Thursday, August 25, 2011

Winged Cats - They really do exist... Sort of....

You may think that winged cats are mythical creatures found in fairy tales or in the minds of artists. Would you believe that some domestic cats do have what appear to be wings? It is said that the earliest report of a winged cat came from Henry David Thoreau in 1842. Thoreau said that a neighbor, Mrs. Gillian Baker, reportedly had the cat and that every spring the wings would fall off. Thoreau was even given a pair of wings, but noted that there was no membrane about them like you would find in a flying squirrel. This observation by Thoreau supports one of three causes of winged like appendages on cats.

1. Matted Fur - Every cat lover knows that when the weather begins to get warmer that cats shed. Matted fur can cause what appears to be wings on a cat. Thoreau, when speaking about what he witnessed, did say that the wings fell off in spring and there was only fur, no membrane.

2. Conjoining or extra limbs - Extra limbs, caused by an egg not separating correctly during gestation,  may appear as protrusions with fur and may resemble wings. These wings may move, but more typically than not, they are non-functioning.

3.Feline Cutaneous Asthenia (FCA) - This skin condition is related to the human condition Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome or elastic skin. Cats with FCA will have protrusions on the shoulders or back and they can actually move the "wings" due to neuromuscular tissue within the wings.

The next question you may be asking is, "Can cats with FCA actually fly?". The answer is no.

For more information visit Wikipedia's Winged Cats

1 comment:

  1. Too bad there isn't a "cute" option for articles like this. I've head people call their cats little angels...I guess some of those cats look like them, too! :-P