The Hemingway Cats in Key West

Hem, boys, and cat
Hem, boys, and cats


So, what could be controversial about some multi-toed cats living peacefully in Key West?  Well a lot apparently.  For four years the Hemingway Museum has been in litigation with the town which wanted the cats caged saying they exceeded limits and thus constituted an animal exhibit and needed to be licensed and caged.  Hmm. That seems a stretch. I am happy to report that the Hemingway Museum won the case and an exception/exemption was noted by the Key West City Commission, which voted to exempt the Hemingway cats from federal rules, calling them “animals of historic, social and tourism significance.” They are, said city officials, “an integral part of the history and ambiance of the Hemingway House.” Well, who didn’t know that?  Full article below.

Polydactyl cats have extra toes on one or more paws. They are often called Hemingway cats.

Cat in the Rain
Cats in the Rain
Hem drinks with cat
Hem drinks with cat


4 thoughts on “The Hemingway Cats in Key West”

  1. It is nice to know that somewhere out there, there is a person just as obsessed with everything Hemingway as I am. Though my loyalty as a woman often goes more towards Hadley. That does not mean I do not recognize Hemingway for a literary genius that he was.

    Thank you for this wonderful blog.
    Violeta D Chinni
    French Teacher
    Cat Lover

    1. Hello Violeta! And my heart is with Hadley too, truth be told. My next novel is called Hemingway’s Daughter about Ernest and Hadley’s fictional daughter with life seen through her eyes, although she also has a life of her own. I am so glad you found my blog and are also passionate about all things Hemingway including Hadley. Best, Christine

  2. “We had peacocks not cats in Key West, we had cats in Cuba.” From my interview with Patrick Hemingway in the Miami Herald 1994. Patrick sold the empty house after his father’s death. Nothing inside the house belonged to Hemingway, the furniture was purchased by the new owners. There stories are fiction, such as the “raised kitchen counters” to accommodate Hemingway’s great size”. Patrick said no, the counters were not changed, “My dad was just 6 feet tall.” It is a roadside attraction full of thrift shop furniture and stray cats where Hemingway had no cats.

    1. Thank you, Mark, for sharing that information. It is all so interesting and all added information is so appreciated. Thank you again for sharing what you know. Very best, christine

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