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Oh, #Florida! Weirdest Place in the Weirdest State

Stashed in: Florida!, Cats

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I just wanted to stash a pic of a six-toed Hemingway cat.

What makes it a Hemingway cat? Does it drink too much?

Ernest Hemingway was an amazing man, with many talents and interests. He was also an inveterate cat-lover, because he admired the spirit and independence of cats. Hemingway acquired his first cat from a ship's captain in Key West, Florida, where he made his home for a number of years. This cat, which may have been a Maine Coon, had extra toes (technically known as polydactyl, latin for "many digits"). Today, approximately 60 cats, half of them polydactyl, make their home in the Ernest Hemingway Museum and Home, in Key West, protected by the terms of his will. At least some of those cats are descendents of Hemingway's first cat, and are given fanciful names, as he once did, after movie stars and even characters in his book. The cats of the Hemingway Museum are so popular and so well-known, that the nickname "Hemingway Cats" has often been given to polydactyls.

What is Polydact?The trait for polydact comes from a dominant gene, and only a polydactyl cat can parent another polydact. Although the Maine Coon (whose ancestors are also thought to have immigrated to the U.S. aboard ships) is believed to have been the first breed to have this trait, polydact is considered a fault in that breed, and indeed in every other breed except the Pixie Bob, a relatively new breed.



Pixie-Bob Cat


Polydactyl (Hemingway) Cat


Inveterate Cat-Lover?


Invertebrate Cat-Lover

5 Fascinating Facts About Polydactyl Cats

3. The world record for the most toes on a cat is 28

The Internet cannot agree on which polydactyl kitty actually has the most toes. According to Guinness Records, the title belongs to Jake, a ginger tabby from Canada. He boasts seven toes on each paw, for a grand total of 28. Each toe has its own claw, pad, and bone structure.

The rumor mill also tells of a 32-toed cat named Mickey Mouse who lived in the '70s. But instead of polydactyly, he might have had a condition known as "double paws," in which each paw is actually comprised of two fused mirror-image paws. Having extra toes is complicated!

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