful mutation
polydactyly is ugly

10. Polydactyly can be found in large cats as well, such as leopards.

Yes
No


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Polydactyly is an extremely rare trait among cats worldwide.

Answer: False

Polydactyls are fairly common in Southwest Britain, America's East coast, and Celtic areas, to name a few. They are also fairly well-known in the US, made famous in part by Hemingway's interest in them. They also used to account for nearly 40% of the Maine Coon breed, before the trait was deliberately bred out of them.
2. Polydactyly is generally a harmful mutation in cats.

Answer: False

The most dominant form of polydactyly is harmless, although there is a less common form that indicates other genetic physiological problems with the cat.
3. Which of these names are polydactyls NOT commonly known as?

Answer: Freak Cats

They are called Hemingway cats because Hemingway had many of them. They are called thumb cats because many of them sport an "opposable" thumb that some of them can use to manipulate objects much as a human would use a thumb. Mine will actually hold objects in his "hands."

Ok, my husband calls our cat a freak, but in a loving way, and it's not a common nickname for the breed.
4. There are cases of polydactyl humans.

Answer: True

There are six-fingered humans.
5. Polydactyly in cats is unique to North American cats.

Answer: False

One of the other names for a polydactyl cat is Cardi-cat, originating from Cardiganshire, in Wales.
6. Polydactyly is less common among cats than other mammals.

Answer: False

Polydactyly is more common in cats than other animals, perhaps because the location of the genes on the chromosomes make them more likely to mutate.
7. Polydactyly, in its more common and non-harmful manifestation, is a dominant trait.

Answer: True

A couple definitions:

heterozygous -- only one gene out of a pair selects for a certain trait
homozygous -- both genes in the pair select for the same trait

This explanation refers to the most prevalent, and harmless, form of polydactylism.

If both parents are polydactyl, the kittens will most likely be polydactyl as well, whether the parents were hetero- or homozygous polydactyl. If both parents are heterozygous for the trait, then 3/4 of the kittens should have extra toes.

If one parent is homozygous polydactyl, and the other parent is normal footed, all kittens will be heterozygous polydactyl (possessing extra toes).

If one parent is heterozygous polydactyl, and the other is normal footed, then half of the kittens will be heterozygous polydactyl.

Since it only takes one gene selecting for polydactyly to give a cat extra toes, the polydactyl gene is dominant over the "normal-footed" gene.
8. What are the most common minor problems associated with polydactyls?

Answer: claw issues (ingrown nails, etc.)

My polydactyl, Ptero (as in ptero-dactyl, heehee), has some issues with two of his claws. The toes that would normally be the innermost toes, on the sides of the feet (what would pass for a "thumb" in a "normal" cat), is between the rest of the foot and his thumb, so when he scratches, it does not get stropped. I have to clip those two myself (which is not fun) to make sure they do not curve all the way around into his feet. I've considered having those two toes declawed, and in fact, if I lived in the UK, this would be the only circumstances under which I could declaw my cat, legally, and then only the affected toes.

Interesting, huh?
9. Why was polydactyly deliberately bred out of Maine Coons (a large cat characterized by its beautiful neck ruff of fur), despite folk belief that the extra toes acted as snowshoes and helped in hunting?

Answer: breed standards made no allowance for extra toes

Polydactyls made up about 40% of Maine Coons, but the trait was almost completely bred out, and only recently have attempts been made to recover it. Cat show associations still do not allow polydactyls to win awards.
10. Polydactyly can be found in large cats as well, such as leopards.

Answer: Yes

There have been photographs and reports of polydactyl leopards, although it seems to be caused by a different gene than that of the domesticated cats. There are also unconfirmed reports of unusually large, thumb-footed tigers, although these may be exaggeration.
Source: Author efvie

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor crisw before going online.
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