Anyway, while in Columbia, Missouri, last Summer, visiting my daughter and her husband, I mentioned the cat and they told me that Ernest Hemingway had polydactyl cats, and that they have since multiplied down at his museum in the Florida Keys. According to the website:
"The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is home to approximately sixty cats. Normal cats have five front toes and four back toes. About half of the cats at the museum are polydactyl. Ernenst Hemingway was given a 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. Key West is a small island and it is possible that many of the cats on the island are related. Our cats are not a partiular breed, but appear to be a combination of various breeds--sort of "Heinz 57" if you will. They are all shapes, sizes, colors and personalities."
A ship's captain, huh? I never tried taking a cat in the boat fishing with me, but I'm willing to give it a try.
Well, those extra toes came in handy. Last winter, Polly flew across the top of the lightest snows with her permanent snow shoes. Some darned old Tomcat must have been hiding behind a snow bank, though. After all of these years of owning cats and faithfully neutering and spaying them, we overlooked spaying Polly. So sure enough, this Spring she gave birth to five kittens.
Some had multiple toes, and others did not.
We had no problem at all finding homes for them, and they were a lot of fun raising to a weaning age, but we definitely were never going to let her have another litter.
In theory, that is. I guess our little celibacy talk went right in one ear and out the other. Before we knew it, Polly, failed our deluxe pregnancy tester. She no longer fit through the cat door to the basement:
And sure enough, we came home one day to find six more little ones piled up in the dog bed.
As an author, Hemingway was prolific... but it was nothing in comparison to his cats.