When you live out in the sticks like I do, stray cats come and go. We feed them and they usually stick around awhile.
Recently, a sweet little black and white male has been hanging around. I think he divides his time between our house and our neighbor’s horse barn, and he seems to like our other cat—and us. If we’re not outside, he sits on the back porch and whines at the door.
The other night my husband hollered at me to come out and look at something.
“Look at this cat!” he said, holding the little black and white. “His paws looked huge, so I picked him up. He’s got six toes on each of his front paws.”
I squealed with delight. “He’s a Hemingway cat!” I said. And then I explained to him about the cat a sea captain gave to Ernest Hemingway. It was a polydactyl cat, and many of the sixty or so cats who still live at the Hemingway Museum in Key West are his descendants. About half of them have extra toes. And I see now why they’re sometimes called “mitten cats.” The extra toe does make our little black and white guy look like he’s wearing mittens.
I’ve been calling the cat Ernie, after Ernest Hemingway (my sister thinks Hemingway would be a more dignified name). If I can get a picture of him, I’ll post it. I keep hoping that having Ernest Hemingway running around my yard will bestow some writerly superpowers on me.