Daddy's Christmas Angel

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Six-toed Cats

While in Key West, a writer must visit the home of author Ernest Hemingway. Whether you loved him or hated him, Key West is rampant with relics and memories of the renowned and unforgettable Nobel-prize-winning author.

Amy and Pablo Picasso
Note the extra toe
And you must meet the six-toed cats (polydactyl) that are descendants of the first Hemingway cat, Snowball. Our daughter, Amy, is a real cat person who was thrilled to see all the cats on the property. There were little cat houses everywhere. All the cats have names, and Amy was especially taken with Pablo Picasso who was very people friendly. Gertrude Stein, Audrey Hepburn, Joan Crawford, Spencer Tracy, and Charlie Chapman were among the other cats lounging about in the lush foliage and on patio bricks. The cats are well-taken care of with a wire fence placed above the brick wall to keep them in and intruders out.

Picasso Painting
The studio where Hemingway wrote many of his famous novels is located behind the house. At one time a cat walk connected the two buildings so that the author could walk from his bedroom to his studio without going up or down any of the stairs. A painting on display in the bedroom by Pablo Picasso was given to Hemingway in exchange for a case of hand grenades.

If they want to learn more about the life and ways of Ernest Hemingway, visitors to Key West can go to the Customs House Museum. Upstairs, a video plays that tells the story of Hemingway, his four wives, his fishing interests, his days in Cuba and much more.

After visiting the Hemingway House, we headed to a converted house next door that is now the Six-toed Cat Restaurant. Not only did they have a gift shop devoted to more cat items, but the tops of all the tables were cut out in the shape of six-toed cat paws. The food was good and we felt gratified by our day with Ernest Hemingway and his descendant cats.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've heard about his cats!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

We have two of those six toed cats at our house (not descendants of Hemingway's of course, since we live in California.). Two females that we've had fixed so there will be no more, named Big Foot and Big Foot 2. Husband gave them the uninspired names.


Olen said...

Maybe your cats could be distant cousins of the Hemingway cats. He got the first one from a ship's captain...the basis for a story maybe?


Monti said...

The above comment was from me. I was accidentally logged into my husband's account.


Marian Allen said...

Now, that's the kind of thing I would do--go to a famous writer's house and be all about his cats or her herb garden or the patio bricks or something.

Loved the post!

Marian Allen

Anonymous said...

The Hemmingway/Picasso trade sounds like a fair trade. An I would have taken one of the cats home with me. by hook or by crook.

Stephen Tremp

Peggy Frezon said...

What a nice life for those 6-toed kitties! I wouldn't mind living in Ernest Hemmingway's house and soaking in all that inspiration!

Monti said...

I've always wanted a case of hand grenades to store in the pantry! Guess it would be useful if I found a famous artist wanting that trade...

His house would be inspiring, Peggy, but it is so hot in Key West. I love my air-conditioned office and studio back home in super hot Virginia.



Anonymous said...

When I lived on the island of Trinidad, in the West Indies, I knew a woman who had six fingers--the sixth was a little extra pinky. She flaunted that pinkie around like it was a a diamond bracelet. Thanks for a fond memory.

Monti said...

Interesting! Wonder if that's inherited as well--like the cat's extra toe?


BodieP said...

There's another museum there--an old fort, that has some of Hemingway's stuff, as well as a lovely collection of primitive paintings by an artist whose name escapes me right now--I stumbled upon the museum during a trip to Key West and was utterly captivated.