According to seafaring lore, polydactyl cats bring good luck to sailors and their ships. Skatty, a young cat in Auckland, New Zealand, is out to prove that legend true. The polydactyl kitty regularly sets sail with his owner, Paul. J. Thompson, aboard La Chica, the 32-foot craft Thompson built himself.
Thompson is deaf, and although he doesn’t that get in the way of his love for sailing, the surroundings can get dangerous when you can’t hear the motors of other boats or the sound of waves. As Adventure Cats reports, Skatty serves as Thompson’s navigator aboard La Chica, alerting him when other boats are approaching. The cat, whose name means “my darling” in Afrikaans, also helped Thompson earn the distinction of becoming the first deaf person to sail across the Southern Atlantic Ocean alone — except for his trusty feline first mate, of course.
According to the Huffington Post, Maine Coon cats such as Skatty are especially prone to the genetic anomaly that causes polydactylism. While most cats have 18 toes, polydactyls have extra digits that give them larger paws.
This distinction helps polydactyl sea cats maintain stability aboard boats. Some cats also have oversized dew claws that resemble thumbs. Sailors claim that the extra toes make polydactyl cats highly efficient mouse catchers. Like most Maine Coon cats, Skatty is very comfortable around water. On one occasion, Skatty accidentally fell overboard, but he was quickly rescued by his devoted owner. Although the feline can swim, Skatty wears a life vest for added security in turbulent conditions.
Love Meow reports that on dry land, Skatty alerts his owner to incoming text messages by placing a paw on the phone. He also lets Thompson know when visitors ring the doorbell. In addition, Skatty visits patients in hospice care, where he brings a welcome dose of cheer to sick and elderly patients. Skatty is an indispensable shipboard companion, providing affection and practical assistance to his owner as they sail the high seas. Without the alert feline to serve as his ears, Thompson would face additional dangers while sailing. Ready to learn about another cute kitty? This adorable polydactyl has a finger in every pot she stirs.
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