Shanghai may have record number of toes

Melissa McRobbie
Sunday September 29, 2002

A local cat owner says her kitty with 29 toes surely beats a many-toed Maine cat for a spot in the Guinness Book of Records. 

Berkeley’s very own Shanghai, a stubby-tailed Manx-Siamese mix, appears to outshine the 28-toed Mooch who recently made national headlines for possibly having the most toes. 

Owner Marca Lamore says the first thing guests say when they take a look at Shanghai is, “What’s wrong with his feet?” 

Cats like Shanghai and Mooch are born with a hereditary condition called polydacty, Latin for “many toes.” Most polydactyl cats are born with extra toes on their front paws only. But Shanghai has extra toes on all four paws. Exactly many toes the cat has on each paw is a little tough to judge. Toes on polydactyl cats like Shanghai are often fused together, or only partially developed, and thus tough to count. 

Shanghai was found as a kitten at a harbor in Crescent City, near the Oregon border. Suffering from an eye infection and respiratory illness, he soon recovered under Lamore’s care.  

“When he first came here, he fit in my hand,” she said. Now three years old, Shanghai seems well adjusted and plays amiably with Lamore’s three other cats. 

The owners of 28-toe Mooch have sent documentation about the cat’s toes to the Guinness Book and are waiting to hear back. 

“Mooch is nervous [about the decision],” said owner Becky Duval. 

DuVal said he heard on the radio about the world record for most toes on a cat, currently held by Paddles, a black cat in Ennismore, Ontario, who has 27. 

Asked whether Lamore will write Guinness, she replied “I will definitely consider it. Why not?”