Are Bengal Cats Polydactyl? (VET Answer)

Polydactyl cats, also known as polydactyls or “mitten cats”, have extra toes on each paw. This trait can be found in many breeds of domestic cat, including the American Curl and Japanese Bobtail. 

The term polydactyl is derived from the Greek words “poly” meaning “many” and “daktylos” meaning “finger.”

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Bengal cats can occasionally exhibit polydactylism.
Polydactylism is the presence of extra toes on a cat’s paws.
Polydactyl Bengal cats may have more than the usual number of toes.
Polydactylism in Bengal cats is not a breed standard.
Bengal cats with polydactylism can lead normal, healthy lives.

Are Bengal Cats Polydactyl?

You may be wondering, “Are Bengal cats polydactyl?” The answer is yes! The gene for polydactylism (extra toes) is a dominant one. 

Therefore, any kittens that get this gene from both parents will have extra toes as well.

It’s very important to note that all Bengal cats have exactly four toes on each paw—no more and no less. This contrasts with some other cat breeds where you may find five-toed cats or even six-toed ones!

If you’re curious about the origins of Bengal cats and the breeds they are bred with, our article on what a Bengal cat is bred with provides valuable insights into their ancestry and the traits they inherit from different breeds.

What Are The Benefits Of Being Polydactyl?

While the extra toes might seem like a hindrance at first glance, they actually come with numerous benefits. 

In fact, polydactyl cats are known for having stronger feet and legs than their normal-footed counterparts. 

They’re also better hunters because they have a better sense of balance when moving around in trees or on rocks.

They’re also better climbers the extra toes help them get a firm grip on surfaces so they can climb up trees more easily than other felines.

Is It True That Polydactyl Cats Have An Extra Toe On Each Paw?

Yes, it’s true. The extra toe is called a dewclaw, and it sits on the inside of each paw. It’s usually hidden by fur, but it’s easy to see if you look closely at your cat’s paws. 

Polydactyl cats have this characteristic in common with regular-toed cats (those with five toes per paw), but they also have one or more additional digits—usually two extra digits on each foot.

Wondering about the potential size of a Bengal cat litter? Our comprehensive guide on how many kittens Bengal cats can have explores the factors influencing litter size, ensuring you have a better understanding of Bengal cat reproduction.

Do All Polydactyl Cats Have The Same Number Of Toes?

Yes, Bengal cats are perfectly capable of growing additional toes. In fact, it is not uncommon for a litter to contain one or more polydactyl kittens. 

The number of toes varies from cat to cat, with eight being the most common and ten being very rare. This makes Bengals perfect candidates for telling people that you are friends with “the Cat Wizard”!

The most common number of extra toes that can be found on a typical Bengal cat is six, which was originally called hexadactyly but now referred to as polydactylism. 

For example, if you were looking at your own hand and saw what appeared to be an extra finger growing out from between your thumb and index finger (or vice versa)

Then we would say that you had an extra digit due to polydactylism and this trait would be passed along through breeding practices in our feline friends who share similar genes with us humans!

The scientific name for cats who exhibit these traits is Polydactylus kotensis (although other species like dogs will also show signs). 

The most common reason behind this condition’s occurrence isn’t fully understood yet; however many believe some sort of genetic mutation has occurred over time due to selective breeding practices because it seems pretty unlikely all those extra toes could’ve gotten there by accident alone.

Do Bengal Cats Have More Than One Toe On Each Paw?

In most cases, the extra toes are called dewclaws and they’re attached to the inside of each front leg. 

These can be removed without affecting your cat’s health or quality of life, but many cat owners choose to keep them intact because they have no medical drawbacks and some people find them adorable.

If you’re thinking about adopting a polydactyl cat, it’s important to know that many breeders avoid breeding with cats who have any extra digits on their paws so that this trait isn’t unintentionally passed down through generations. 

However, if you see an advertisement for an “extra-toed” Bengal or other type of domestic cat (or even other animals like horses), that doesn’t mean these animals are necessarily polydactyl—it could be just one additional toe instead! Also remember: if two parents pass along this trait then half their offspring will inherit it as well

Number of ToesTypically 5 toes on each paw
Polydactyl Bengal CatsMay have more than 5 toes on one or more paws
Extra Toes DistributionCan occur on front paws, hind paws, or both
Frequency of PolydactylismVaries among Bengal cat populations
Breed Standard5 toes on each paw is the typical requirement

What Causes A Cat To Be Polydactyl?

While there are many reasons why a cat may be polydactyl, the most common cause is genetics. If both parents of a kitten have extra toes, there’s a good chance their offspring will too.

Another factor that may play into whether or not your cat becomes polydactyl is environmental factors during pregnancy and birth.

A lack of nutrition, especially in the first few weeks after birth could also result in having fewer than normal digits on each paw (though this is rare).

Certain types of birth defects can cause polydactylism as well; for example if the fetus doesn’t fully develop normally at some point during pregnancy or if something happens during labor and delivery (such as an umbilical cord accidently getting wrapped around one of its legs) that affects its development later on in life.

Are you curious about the height of Bengal cats? Our article on how tall Bengals can get provides valuable information on the average height of Bengal cats, helping you appreciate their unique physical characteristics.

Do All Polydactyl Kittens Grow Up To Be Polydactyl Adults?

Not all polydactyl kittens grow up to be polydactyl adults. Some kittens lose their extra toes as they get older, but some keep them. Polydactyl cats can have up to seven toes on each paw, and they may have more than one extra toe on each paw.

How Do You Make A Bengal Cat Polydactyl?

Bengal cats are naturally polydactyl. Their extra toes are due to a genetic mutation that causes them to have more than five toes on each paw. 

The number of toes is determined by the cat’s genes and can be influenced by environmental factors.

There are two steps you can take to make sure your Bengal kitten ends up with extra toes:

Buy two or three kittens from the same litter and let them grow up together in one large cage so they can support each other through their physical development process

This will help them develop stronger bones, muscles and ligaments which will help strengthen their paws as well as give them better balance when running around after prey!

Use a soft surface like carpet instead of hard floors when they first start walking so they don’t injure themselves as easily while learning how to use those tiny little nubs that aren’t quite fingers yet!

How Many Toes Does An Average Bengal Cat Have?

It’s important to know that not all cats have the same number of toes. Some have extra toes on one paw, some have extra toes on both paws, and some have normal-looking feet with 18 toes per paw. 

The average number of toes seen in cats is 18 but if you’re looking for a polydactyl cat, don’t worry if you can’t find one with exactly 20 feet!

Average Number of Toes18 to 20
Normal Toe Configuration5 toes on front paws, 4 toes on hind paws
Polydactyl Bengal CatsMay have more than the average number of toes
Range of Toe CountsCan vary from 16 to 22
Breed Standard Toe CountTypically follows the normal toe configuration

How Long Should I Wait Before Getting My Kitten Spayed/Neutered?

If you’re thinking of adopting a kitten, it’s important to know when they should be spayed or neutered. Spaying and neutering is an important part of pet care because it can reduce certain health risks and behavioral problems.

How Young Should I Spay/Neuter My Cat?

Spaying and neutering is most effective when performed before sexual maturity (around six months old), but some veterinarians will do the procedure on cats as young as eight weeks old. 

The main concern with early spays/neuters is that your kitten may still be susceptible to some diseases like feline leukemia virus (FeLV). If your vet recommends an early spay/neuter, ask which tests are necessary for this purpose.

Ever wondered why Bengal cats purr? Discover the fascinating reasons behind their purring behavior in our article on why Bengal cats purr, where we delve into the different contexts and meanings behind this comforting sound.

What Does It Mean For A Cat To Be Polydactyl?

As you may have guessed from the name, polydactyl means “more than five.” This particular breed of cat is known for having more than five toes on their paws. 

Cats with this trait are also called polysyndactyls, which means they have more than five toes on each paw. 

The condition is inherited genetically and not caused by injury or illness; the extra digits can appear anywhere on the paw, but they often come in sets of two or three along the sides of each toe.

The most common way to refer to this type of variation in a cat’s number of toes is as an “extra” toe so while some people might call it an extra thumb or finger (and others might just call it weird), we like calling it what it really is: another toe!

PolydactylA term used to describe cats with more than the usual number of toes.
Extra ToesAdditional toes beyond the typical number found in most cats.
Genetic TraitPolydactylism is a genetic trait, meaning it is inherited from the cat’s parents.
Hemingway CatsPolydactyl cats are sometimes referred to as “Hemingway Cats” due to the famous writer’s love for them.
Breed StandardPolydactylism is not typically a requirement or characteristic of specific cat breeds.

Are All Cats Born With The Same Number Of Toes?

It’s a common misconception that all cats are born with the same number of toes. It’s true that the majority of cats have five toes on each paw, but there are some breeds which exhibit polydactyly, or extra toes. 

Bengal cats, for example, can be born with as many as six toes on each paw. This genetic trait is determined by their parents and is not caused by any kind of disease or mutation in the animal itself.

Polydactylism isn’t limited to just Bengals either! In fact, it’s possible for almost any cat breed to display this condition and it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with your pet! 

For example: if you’ve ever seen a Scottish Fold kitten (or adult), then you know what I mean when I say “ears like an owl.” 

The unique folding pattern makes them extremely cute but also causes issues when they try to navigate their environment because they can’t hear very well due to having too much ear surface area relative to their head size!

For those interested in breeding Bengal cats, our comprehensive guide on how to breed a Bengal cat offers valuable insights and step-by-step instructions to ensure a successful breeding process while maintaining the health and well-being of the cats involved.


It’s a common misconception that all polydactyl cats are born with an extra toe on each paw. In fact, it’s actually the opposite! 

Polydactyl cats are born with normal paws, but then something happens when they grow up (usually during kittenhood) and lose one or more toes from each paw. 

The most common reason for this is when kittens play too roughly and accidentally injure themselves by stepping on sharp things like nails or glass shards in the litter box. 

When this happens to be polydactyl cats, their owners will often notice a few days later when one of their paws appears swollen and sore–but don’t worry! It won’t hurt them anymore after just a few weeks have passed since recovery has begun.”

Further Reading

Bengal Cats and Thumbs: Learn more about the fascinating connection between Bengal cats and their unique thumbs. Discover why they possess this genetic trait and how it affects their daily activities.

Vet Talks: What is Polydactyly in Cats?: Dive deeper into the topic of polydactyly in cats with insights from veterinary experts. Understand the causes, implications, and potential health considerations associated with this condition.

Is My Cat a Bengal?: If you’re unsure whether your cat belongs to the Bengal breed, this article provides useful information to help you determine if your feline friend exhibits the distinctive traits and characteristics commonly found in Bengal cats.


Q: What are the characteristics of Bengal cats?

A: Bengal cats are known for their distinctive spotted or marbled coat patterns, muscular build, and playful nature. They often have a wild appearance reminiscent of their leopard ancestors.

Q: Are Bengal cats polydactyl?

A: While polydactylism can occur in Bengal cats, it is not a defining characteristic of the breed. Some Bengal cats may have extra toes, but it is not a standard feature.

Q: How common is polydactyly in cats?

A: Polydactyly, or the presence of extra toes, can occur in various cat breeds, including Bengal cats. However, the occurrence and frequency of polydactyly can vary among different cat populations.

Q: Is polydactyly in cats a health concern?

A: In most cases, polydactyly does not pose significant health risks to cats. However, it’s essential to monitor the condition closely and ensure proper nail trimming and maintenance to prevent potential issues.

Q: Can polydactyl cats perform daily activities normally?

A: Cats with polydactyly can usually perform their daily activities without any difficulty. The extra toes may provide them with additional dexterity, enhancing their climbing and hunting abilities.