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History Lesson: Hemingway and His Famous 6-Toed Cats on Key West

If you are dreaming of a luxury vacation away from it all – the Florida Keys are a popular destination any time of the year. The exclusive and eclectic Florida island chain offers a great escape with so many unique things to see and do no matter when you vacation in the Keys.

 

One unique way to spend the day in the Florida Keys is to visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. In addition to the amazing homesite of the popular writer; is the interesting story of Hemingway’s six-toed cats and why they still live on the property in Key West today.

 

These six-toed cats are called polydactyl. Typically, cats have five front toes and four back toes, so these six-toed cats are incredibly unique. The polydactyl cats are not a special breed at all, and the trait can appear in any breed of cat including Calicos, Tabbies, Siamese, etc. and in any color from tortoise shell to white.

 

Hemingway was given a white polydactyl cat many years ago by the captain of a ship. His cat Snow White was the first six-toed cat to live on the property in Key West. Today, the Ernest Hemingway Museum is home to approximately 50 six-toed cats, with many of them being direct descendants of Snow White that are well cared for by the museum, where they even have their own veterinarian.

 

About half of the cats that live at the museum today have the physical polydactyl trait, but they all carry the polydactyl DNA gene, which means all of them can mother or father six-toed kittens.

 

Hemingway loved Snow White and the other six-toed cats that called his home their own. In fact, the writer named all of his cats after famous people,  so the tradition is still followed today at the home and museum on Whitehead Street in beautiful Key West, and the cats all learn and respond to their names, when called by their favorite caretakers.

 

Explore the Historic Sites During Your Key West Vacation

 

Be sure to visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum during your vacation in the Florida Keys! KeysCaribbean offers luxury vacation rentals for your Key West, Florida getaway. From waterfront bungalows and seaside villas to luxury private homes – KeysCaribbean is the key to the Florida Keys vacation rental of your dreams.

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