Lepreau — Gabby the tabby is just like any other house cat that you’ve ever met — except for one pointed difference that sticks out like a sore thumb. The New Brunswick feline was born with a genetic abnormality that literally gives her a leg up on every other cat in history.
The kitten, belonging to retired couple Doug and Irene Patterson of Lepreau, was born with an opposable thumb on each front paw. While polydactyl cats are not that rare, their so-called “thumbs” are not opposable like Gabby’s extra digit. Now, as Gabby learns to use her gift of grasp, the mutation clearly has given her the upper hand in many situations.
“Oh yes, she is certainly a handful, so to speak,” laughed Irene Patterson uneasily. “We let her outside now and again, and she always brings us back little presents… like, dozens and dozens of them. She’s a killing machine, I guess. Ha ha.”
Gabby started life like many other young kittens — as a stray that was put up for adoption through the local chapter of CA-R-MA. The Pattersons brought her home when she was only 4 months old, which was about the same time that Gabby started to realize she had capabilities unlike other cats.
“Sometimes if she gets bored, she’ll pick something up like a coffee mug and throw it at us… just to see what happens,” confided Doug Patterson in a hushed tone. “I woke up the other morning and she was on my chest, trying to wrap her paws around my throat. Then, she purred and scampered away. It was really unsettling.”
“Last week, we were a bit slower than she liked feeding her and she opened the fridge and fed herself fresh fish I had planned for supper,” Irene said. “After she was full, she took her food dish and dropped it on Doug’s face while he was napping. I thought he was going to have a heart attack! He sleeps with one eye open now. Actually, he hasn’t had a good night’s sleep at all lately…”
“She’s mad at us now because we hid the catnip,” Doug whispered with a hollowed-out gaze. “She gets… crazy… when she’s on that. Oops, I better go scoop her litter, you don’t want to know what happens in there if I don’t. Trust me.”