Hemingway's house, cats survive Hurricane Irma - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

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.

  • Stories to make you happyMore>>

  • Eric: Warmer this weekend; widespread rain Monday

    Eric: Warmer this weekend; widespread rain Monday

    Saturday, January 20 2018 12:10 AM EST2018-01-20 05:10:58 GMT

    Despite the chilly and cloudy start, Saturday will be a very nice afternoon by January standards with highs back above average in the middle 50s.

    Despite the chilly and cloudy start, Saturday will be a very nice afternoon by January standards with highs back above average in the middle 50s.

  • Las Vegas shooting survivors to get free wedding

    Las Vegas shooting survivors to get free wedding

    Friday, January 19 2018 11:19 AM EST2018-01-19 16:19:45 GMT
    Friday, January 19 2018 12:00 PM EST2018-01-19 17:00:12 GMT

    The Fairy Godmother Foundation in Bakersfield, CA, announced it will foot the bill. For Jordanne Barr and Jordan Adamczyk, it was love at first sight.

    The Fairy Godmother Foundation in Bakersfield, CA, announced it will foot the bill. For Jordanne Barr and Jordan Adamczyk, it was love at first sight.

  • NJ boy calls TV station to find kidney for dad

    NJ boy calls TV station to find kidney for dad

    Thursday, January 18 2018 4:48 PM EST2018-01-18 21:48:39 GMT
    Thursday, January 18 2018 4:48 PM EST2018-01-18 21:48:39 GMT

    Pete Recchia has end-stage renal disease. Basically, he was born with one kidney and it's failing. He's been on a transplant list for two-years and been going to dialysis in Livingston for just as long, three times a week, four hours at a time. All along, a little boy has been watching.

    Pete Recchia has end-stage renal disease. Basically, he was born with one kidney and it's failing. He's been on a transplant list for two-years and been going to dialysis in Livingston for just as long, three times a week, four hours at a time. All along, a little boy has been watching.

Powered by Frankly