what is a polydactyl cat?

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is my cat polydactyl?

The typical domestic cat has 5 toes on their front paws, and 4 toes on their hind paws. That is, unless they have more. In which case, it is a Polydactyl cat: a cat with more than the normal amount of toes. What is a polydactyl cat?

what is a polydactyl cat

polydactyl cat


Polydactyl cats are not a particular breed, and the trait can appear in any breed: Calicos, Tabbies, white, black, etc. So what is a polydactyl cat?

what is a polydactyl cat

mitten paws





A version of polydactyl is “mitten paws,” it occurs when the extra toes are attached on the medial side, the “thumb” side of the paw. These polydactyl cats look like they have opposable thumbs, and some act like they do. With increased dexterity, they are enable to open clasps and windows.

snowshoe paws


Cats that have multiple toes that aren’t “mitten paws” just appear to have big feet, which are called “snowshoe paws” or “pancake feet.”

canadian lynx

Canadian lyxn






These type of polydactyl paws are similar to the Canadian lynx, who have very large paws, enabling them to walk on top of snow.

Mariners valued polydactyl cats.They were traditionally seen on sailing ships when sail boats were used for trade. Sailors saw that polydactyl cats had extraordinary climbing and hunting abilities, useful for controlling rodents. Perhaps that’s why they considered polydactyl cats good luck on a ship.

Quentin Roosevelt and Slippers

Polydactyl cats have been popular for a while. President Theodore Roosevelt brought Slippers, who’s right paw had six toes,  to the white house, around 1906. Photo is of his son Quentin, with Slippers.

Polydactyls were made even more popular by writer Ernest Hemingway. In the 1930’s, sea captain Stanley Dexter gave Hemingway a six-toed cat named Snowball. Hemingway’s home in Key West, Florida is now a museum where around sixty cats live. At least half of the cats are polydacts, most likely the decendents of Hemingway’s cat Snowball.

what is a polydactyl cat

Hemingway and polydactyl cat









yawning cat and tiger

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yawning cat and tiger

Apparently, all mammals yawn, including cats. And tigers. Like this yawning cat and tiger.
Domestic cats and wild cats are related, as we all know. Our cats at home innately behave like wild cats: just watch how they play – it’s about getting prey, even when they look so cute batting a flying feather wand or toy mouse. Likewise, wild cats behave like our own cats.

Both tigers and cats like to sleep, a lot. In fact cats average fifteen hours a day, while tigers average eighteen hours a day. So they do a fair amount of yawning.

cat starts to yawn

Marnie starts to yawn
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2017

tiger starts to yawn

Tiger, Thailand
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2017

A theory about why we yawn

from thenakedscientists.com

One reason why we yawn is that we may be trying to stay alert or vigilant during the transition between the wakefulness and sleep. This happens in nearly all animals and may in part be a sensory response to muscle contractions from the yawn.

yawning cat

Marnie yawns like a tiger
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2017

yawning tiger

Tiger yawning like cat
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2017

another odd phenomenon about yawning, it’s contagious – for all of us.

The more people are susceptible to contagious yawning, the better their social competence and empathy,” Guggisberg says. “In humans it is clear that yawning has a social effect. It is probably an unconscious behavior. It is not clear what yawning communicates or what it achieves. But clearly it transmits some information that has some effect on brain networks or behavior.”

from webmd.com
So this social aspect may effect cats. I think it does.

Kedi cats of Istanbul movie

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Kedi cats of Istanbul

While visiting friends George and Judy in Miami recently, they surprised us with movie tickets: we were going to see Kedi cats of Istanbul movie flyerKedi cats of Istanbul, a documentary which I’d never heard of, but hey…it’s about cats!




This description of the movie is from rottentomatos.com

KEDi is not a documentary about house cats or the strays you occasionally see in your back yard. KEDi is a film about the hundreds of thousands of cats who have roamed the metropolis of Istanbul freely for thousands of years, wandering in and out of people’s lives, impacting them in ways only an animal who lives between the worlds of the wild and the tamed can.

Kedi cats of Instanbul

still from Kedi cats of Istanbul

All four of us loved the movie. Yes, we are also all admitted cat people, and the movie delivered cats, lots of cats. All of them feral cats, and like every cat, they have their various personalities, temperments and breeds. But Kedi cats of Istanbul is even more than that (as if that’s not enough!) it’s about how these cats and people interact, and how those relationships are mutually beneficial; those connections between people and cats profound. Our introduction to each of the cats also reveals a fascinating view of Istanbul itself as we visit numerous neighborhoods. The movie is beautifully shot and well edited – it was the right length (runtime). It’s sweet without being cloying, endearing without being cutsie. This is a wonderful experience for kids and adults alike who love cats and love being reminded about the universal compassion people have – for cats.

Kedi cats of Istanbul

still from Kedi cats of Istanbul

Kedi cats of Istanbul directed by Ceyda Torun, who said

I grew up in Istanbul and I believe my childhood was infinitely less lonesome than it would have been if it werenʼt for cats – and I wouldnʼt be the person I am today. They were my friends and confidants and I missed their presence in all the other cities I ever lived in. This film is, in many ways, a love letter to those cats and the city, both of which are changing in ways that are unpredictable.

read more Kedifilm.com

Miami Beach Cinemateque

Entrance to Miami Beach Cinemateque
photo by shari smith dunaif ©2017



The screening was at the fabulous Miami Beach Cinemateque, a wonderful small theater in South Beach

Miami Beach Cinematheque

Miami Beach Cinematheque
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2017

Kedi cats of Istanbul was released in US theaters Feb 10, 2017 Limited screenings
Runtime: 79 minutes
Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories










available to download Kedi cats of Istanbul

Hello Kitty store Taiwan Hello Kitty originated

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Hello Kitty in Taiwan

At the Hello Kitty store Taiwan (airport), Hello Kitty is big business. In fact, the popularity of Hello Kitty has become worldwide. Although Hello Kitty originated in London for the Japanese company Sanrio in 1974.

Hello Kitty store Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport

front of Hello Kitty store at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016

Hello Kitty is a gijinka, an anthropomorphism or personification of an animal –

white Japanese Bobtail ca

in this case a white Japanese Bobtail cat,





with a red bow.

Hello Kitty Travell sign Hello Kitty originated

Hello Kitty with red bow
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016


In 1962, Shintaro Tsuji, founder of Sanrio, began selling rubber sandals with flowers painted on them. He noted that by adding cute designs on the sandals, they sold even better, so he hired illustraters to design Kawaii (a Japanese marketing approach that permeates cuteness into Japanese consumer culture). Sanrio wanted to add to it’s early characters of a dog, a bear and a strawberry (???) for Sanrio’s new product: coin purses. The result was Hello Kitty, designed in 1974 by Yuko Shimizu.

Hello Kitty designer Yuko Shimizu

Yuko Shimizu, original designer of Hello Kitty.

Hello Kitty purses and coin purses, Taiwan Hello Kitty store photo by shari smith dunaif @2016

Hello Kitty’s first appearance on a product, was in Japan on the vinyl coin purse:  she was pictured sitting between a bottle of milk and a goldfish bowl.

She first appeared in the United States in 1976.

Felix the cat balloon: Macy’s Thanksgiving parade

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Felix the cat balloon!

The annual 2016 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City celebrates it’s 90th anniversary. This year brings back the Felix the cat balloon, which was the first giant balloon to be part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 1927.

flex the cat Macy's Thanksgiving parade 1927

Felix the cat 1927

Felix the cat

The first-ever Macy’s Day Parade actually took place on Christmas of 1924. Macy’s employees dressed as clowns, cowboys, and other fun costumes, and traveled with Central Park zoo animals and creative floats a lengthy six miles from Herald Square to Harlem in Manhattan.
The parade was meant to draw attention to the Macy’s store in NYC, and the gimmick worked – more than 250,000 people attended the inaugural Macy’s Day Parade.It was decided that this NYC parade would become an annual NY event in Manhattan.

Macy's Thanksgiving parade, 1927

Felix the cat balloon, Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade, 1927

In 1927, Felix the Cat became the first giant balloon to ever take part in the Macy’s Day Parade. In 1928, Felix was inflated with helium, and without a plan to deflate this massive balloon, NYC parade organizers simply let Felix fly off into the sky. Unfortunately, he popped soon thereafter.

from nyctourist.com

Felix the cat balloon replica of the original 1927 balloon, made for this year’s 2016 parade

Felix the cat balloon 2016

photo by shari smith dunaif ©2016

Felix the cat balloon face 2016

photo by shari smith dunaif ©2016









Happy Thanksgiving to all

Indonesian short tail cat

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short tail cat

I had never seen a cat with a tail like this before, until going to Indonesia. That’s where I saw this black Indonesian short tail cat.

Indonesia curly tail cat

Indonesian short tail cat
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2015

Bali temple cat

Cat in Bali temple photo by shari smith dunaif © 2015

Seems like most cats I’ve seen in Indonesia
were typically mottled






But this cat was all black, and her tail is short, stubby and the tip is curled.

Such a pretty, sweet cat.

img_0323 She looked quite healthy, which is not always the case with cats living in Indonesia. img_0307 She was very friendly and affectionate; and like many cats, she loved to be petted behind her ears.

Indonesia black cat

sweet Indonesia cat
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016

new Beatrix Potter Kitty-in-Boots tale

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new Kitty-in-Boots tale

Beatrix Potter’s unpublished manuscript was found two years ago by Jo Hanks, who works for the publishing company Penguin Random House, (Children’s department) London. The manuscript is a new Beatrix Potter Kitty-in-Boots tale.
Ms Hanks came across the story of Kitty-in-Boots by chance in 2013 after reading an out-of-print biography of Potter (which may have been Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature, by Linda Lear). It mentioned a letter Ms. Potter sent to her publisher in 1914, in which she described Kitty-in-Boots adventures, a tale about a “well-behaved prime black Kitty cat, who leads rather a double life” as a crime-fighter.

Kitty-in-Boots by Beatrix Potter

Kitty-in-Boots by Beatrix Potter

But the story was put aside because of various interruptions: the outbreak of World War I; her marriage; illness and a growing interest in farming — which resulted in an unfinished book.

Ms Hunt checked the archives of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and found three unedited manuscripts of the story, two in children’s school notebooks and one typed, along with a rough sketch of Kitty-in-Boots and the villainous fox Mr Tod. The tale includes Peter Rabbit, one of Potter’s most famous characters, and another Potter favourite, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.
“The tale really is the best of Beatrix Potter. It has double identities, colourful villains and a number of favourite characters from other tales – most excitingly, Peter Rabbit makes an appearance, albeit older, slower and portlier,” Ms Hanks told The Bookseller.

this is what kitty-in-boots looks like

this is what kitty-in-boots looks like

The Illustrations by Sir Quentin Blake. He was chosen because “he understands the rebelliousness of animal characters and doesn’t patronise children, which was one of Potter’s bugbears”, Ms Hunt said. Sir Blake also illustrated Roald Dahl’s children’s books.

Helen Mirren, British actress

Helen Mirren, British actress

The voice in the audiobook version by Dame Helen Mirren, her first audiobook recording. Scheduled release is September, 2016. The book publisher is Frederick Warne & Co, Potter’s original publisher (part of Penguin Random House Children’s). Expected release also in September, 2016. Both coincide with Beatrix’s Potter 150th anniversary of the year of her birth.

younger portrait Beatrix Potter
Born: July 28, 1866, Kensington, London, United Kingdom
Died: December 22, 1943, Near and Far Sawrey, United Kingdom



About Australian Mist cats

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About Australian Mist cats

Australian MIst cats are medium size, short haired cats. They were developed in the 1970’s by Australian Dr. Truda Straede. The breed is Australia’s first pedigree cat. The name was changed from “Spotted Mist” to “Australian Mist” in 1998, when cats with marbled coats, rather than spots, were accepted as part of the breed.

Dr. Truda Straede

Dr. Truda Straede with an early Australian spotted cat.

They sport six different beautiful misted color types: warm brown, chocolate, lilac, peach, gold or blue. Also, they can have either of two patterns, spotted or marbled.

spotted pattern Australian mist cat

spotted pattern on an Australian mist cat

marbled pattern Australian mist cat

marbled pattern on an Australian mist cat

Their coat is very short and lacks an undercoat, so they don’t require much brushing. Their fur has three aspects: the ground color, which is paler than the pattern; the pattern; and third, the appearance of wearing a misted veil, caused by random ticking in the solid color areas. The legs and tail are ringed or barred, and the face and neck also have colored  lines.

Burmese cat breed

Burmese cat


The Australian Mist was crossed with the loving personality of Burmese, which are typically 8-12 lbs,



Abyssinian breed cat

Abyssinian cat


with the intelligent Abyssinian, which have short-hair, and weigh 6-10 lbs. Abyssinians are known for having large ears.






Dr. Straede added the Australian domestic short-haired tabby, known for their vigor.
Domestic shorthair tabby







Australian Mists have a round head and large eyes. Australian mist cat eyes Their life expectancy is 15-18 years.





Dr. Trudeau Straede describes the standard appearance for Australian Mist cats


Australian Mists are tolerant of handling and are not inclined to scratch; they usually make wonderful indoor pets. Neutered/spayed Australian Mist cats fit in comfortably with dogs and other cats. As kittens they are lively, mellow when mature. Some Australian Mists can be trained to go for walks on a leash.


As a relatively new breed, most Australian Mist catteries are still in Australia; however, there are a few in the UK, and some neutered/spayed cats have been introduced to America and several other countries. Two pregnant queens arrived in the UK in February 2007. In August 2007, they, another unrelated queen, and an imported mature male stud boy, created a colony of over 100 cats within two years. Six more cats were imported to the UK from Australia, with the intent to widen the gene pool and offer healthy and genetically-sound kittens to pet buyers within the UK and the US. Breeding cats have been sent to Norway where two breeders are currently working to get them recognised by FIFE.

Australian mist cat winner

Breed status

The Australian Mist breed is accepted for championship status by the World Cat Federation. It gained preliminary recognition with the UK’s Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) in October 2011. They were accepted for championship status in TICA (The International Cat Association) In May, 2014. The Australian Mist celebrated 20 years as a championship breed in Australia in 2006.
They are easy to show, as they enjoy the attention. They frequently win Best in Show and Top 10 in Show awards and the breed has a number of Diamond Double Grand Champions and quite a few Nationally Titled Cats. In recent years they have won the coveted All Breeds Supreme in Show awards many times.


Australian Mist breed council

Australian Mist Cat Society




animal shelter nurse kitty

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Polish animal shelter nurse kitty

All animal shelters need all kinds of help, but how does a cat help an animal shelter? Meet Radamenes, the animal shelter nurse kitty.

When Radamenes, was brought to the animal shelter in Bydgoszcz, Poland, he had such a serious respiratory infection, the people who rescued him and brought him to the shelter didn’t expect him to survive.

Radamenes nurse kitty

Radamenes the nurse kitty

But when the vets heard him purr, they decided to save him

Vet with Radamenes the nurse kitty
When Radamenes miraculously got better, they were surprised to see him start hugging and cleaning other animals

kitty nurse at Polish animal shelter

Radamenes nursing at animal shelter

nursing cat at shelter

nurse cat could mores animal

He is especially attentive with animals that have had serious operationsnurse kitty with sick dog

The vets at the shelter jokingly say Radamenes is a full-time nurse, but to the rest of us cat lovers, he’s a special nurse kitty.

thanks Josie, Australia

Japan Society Life of Cats

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Japan Society Life of Cats

My Kitty Care visited The Japan Society Life of Cats. The Japan Society is located on 333 E 47th St, New York, NY 10017. Life of Cats was a wonderful exhibit with exquisite prints and paintings from Japan: art with cats, and about cats, in Japanese culture. The earliest dates to the Edo Period (1615-1867) and the most current is a lovely contemporary print from the 1930’s. It portrays cats historically in Japanese culture, ranging from funny, diabolic, and sweet to beautiful and touching. Cats remain integral to the Japanese.
My Kitty Care’s Japanese Hiraki Ukiyo-e Cat Prints is a video of the pieces in the exhibit, which is not only for cat lovers, but also art lovers and people interested in Japanese art and culture.

Japan Society Life of Cats 1845 print

detail from Housewife swats cat, 1845

My Kitty Care loved this show – why wouldn’t we? It is about cats, art, culture, beauty and fun. Enjoy this 6 mins. video Japanese Hiraki Ukiyo-e Cat Prints, Japan Society Life of Cats on my kitty care youtube channel.