When Milwaukee Animal Rescue learned its rent would double, the news nearly spelled disaster for this nonprofit in Greendale, Wis. Soon, however, an unclaimed pet that the shelter had saved from being euthanized stepped in to perform a rescue of his own.
Daniel, an orange-and-white striped, mixed breed cat, has a physical feature so unique that he came to symbolize the special companionship that rescued animals can offer -- and it helped raise thousands of dollars for the shelter he calls home. Daniel has 26 toes instead of the 18 that most cats sport. The two extra digits on each paw are a genetic mutation known as polydactylism.
Although Daniel doesn't have enough toes to claw his way into the record books (the world record–holding cat has 28 toes), he has caught plenty of $26 donations from admirers. Within six weeks of adopting Daniel in October 2011, the Milwaukee Animal Rescue received a total of $80,000 in public contributions, enough to consider purchasing a building to house, in part, its permanent 26-toed mascot: Daniel [source: Antlfinger].