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.
“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.
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.
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.”
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.