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September 12, 2017

Hurricane Irma caused considerable damage in the Florida Keys, but one beloved spot rode out the storm miraculously untouched — and its residents unharmed.

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum on Key West is home to 54 famously six-toed cats who weathered the hurricane with 10 staff members within the thick, 18-inch limestone walls of the Spanish Colonial home.

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“The cats are accustomed to our voices and our care. We love them. They love us,” Curator David Gonzales told MSNBC Sunday night. “We all hung out together. It’s a very comfortable place for the cats, very comfortable place for our employees.”

Many of the cats lounge around the museum grounds, under tropical plants or by the swimming pool.

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Many of them descend from one cat named Snow White, who was given to Hemingway by a ship’s captain, according to the museum. Not every cat has six toes, but the museum claims every cat at the home carries the polydactyl gene.

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As the storm hit, Gonzalez told MSNBC that the cats “actually ran inside knowing it was time to take shelter. Sometimes I think they’re smarter than the human beings.”

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The construction of the home is somewhat of a barrier against the elements. The house also sits about 16 feet above sea level, keeping the staff and the cats out of harm’s way.

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