The Hemingway Home and Museum’s plan not relocate the property’s 50+ cats as Hurricane Irma made a beeline for the Florida Keys made many cat lovers uneasy. Fortunately, Irma spared the museum and the cats.
The cats who call the Key West museum home are all safe and accounted for, MSNBC reports. Some are said to be the descendants of the prolific writer’s six-toed cat, Snow White.
The museum’s curator, Dave Gonzales, told the news outlet that before the storm hit, staffers brought the cats inside the house, which has 18-inch thick limestone walls.
“When we started to round up the cats to take them inside, some of them actually ran inside knowing it was time to take shelter,” he told MSNBC. “Sometimes I think they’re smarter than the human beings.”
Ten employees hunkered down with the cats inside the building Saturday night.
“We love them, they love us,” Gonzales told MSNBC on Sunday. “We all hung out last night together.”
The museum has no running water and the power is out, he said, but the home is intact. Gonzales said the staff planned to stay at the museum one more night as recovery efforts get underway on the islands. The museum has three generators, which have allowed employees to plug in refrigerators and preserve their food.
JUST IN: Good news: The curator at the Hemingway House in the Keys tells MSNBC that the historic home is intact — and the 54 six-toed cats are safe — after Hurricane #Irma. http://nbcnews.to/2eV7FBr
Posted by NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt on Sunday, September 10, 2017
Gonzales’ decision to remain on site with the cats drew some criticism. Hemingway’s granddaughter, Mariel Hemingway, even pleaded with the museum’s 72-year-old general manager, Jacque Sands, to take the cats and go. Still, Gonzales contended that the cats would be safe inside the house, noting that they had never lost a cat to a hurricane. Luckily, he was right.