Why Do Cats Have 18 Toes?

Why Do Cats Have 18 Toes

Have you ever counted up all the toes on your cats four paws?

Cats have five toes on each of their front paws, and four toes on each of their back paws.

That’s right, that is a total of 18 toes. But why do cats have 18 toes?

Four toes are fairly common in the animal kingdom. It’s the five toes that are less common in animals, but as evolution dictates, it’s an advantage for cats.

Those extra toes on their front paws help them with their balance, you will have seen then pawing at things and using it for extra grip, and it helps them climb.

Are Cats Digitigrade or Plantigrade?

Digitigrades are animals that walk, stand, and relies on using their toes when they are mobile. So, yes, cats are digitigrades.

Plantigrade means walking on the soles of the feet. We are plantigrades and use the soles of our feet.

It’s not easy for us to walk on our tiptoes. Unlike cats that gracefully walk on their tiptoes and can spring into action at any moment because of it.

What Are Polydactyl Cats?

Polydactyl cats have a physical abnormality that causes them to have more than 18 toes. In fact, they usually have between 20 – 26 toes.

It’s completely harmless however, polydactyl cats live normal lives. Albeit they aren’t quite as adept at climbing and such as their extra digits can get in the way.

Interestingly this condition is a lot more common in certain parts of the world. There are a lot more polydactyl cats in Western England and Wales, as well as parts of Eastern USA and Canada.