Yellow tabby polydactyl on Capri needs a home

Ann Hall

Rory is the name given to a 5 year old classic orange tabby male “Hemingway” cat that is in search of a new home.

Officially he is called a polydactyl because he has 21 toes, multiple toes on all four paws.

“He is the most gentle and easy going boy and likes all other animals and people,” said Jan Rich, co-owner of the no-kill shelter For the Love of Cats who is housing this young cat until finding him a forever home.

Rory’s ended up in the Rich’s shelter after a series of unhappy events.

The cat’s owner passed away. A niece who lives on the Isles of Capri took the young cat in. Things did not go well for Rory as the niece’s boyfriend with whom she lives has two large dogs. The cat was forced to live as an “outside” cat. Next, the couple rescued a calico kitten, and at that point, the orange tabby decided to look elsewhere for a home. He ended up on the doorstep of neighbor a few houses away on the same street. The neighbor just happened to be the mother of Jim Rich (co-owner of For the Love of Cats shelter.) Does this tell you something about the keen instinct this special little kitty has?

Jim Rich spoke with the owner after finding the cat. The owner asked Jim if he would find the cat a new home since they could not keep him as an indoor cat because of the dogs.

“Not many people know that letting your cat out loose to roam the neighborhood is against Collier County ordinances,” said Jan Rich. “If a cat wanders onto county property, Fish and Wildlife can shoot it on site as an invasive species (Florida Policy).”

(For specific information regarding this policy, visit and review pdf 318KB.)

The Richs were also concerned about other safety issues for the young male feline.

“As you know, Isles of Capri has bands of marauding coyotes that come through. Cat meat is a real treat for a coyote, and they will stalk a cat for days to kill it. Of course, traffic is another real hazard, especially during season. If a cat is picked up and turned into the county shelter it has a slim chance of survival in that the Domestic Animal Services has just a 4 percent return rate for found cats. So, letting your cat out to roam the neighborhood is really a death sentence especially if the cat is not microchipped,” said Jan Rich.

“Rory is such a love, and adores being an indoor kitty. He is gentle, loves belly and chin rubs. He is very good with dogs as well. He is neutered, tested, treated, and up to date on all his vaccinations. He has also been microchipped. Rory is about 5 years old. He is not aggressive at all with other cats and is such a sweet boy,” she said.

For those who do not know, Hemingway was the name given to a white six-toed cat owned by the famous Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway given to him by his ship captain. Hemingway became a famous aficionado of polydactyl cats. According to information on the Hemingway House website, upon Hemingway's death in 1961, his former home in Key West, Florida, became a museum and a home for his cats. Currently it houses approximately 50 descendants of his cats (about half of which are polydactyl). Because of his love for these animals, polydactyl cats are sometimes referred to as "Hemingway Cats."

Wikipedia describes a polydactyl cat as one with a congenital physical anomaly called polydactyly (or polydactylism, also known as hyperdactyly that causes the cat to be born with more than the usual number of toes on one or more of its paws. One of the polydactyl cats at the Ernest Hemingway House in Key West, Florida has 26 toes. Normally cats have a total of 18 toes, with five toes on each front paw and four toes on each hind paw. A polydactyl cat may have as many as eight digits on any of their paws. A Canadian polydactyl cat with 28 toes was recognized by Guinness World Records as having the highest number of toes on a cat.

For The Love of Cats has been a no-kill rescue on Marco Island since 2002. Jim and Jan Rich started it voluntarily at first in a part of their home.

It remains an all-volunteer organization with “100 percent of the funds donated going directly to take care of the kitties,” said Jan Rich. “All of our cats and kittens are socialized, nurtured, and ready for their new forever home. We are dedicated to saving the lives of cats and kittens and assisting our community. We operate through the generous donations of our community supporters and caring volunteers and to date have saved the lives of over 5,000 cats and kittens.”

Rory’s adoption fee is $55 through For the Love of Cats. Contact or call 239-642-8674.

Contact Ann Hall at

For The Love of Cats provides the following services:

• Rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home abandoned cats and kittens

• Trap, neuter, release and care for feral cats

• A community outreach program for people and cats in need

• Determined to end the cruelty of pet over-population