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Rescued New York cat has 24 toes

Tuesday March 3rd 2015

A ginger tabby is thriving in old age thanks in part to her oversized paws.

Natasha, who lives in Dorset with her owner Shirley Belwood, has a rare condition that means her feet are bigger than the average feline.

She has 24 toes - half a dozen more than most cats - seven on both front paws and five on her hind legs.

The 19-year-old emigrated to Wimborne in Dorset from New York around 10 years ago with Ms Belwood, who adopted the cat after she had spent the best part of a year fending for herself on the Upper West Side in the Big Apple.

Natasha is known as a Hemingway cat after author Ernest Hemingway. The American writer became a fan of the moggies, which have super-sized feet and average-sized bodies, after being given a six-toed cat by a ship's captain.

Descendants of Hemingway's cat - Snowball - still roam his former home in Florida, which is now a museum in his honour.

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Copyright Press Association 2015