AN excited new pet owner had a surprise when she got her kitten home.

Lucy Moir decided to get a furry friend during the coronavirus lockdown for some extra company and a friend’s cat had just had a litter.

The 21-year-old student from Lewes Road, Brighton, said: “We had a socially distant handover a couple of weeks ago.

“But when my boyfriend George and I got home we were looking at our kitten’s paws and we thought, ‘hold on a second – that’s a lot of toes’.”

Lucy and George did some research and found out their kitten has the congenital condition polydactyly.

The Argus: Mozart the kittenMozart the kitten

Cats typically have 18 digits in total, with five toes on each fore paw and four toes on each hind paw.

But Lucy and George’s little kitten, who they named Mozart, has 24 digits in

total with extra toes on every paw.

On his front paws the extra toe has formed in the centre of the pad, pushing his outer toes out so they resemble thumbs.

Lucy, who studies English literature at the University of Brighton, said: “Apparently it’s very rare to have this condition on every paw.

“Polydactyly cats are associated with good luck and are sometimes referred to as Hemingway Cats, as apparently Ernest Hemingway had a white one which he loved, and was given from a captain on a ship.

“These cats were popular on ships as they were so much better at catching mice with their extra toes.”

The Argus: "He's just so friendly""He's just so friendly"

Although Mozart has not caught any mice so far, his extra dexterity has allowed him to get up to more mischief.

Lucy said: “He can grab and really twist door handles.

“We named him Mozart because of the toes – he hasn’t taken up the piano yet but he’s still young.

“He looks a bit odd but I think it makes him sweeter.

“It’s been a joy having him around during this time –he’s like a little emotional support and he’s so friendly.”