Hemingway's house, cats survive Hurricane Irma - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Hemingway's house, cats survive Hurricane Irma

One of the famous polydactyl cats at the Hemingway House in Key West. (Source: CNN) One of the famous polydactyl cats at the Hemingway House in Key West. (Source: CNN)

(RNN) - Among the cutest and most vulnerable residents in Hurricane Irma's path were the dozens of cats that make their home at novelist Ernest Hemingway's former residence in Key West, and they've been reported safe.

The cats and staff of the Hemingway House sheltered inside the historic home on Key West, which was expected to get the maximum brunt of Irma's wind, despite repeated warnings from meteorologists, government officials and Hemingway's granddaughter Mariel.

But Dave Gonzales, the curator of the museum, stayed put with the cats and reported to MSNBC on Sunday night that the home, staff and all 54 cats survived.

"The cats seemed to be more aware sooner of the storm coming in," Gonzales said. "In fact, when we started to round up the cats and take them inside, some of them actually ran inside knowing it was time to take shelter. Sometimes I think they're smarter than the human beings."

The home was built in 1851 of 18-inch thick limestone blocks, which Gonzales citing as making it a safe place to shelter during a hurricane. Hemingway lived in the home from 1931 and owned it until his death in 1961.

Irma made landfall as a Category 4 storm at Cudjoe Key, about 20 miles east of Key West, sparing it of the most intense winds. The storm surge was also smaller than expected.

The island, however, suffered significant damage. Gonzales said there is no electricity, running water or internet service due to the storm. He said three generators are running to provide power to the historic site.

The cats are a famous attraction at the home due to a genetic abnormality called polydactyly that gives them six toes. Some of the cats are said to be direct descendants of Hemingway's own six-toed cat, Snow White.

Copyright 2017 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • National, world weatherWeather and disaster coverageMore>>

  • Britain on heatwave alert as rare hot spell continues

    Britain on heatwave alert as rare hot spell continues

    Monday, July 23 2018 11:45 AM EDT2018-07-23 15:45:49 GMT
    Monday, July 23 2018 11:48 AM EDT2018-07-23 15:48:34 GMT
    (Kirsty O'Connor/PA via AP). Mother and children shelter from the sun at St James's Park in London, as the hot weather continues across the country, Monday July 23, 2018. A public health warning has been issued for parts of England this week parts of t...(Kirsty O'Connor/PA via AP). Mother and children shelter from the sun at St James's Park in London, as the hot weather continues across the country, Monday July 23, 2018. A public health warning has been issued for parts of England this week parts of t...
    Britain is experiencing a severe heatwave which has prompted its national weather service to issue an alert for people to 'stay out of the sun'.More >>
    Britain is experiencing a severe heatwave which has prompted its national weather service to issue an alert for people to 'stay out of the sun'.More >>
  • Drought forces emergency measures for US West's wild horses

    Drought forces emergency measures for US West's wild horses

    Monday, July 23 2018 1:16 AM EDT2018-07-23 05:16:47 GMT
    Monday, July 23 2018 11:47 AM EDT2018-07-23 15:47:41 GMT
    (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer). In this June 29, 2018 photo, wild horses walk to a watering hole outside Salt Lake City. Harsh drought conditions in parts of the American West are pushing wild horses to the brink and forcing extreme measures to protect them. F...(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer). In this June 29, 2018 photo, wild horses walk to a watering hole outside Salt Lake City. Harsh drought conditions in parts of the American West are pushing wild horses to the brink and forcing extreme measures to protect them. F...
    Harsh drought conditions in parts of the American West are pushing wild horses to the brink and forcing extreme measures to protect them.More >>
    Harsh drought conditions in parts of the American West are pushing wild horses to the brink and forcing extreme measures to protect them.More >>
  • Record high in Japan as heat wave grips the region

    Record high in Japan as heat wave grips the region

    Monday, July 23 2018 2:10 AM EDT2018-07-23 06:10:07 GMT
    Monday, July 23 2018 11:47 AM EDT2018-07-23 15:47:17 GMT
    (Jun Hirata/Kyodo News via AP). In this July 20, 2018, photo,  people make their way in scorching heat near Tokyo station in Tokyo.  Searing hot temperatures are forecast for wide swaths of Japan and South Korea in a long-running heat wave. The mercury...(Jun Hirata/Kyodo News via AP). In this July 20, 2018, photo, people make their way in scorching heat near Tokyo station in Tokyo. Searing hot temperatures are forecast for wide swaths of Japan and South Korea in a long-running heat wave. The mercury...
    Searing hot temperatures are forecast for wide swaths of Japan and South Korea in a long-running heat wave that has killed at least two dozen people.More >>
    Searing hot temperatures are forecast for wide swaths of Japan and South Korea in a long-running heat wave that has killed at least two dozen people.More >>
Powered by Frankly