The writer Ernest Hemingway was not a cat lover. But as it is known, nothing is eternal under the moon. His friend – the sailor - Stanley Dexter in 1935 presented uncle Hem a kitten Snow White. This cat was different from the others — instead of five fingers he had six.
It has happened in Hemingway's house on Key West Island (Florida, USA). Since then, a century-old mansion in the colonial style has become a House Museum, where about half a hundred of Snow White’s descendants live.
Cats with polydactyl paws are likely to be found along the Eastern coast of North America and in South-West England and Wales. Active navigation between America and England made these cats good luck charms for sailors. And that is why the six-toed kitten Snow White was a gift with meaning.
Today cats with polydactyl paws are often called "Hemingway’s Cats". About half of cats living in the House-Museum carry the gene for polydactyly in their DNA.
The writer himself was not engaged in breeding of such cats. But when Snow White grew up and brought the first offspring, they stayed in the house. And the process continued ... There are lots of pictures of Hemingway surrounded by his cats.
It is known that Hemingway called his cats after famous people, and the keepers of the House-Museum continue this tradition today. Here you can meet Gary Truman, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Gertrude Stein, Charlie Chaplin and other "celebrities".
The cats of the Museum are allowed to walk freely through the rooms in which Hemingway wrote his novels. Half of the museum visitors come here to see the unusual cats.
Once the cats’ life in such comfortable conditions was under threat. Cuban law allows to have not more than four cats in the one house. However, an exception was made for the Hemingway's cats, and they were declared a historic national treasure.