A polydactyl cat is a cat with a congenital physical anomaly called polydactyly (or polydactylism, also known as hyperdactyly), a type of cat body type genetic mutation that causes the cat to be born with more than the usual number of toes on one or more of its paws.
Polydactyl cats have been extremely popular as ship’s cats. Although there is some controversy over whether the most common variant of the trait originated as a mutation in New England or was brought there from Britain, there seems to be agreement that it spread widely as a result of cats carried on ships originating in Boston, Massachusetts, and the prevalence of polydactyly among the cat population of various ports correlates with the dates when they first established trade with Boston. Contributing to the spread of polydactyl cats by this means, sailors were long known to value polydactyl cats especially for their extraordinary climbing and hunting abilities as an aid in controlling shipboard rodents. Some sailors also considered them to be extremely good luck when at sea.
*The fat footed cutie above belongs to my guy, which means we’re best friends.