It has been reported historically that more the 40% of the Maine Coon breed have had some sort of Polydactyl trait, for as far back as more than 400 years.
A natural anomalie, more common in human development, Polydactyl dominate gene in Maine Coons is a simple autosomal, meaning not linked to a dominate gene. The Pd gene is a harmless genetic trait that is not to be associated with other anomalies. This means you must have a Polydactyl Parent to have a polydactyl kitten.
There are no documented ill effects of the polydactyl gene in the Maine Coon cat. The Poly foot can appear on as little as the 2 front feet, or as much as all 4 feet. We have even seen some 3 poly feet cats. Many scientific research data collected has suggested that the Polydactyl Maine Coon is a more preferred trait in the working breed for health and vigor. These oversized paws were better able to walk on the heavy winter snows with out sinking in as easily, as well as to catch fish and hunt better. Bigger paws for catching prey. Maine Coons themselves were considered to have started in the state of Maine, USA. This breed then found its way across the US and even over seas. Assumed to have originally traveled with fisherman by boat, these cats have made there way all around the world.
Although currently treated as a fault by breeding standard. Early documentation as far back as 1969, in the show arena, has proven that the original breeders who accepted this polydactyl trait in the Maine Coons, clearly intended to implement this trait as a standard acceptance for the breed. Many straight toed Maine Coons have a polydactyl member of their genetic lines in their pedigrees, and breeding these polydactyl cats is still fully accepted and recognized as pure bred world wide. They can be registered with any official Cat association. Unfortunately as of current, these will not be able to become champions themselves, many breeders are working diligently to not only change this show disqualification as well as to continue the "Poly Coon" lines. When looking over a Pedigree, you can see all the "Poly Coon's" in the pedigree because they will have a P. somewhere in the name.
Unfortunately, some people are naive to this trait and believe it to be a severe deformity. Leaving a lot of room for discussion for and against the Polydactyl's continued trait. But, as we go back to all the scientific studies as well as the historical documentation, it is completely supportive of the harmlessness of the genetic production of extra toes.
In recent years there have been many groups and organizations that have come together to help support these wonderfully unique extra toed felines. We, ourselves belong to many of these groups, and believe the trait should be carried on. It is our goal to be as selective as possible in the healthiest and the best of standard of the Maine Coons and to ensure nice, well bred Poly Coons for years to come!