The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, Florida is home to approximately 40-50 polydactyl (six-toed) cats. Cats normally have five front toes and four back toes. About half of the cats at the museum have the physical polydactyl trait but they all carry the polydactyl gene in their DNA, which means that the ones that have four and five toes can still mother or father six-toed kittens. Most cats have extra toes on their front feet and sometimes on their back feet as well. Sometimes it looks as if they are wearing mittens because they appear to have a thumb on their paw.
Ernest Hemingway was given a white six-toed cat by a ship's captain and some of the cats who live on the museum grounds are descendants of that original cat, named Snowball. Key West is a small island and it is possible that many of the cats on the island are related. The polydactyl cats are not a particular breed. The trait can appear in any breed. They vary in shapes, sizes, colors and personalities.
Hemingway named all of his cats after famous people and that same tradition is carried on today. Including those listed on the headstone pictured above, other names of cats included Tigger, Kim Novak, Willard Scott, Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, and Liz Taylor. These names were spotted on the stepping stones that the woman is standing on in the upper photo.
Happy Silly Tuesday.
Photos captured September 25, 2013.
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