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petnews December 9th, 2002 03:22 PM

28-Toed cat is candidate for record book
28-Toed cat is candidate for record book

OAKLAND, Maine (AP) — Visitors who manage to catch a glimpse of Mooch DuVal before the skittish cat dashes off are stunned when they see his toes.

"Usually, their first remark is, ‘Oh, my God, look at that cat’s feet — what’s wrong with him?"’ Becky DuVal told the Morning Sentinel of Waterville.

Some call Mooch a freak of nature, according to her husband, Bob DuVal.

The DuVals say their large, yellow feline’s 28 toes are the most of any cat in the world. They have submitted evidence they hope will earn Mooch a listing in the Guinness Book of Records.

The current record is held by Paddles, a black cat in Ennismore, Ontario, who has 27 toes.

"Mooch has 28 claws," Becky DuVal said Friday. "He has 28 pads, but two of the pads are partially fused."

At the couple’s home on East Pond, a nervous Mooch padded defensively across the kitchen floor, avoiding visitors and especially the clicking camera.

"He’s always been skittish," Bob DuVal explained as Mooch struggled to get out of his wife’s lap. "This is your 15 minutes — suck it up."

DuVal said he was listening to radio personality Paul Harvey last week and heard about the world record for most toes on a cat. He immediately called his wife at work and they decided to write to Guinness officials in London.

"Thank you for your letter regarding your intention to break the record for ‘Cat with the most toes,"’ Guinness’ Amanda Sprague responded by e-mail.

The DuVals’ veterinarian, Jason MacArthur, provided confirmation to Guinness, saying he examined Mooch and the cat has seven claws on each foot, totaling 28 claws.

"The third and fourth pad on his right hind foot are partially fused, totaling 27 completely separate pads," the letter states.

Mooch’s feet give him a big advantage when he and his smaller brother, Spanky, play in the snow during winter. While Spanky struggles and winds up knee-deep, Mooch is able to walk on top of the snow.

"They’re good snowshoes," Bob DuVal said of the big cat’s feet.

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