The Life and Times of Pork Chop: Pork Chop's Origin Story, Part 9

[Read "Pork Chop's Origin Story, Part 1," "Pork Chop's Origin Story, Part 2," "Pork Chop's Origin Story, Part 3," "Pork Chop's Origin Story, Part 4," "Pork Chop's Origin Story, Part 5," and "Pork Chop's Origin Story, Part 6," "Pork Chop's Origin Story, Part 7," and "Pork Chop's Origin Story, Part 8."]

Too Doped Up
June 10, 2003

I woke up at 4:00 a.m. this morning for no particular reason, tossed and turned for an hour, reread a couple chapters of Cats for Dummies, tossed and turned some more, and then gave in by getting up at 6 a.m., which is entirely too early for a delicate butterfly such as myself. I decided to play with Pork Chop, who was finally introduced to his new home yesterday. I was afraid he’d be too doped up from the neutering surgery and too traumatized from being separated from his brother (still up for adoption at the Pasadena SPCA) to do much of anything yesterday. But he adjusted to his new environment instantly, playing rambunctiously and eating heartily. Thank Jesus Christ (and every holy person that ever existed, including James Dean) that Pork Chop took an immediately liking to the $85 36-inch deluxe cat tree that we bought him. The top perch is his favorite sleeping spot. He likes most of his toys too, especially ones with feathers, though he’s taken serious interest in a white paper bag. Loren enjoys blowing bubbles infused with catnip, and Pork Chop enjoys popping the bubbles. But if I had to bet, I believe Loren enjoys it more and wishes the roles were reversed.

Pork Chop is a polydactyl cat, meaning he has extra toes. Cats normally have five toes on the front paws and four on the back. Pork Chop has five toes on each of his hind paws. Some history that I lifted off the Internet, care of

Polydactyl cats are known by various names—‘mitten cats,’ ‘thumb cats,’ ‘six-finger cats,’ and ‘Hemingway cats.’ The latter is because of writer Ernest Hemingway, who made his home on the small island of Key West, Florida. He shared the island with nearly 50 cats, including a six-toed polydactyl given to him by a ship captain; the cats bred and the polydactyl trait became common. Hemingway’s colony of cats was free-breeding with the local cat population, and the ratio of polydactyl cats to normal-toed cats was about 50-50. Another story suggests that the cat given to Hemingway was a female double-pawed cat and that the polydactyl cats on the island came from 19th century ships. The high rate of polydactyl cats in Boston has also led to the nickname ‘Boston Thumb Cats.’ The nickname ‘double-pawed’ cats is a misnomer since there is a specific double paw condition. Polydactyly itself is also known as hyperdactyly or supernumary digits and occurs in many animals (including humans) as a spontaneous mutation or hereditary trait.

Our cat is a mutant! He belongs with the X-Men!


  1. is his vet factoring in all the weight from those extra toes?

    adjusted weight: 19.3875 pounds!

  2. WHAT IF my cat was your cat's father?