Tag Archives: cat

Hemingway’s Weirdo Six-Toed Cats

24 Jul

“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”
~ Ernest Hemingway

 

I’ve known for a long time that Ernest Hemingway liked cats. A lot. Key West is said to be overrun with cats because of him, which is probably a bit of an exaggeration.

But here’s a weird fact I just found out: About half of the cats that hang out at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, Florida, have six toes! Normal cats have five toes in the front and four in the back, but not Hemingway’s cats. Hemingway’s cats have six toes.

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum explains why there are about 50 extra-toed cats running around:

Ernest Hemingway was given a white six-toed cat by a ship’s captain and some of the cats who live on the museum grounds are descendants of that original cat, named Snowball. Key West is a small island and it is possible that many of the cats on the island are related.

Six-toed cats are called polydactyl cats, but today many people use the term Hemingway cat as a stand in. You can read more about polydactyls and the history of the author’s cats here.

Other famous literary cat lovers include Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs.

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Cat Hitchhikes for 10 Months

25 Jun

Hipsters love cats. But apparently cats don’t love the hipsterfied city of PDX.

A cat by the name of Mata Hairi hitchhiked its way out of Portland, Oregon, in September after her owner, Ron Buss, let him out. Michael King, a homeless man, found Mata Hairi and rescued her, taking the cat on his hitchhiking travels to California and Montana. Mata Hairi would ride on top of his rucksack.

As soon as he was able to take her to the vet and a microchip revealed her owner, King was able to get in touch with Buss about Mata Hairi’s safe return.

I don’t know about you, but I’d love to see Mata Hairi get her own meme, a la LOLCats and Grumpy Cats.

You know who loved hitchhiking and cats? Jack Kerouac. Jerry Bauer took this photograph around 1965.

Here’s another photograph of Kerouac with a cat, plus a 1959 poem about his cat.