Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Hemingway's 6-toed cats survive Hurricane Irma assault on Key West

As Irma heads toward Key West, Mariel Hemingway tries to save Papa's cats Hemingway house staff refuse to leave cats behind
Herman Weaver | 12 September, 2017, 03:56

"The cats are accustomed to our voices and our care", he explained of their desire to hunker down rather than truck the cats out of harm's way.

People from all over the world travel to visit the Key West home where Ernest Hemingway wrote a number of his best-known works, including the novel "To Have and Have Not" and the short-story classics "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" and "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber".

Happily, David Gonzales, the museum's curator, told MSNBC on Sunday that all 54 cats had successfully weathered the storm.

The author lived in the house for most of the 1930s - and today it contains a whopping 55 cats, all of which are descendants of the writer's own cats. "We love them, they love us. We all hung out together", Gonzales said. "It's a very comfortable place for the cats, very comfortable place for our employees". Those with the additional toe look a bit like they are wearing baseball gloves - or at least like they could handily swat you across the face. Most of the cats have six toes (instead of the normal five) on their front feet.

The six-toed trait is a genetic mutation that can appear in any breed of cat, which makes the felines appear as though they have a thumb.

Some of these famous felines have famous namesakes.Cats named Kim Novak, William Scott, and Gremlin, among others, are buried beneath marked headstones in the home's cat cemeteries in the garden.

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Part of the museum's burial grounds.

The cats, Gonzales said, seemed to sense the storm was coming.

But the Hemingway house has three generators, food and medical supplies. "Sometimes I think they're smarter than the human beings".

"We are not in a flood zone". "The home is constructed of 18-inch blocks of solid limestone", Gonzales said. "We answer to a higher authority, and we feel very confident the outcome for us is going to be very good".

A cat sleeps on a windowsill in the bathroom inside Ernest Hemingway's former house, now a museum.

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