How Many Toes Does a Cat Have? The Answer May Surprise You!

Cats are fascinating creatures with unique characteristics that make them stand out. One of the things that sets cats apart from other animals is their paws, which have a specific number of toes. While most people assume that cats have five toes on each paw, the truth is slightly more complicated than that.

The Basics: How Many Toes Do Cats Have?

Most domestic cats have 18 toes in total – five on their front paws and four on their back paws. However, some felines may have extra digits due to a genetic mutation called polydactyly. This condition causes cats to grow additional toes, which can result in up to 28 digits in total!

Polydactyl Cats

Polydactyly is relatively common among certain breeds of cats, such as Maine Coons and American Shorthairs. These felines often develop an extra toe or two on one or more of their feet, giving them a distinctive look and making them sought after by many pet owners.

It’s important to note that not all polydactyl cats will have the same number of toes. Some may only possess six or seven digits while others could possibly grow up to ten! Regardless of how many extra toes they develop; it doesn’t affect their health negatively.

Why do Some Cats Have Extra Toes?

Scientists believe that polydactyly is caused by a random mutation during fetal development; however scientists are still unsure about its exact cause. As mentioned earlier, certain cat breeds tend to be predisposed towards developing this trait; therefore genetics play a significant role too.

Interestingly enough though- Polydactyly isn’t just limited to our furry friends- humans can also inherit this trait!


Cats’ paws are impressively suited for hunting prey and navigating various environments thanks to different adaptations they possess along with having multiple claws (or fingers) per paw!

For example:

– The fur between their toes helps them walk silently, allowing them to sneak up on prey without being noticed.
– Their retractable claws not only allow for efficient movements while hunting but also act as a means of protection.


In conclusion, most cats have 18 toes – five on their front paws and four on their back ones. However, some felines may grow additional digits due to a genetic mutation called polydactyly. Regardless of the number of toes they possess, cats are impressive creatures with highly adapted paws that enable them to be efficient hunters and climbers!