I had the good fortune to enjoy a vacation in the Caribbean this past week, on which the first stop was Key West. Though the weather drove me away from the beach, I was able to tour the Ernest Hemingway House and take in the considerable population of semi-domestic cats who have free reign of the property. The 50 or so cats are descendants of Hemingway’s own pets, many of them polydactyl – meaning they had extra toes, not that they were flying dinosaurs. The house is pretty famous for the cats.
A diversity of personalities are represented, as any cat lover would expect, but most seem acclimated to the tourists who often try to make friends. In general they were appreciative, or at least tolerant of being pet – with one notable exception. My right wrist now bears three parallel scars inflicted by a chubby gray-and-white fellow who offered no other warning that my hand was unwelcome. I figure as a writer myself I should wear the scar with pride. My scars will be a lifelong memento of my visit to the Hemingway House.
I didn’t get a photo of the culprit, but I was able to get some great photos of a few other cats. That first guy is my favorite, but here are a few more: