In this Nov. 17, 2011, photo is Daniel, a cat with two extra toes on each of his feet, in Milwaukee. Its a genetic mutation called polydactylism and even though its two toes shy of a Guinness World Records number, its helping Milwaukee shelter officials raise money to buy a new home after they learned their rent was being doubled. (AP Photo/Carrie Antlfinger)
Updated: January 13, 2012 8:14AM
GREENDALE, Wis. — In a reversal of fortunes, a once-unwanted cat has come to the rescue of an animal shelter in need of a new home.
However, this orange-and-white tabby named Daniel is no typical cat. He has a near-record 26 toes, a phenomenon that is helping the nonprofit Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center raise money to relocate to a new building.
Normal cats have 18 toes, but Daniel has two extra on each foot due to a genetic mutation called polydactylism.
Officials at the center found out their rent at a Milwaukee-area mall was being doubled on Jan. 1. So, the shelter is buying a new building and is seeking small donations of $26 — or $1 per toe.
They’ve collected enough so far to secure the financing with about $80,000 raised since Oct. 24, but they hope to raise $120,000 by Dec. 23 so they can become even more financially stable. About $50,000 of the money raised has come from $26 donations.
“I’ve always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and this is definitely the case,” said Amy Rowell, owner of Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center in Greendale.
Daniel’s 26 toes — two shy of the Guinness World Records number— don’t seem to affect his cat activities.
“He runs and he plays and he climbs, he uses a scratching post. He seems to be not bothered by it at all,” Rowell said.