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Dados, the Cat with Mitts for Paws

Updated on February 17, 2017


Dados, the cat with seven claws on each paw.
Dados, the cat with seven claws on each paw.

Extra Claws on Cat

Ever see a cat with what appear as baseball mitts for paws?

This is Dados, who traipsed freely around the neighborhood when I first moved into my townhome. Each paw contains seven claws!

He was named "Dados", which means fingers in some other language. ("Dedus" in Spanish means fingers, which is similar sounding.)

From an astute reader, I found out that the great author, Ernest Hemingway, loved this type of cat and in the Northeast they are called "Hemingway cats".

Wikipedia calls them polydactyl cats and explains "Normal cats have a total of 18 toes, with five toes on each front paw and four toes on each hind paw; polydactyl cats may have as many as eight digits on their front and/or hind paws."

One of Dados' seven clawed paws.
One of Dados' seven clawed paws. | Source

Neighborhood Cat

When I moved in, the first neighbor I met, "Kathy", said that Dados' former owner had sold her home, complete with Dados, to Kathy and moved away. This person had allowed him to traverse the neighborhood, so Dados had many human friends that would feed him. Kathy continued this tradition.

He was quite friendly and welcomed me to the neighborhood as much as my new neighbors. I would sit out front on the porch and he would come by and rub against me.

Sadly, I am mildly allergic to cats, so if I petted him, I had to take care to wash my hands and certainly not touch my eyes until I washed my hands! Since he is short haired and my allergy is worse with long-haired kitties, there was no problem.

I once gave him a piece of baloney, which he ignored. Obviously, there were better eats somewhere else, most likely at Kathy's, but possibly elsewhere.

Oddly, Dados was also friends with some dogs.

Now a House Cat

Dados' neighborhood antics somehow got him injured and he obtained a nasty scratch behind one of his ears. At that point, Kathy decided he should be an indoor cat for safety.

He seems to have taken this change quite well, since Kathy and her daughter doted on him the most in the neighborhood. Plus, their's was his original home, a spot of comfort.

Quite feisty, but a bit too old for fights, I guess!


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    • Laura in Denver profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Deibel 

      6 years ago from Aurora

      Interesting glimpse into a similar human condition. Yes, aren't we ALL lucky not to be born in the past!

    • Peter Geekie profile image

      Peter Geekie 

      6 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Laura,

      Fascinating story of a multiclawed feline. I was born with 6 toes on each foot, two of which was snipped off by the doctor. Good job neither I nor Dados were born in the past otherwise we would have had the witch finder general banging on the door !

      Kind regards Peter

    • Laura in Denver profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Deibel 

      6 years ago from Aurora

      No doubt! Smart cat, though and not likely to get stuck!

    • Bella DonnaDonna profile image

      Bella DonnaDonna 

      6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I bet that cat could REALLY get up a tree!

    • Laura in Denver profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Deibel 

      6 years ago from Aurora

      I looked at that book and sometimes he had as many as 60!

    • John  Lakewood profile image

      John Lakewood 

      6 years ago from Lakewood, CO

      I did hear that Hemingway liked a lot of cats around. Thanks.

    • Laura in Denver profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Deibel 

      6 years ago from Aurora

      Or maybe a geneticist. Some people have odd numbers of digits. Or webbed hands. Not fatal, be embarrassing, I suppose.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have had a cat with 7 claws on the front and 6 on the back. Odd. Some biologist should check into this.

    • Laura in Denver profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Deibel 

      6 years ago from Aurora

      Thanks so much for the information! I will let Kathy know she has a "Hemingway Cat"!

    • Theophanes profile image

      Theophanes Avery 

      6 years ago from New England

      It's actually called polydactyl, it's a rescessive genetic trait. Here in New England we call them Hemingway Cats because Ernest Hemingway had a real fondness for them and still has a number of them breeding on his property. In the old days cats were brought on ships to keeps rat populations down but sailors believed these double pawed cats were particularly lucky so many populations popped up near sea ports. I knew a breeder who had one that had ten toes on each foot. I swear if someone found his footprints in the snow they would have thought we had El Chupacabra on the loose. :)

    • Laura in Denver profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Deibel 

      6 years ago from Aurora

      He is a mutant, I suppose! Friendly cat, though.

    • KathyH profile image


      6 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Very interesting! I had never heard of a cat with seven toes. I learned something new. :) So glad he has found a good home! Thanks for sharing!


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