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24th June 2019

Two young kittens with an extremely rare suspected genetic condition that were found in a burnt out car are being hand reared at Cats Protection’s Gildersome Homing Centre.

Two kittens with SyndactylismBert and Ernie both have Syndactylism where two or more toes are fused.

The condition is different to the more frequently seen polydactyly - where a cat can have extra toes on their paws.

A normal cat has four toes on each foot and on the front feet they also have a dewclaw - which is a little higher up on the leg.

“Although very rare, complex Syndactylism – the form which tends to be seenin cats - appears to cause minimal to no discomfort so treatment is generally not recommended,” said Jennifer MacVicar, Cats Protection’s Central Veterinary Officer

“The condition is unlikely to cause problems but Bert and Ernie will need to be monitored as they grow for any sign of lameness. Syndactylism is potentially inherited and could be passed on to their offspring so, like all the cats in our care, Bert and Ernie will be neutered when they reach four months.”

The kittens were believed to be under two weeks old when they were found in Wakefield in mid-May.

There was no sign of their mother when they were discovered so the charity believes it’s possible she may have rejected them.

“We weren’t sure Bert and Ernie were going to make it but they’re growing into two lively boys,” said Rob Wilkinson, Cats Protection’s Gildersome Centre Manager. “All the staff have taken it in turns to hand rear and they’re now being looked after in a volunteer’s home. They both seem perfectly happy and mobile.”

Bert and Ernie will be monitored by the charity’s vets until they are ready to find a new home.

Cats Protection’s Gildersome Homing Centre is part of a national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 36 centres that help around 200,000 cats and kittens each year.

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For further information or an interview, please contact Cats Protection’s Media Office on 01825 741 911, at media.office@cats.org.uk, or @CPMediaTeam on Twitter.

Notes to Editors:

 
  1. Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity, helping around 200,000 cats each year through its national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 36 centres.
  2. Cats Protection’s vision is a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs.
  3. Cats Protection’s registered charity number is 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland). Founded as the Cats Protection League in 1927, the charity adopted the name Cats Protection in 1998. We ask that you use the name Cats Protection when referring to the charity in all published material.
  4. More information about the work of Cats Protection can be found at www.cats.org.uk
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