Hemingway House resident cats avoid danger in the path of Hurricane ‘Ian’

In an article by People, Ernest Hemingway’s home and estate in Key West, Florida, avoided severe damage following the impact of Hurricane Ian.

Nobel prize-winning writer Ernest Hemingway was best known for his direct prose narration in his work, including The Old Man and the Sea. Before his death, Hemingway received a white six-toed cat named Snow White as a gift from a ship captain. 

Hemingway Cats

The writer, an avid fan of felines, especially polydactyl cats, gave many of these cats a home at his estate. Since his passing in 1961, his home and estate have been transformed into a museum and event space adored by locals and fans. 

According to the Hemingway House and Museum website,

“The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is home to approximately 60 polydactyl (six-toed) cats. Cats normally have five front toes and four back toes. About half of the cats at the museum have the physical polydactyl trait but they all carry the polydactyl gene in their DNA, which means that the ones that have 4 and 5 toes can still mother or father six-toed kittens…Sometimes it looks as if they are wearing mittens because they appear to have a thumb on their paw.”

The polydactyl trait can appear in any breed, from black and white to Calico and Tabbies. Some of the felines on the museum grounds are descendants of the original, Snow White. 

Ernest Hemingway Estate home
Ernest Hemingway Estate in Key West, Florida. Pic Credit: Hemingway Home/Website

In the tradition of Ernest Hemingway, he named all the cats after famous people. And regarding the well-being of the cats, the Hemingway Home and Museum website states, 

“Routine procedures such as ear mite treatment, flea spraying, and worming are performed here at the museum by our Veterinarian. They also administer annual vaccinations, and performs routine animal health maintenance.” 

Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian barreled towards the state of Florida in the United States on September 28th. As a category four hurricane, it devastated much of the coast of Florida with record-breaking storm surges, flooding, power outages, and damage. 

The storm left many buildings, businesses, and family residences destroyed in its path. 

Feline favor

Fortunately for the staff and resident cats at the Hemingway estate, hurricane Ian only caused minor damage. All of the cats that live on the grounds are safe and sound. 

The historical landmark property was spared from hurricane Ian’s wrath. Pre-planned preparation also helped keep the cats safely sheltered on the property. 

Now the estate is working on cleanup on the property, including clearing away debris. The historical estate and museum are due to re-open to the public this week.

You can learn more about Hemingway House and Museum and the resident cats by visiting to the website. You can also follow the cats on their Instagram page.

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