Ernest Hemingway and His Cats

“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another may hide their feeling, but a cat does not.” Ernest Hemingway

It`s hard to believe but the manliest man on the literary scene had a soft spot in his heart for felines.

By 1945, Ernest Hemingway had 23 cats.


Hemingway`s wife Mary and their cats
at the Finca Vigia in Cuba.

In the 1930s a ship’s captain Stanley Dexter gave the writer a polydactyl (many-toed) cat. Ordinary cats have a total of 18 toes, with five toes on each front paw and four toes on each hind paw and polydactyl cats may have as many as eight digits on their front or hind paws. They have been extremely popular as ship’s cats, because sailors believe they were good luck.

White six-toed kitten, named Snow White was one of Hemingway`s favourites. Today, nearly 50 of Snow White’s descendants still live at the Hemingway Home in Key West. 

Polydactyl cats are known by many names, including “mitten cats,” “big-foot cats” or “six-toed cats”, now they are also called “Hemingway cats”.

Hemingway named the cats after famous people of his time.

“One cat just leads to another.” Ernest Hemingway

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