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A Hemingway Kitty~~a Pictorial Journal : Animal Anomalies Part 1

Patricia is someone whose life is centered around family. Each day is one more opportunity to show my loved ones how much they mean to me.

Hemingway's cats

Ernest Hemingway was born in Illinois in 1899. He became one of the remarkable writers of the 20th century. His style lead his readers to find themselves involved in a story that would cause them to lose themselves in his work as they turned page after page.

Hemingway like some other writers who have mesmerized us with their writings was plagued by depression and health problems. Finally in 1961 his life ended at his own hand.

In Key West, Florida, the Hemingway home and museum is home to several dozen cats. Hemingway had been given a white, six-toed kitty, it is said, by a ship's captain. He named the kitty Snowball.

Many cats remain on Key West and some are descendants of the original six-toed kitty.

When we visited the Keys and the Museum, we were told that the cats were named by Hemingway after famous people and they try to continue that tradition today.

Polydactyl kitties

The six-toed cats that are found at Hemingway's home and museum are known as polydactyl. They usually have six toes on their front paws and four on their back paws. Not all of the cats display the polydactyl feature but may carry the gene in their DNA.

Most of the cats displaying the trait have extra toes on the front but sometimes have them on their back feet but that is not nearly as common. They have been described by some as appearing to wear gloves; it looks like they have a little thumb. To me their little paws seem like almost like a little baseball glove that is flattened and can be used to bat things around quite well.

My little kitty is a Hemingway kitty. His Momma was a Hemingway kitty.

Anomaly or not, he has already stolen my heart away.

Change came

Unfortunately the house I thought would be my forever home sold recently And once again I was displaced. This time it was HUGE because I was unable to take my beloved Milo kitty and my precious Gretta Lyn pup with me to the new address. I cried new oceans over them but as it turned out they both got good homes.

Truthfully I was at my wit's end as it was the week before the move and my feline and canine family had no homes. My heart was breaking. I got a call from my Stef, my daughter, who told me that she and her family would take Milo at least on a trial basis. They have a dog, Pickles, who I adore and they were just not certain how the two would get along.

Homes for my fuzzy critters

As it turned out, Pickles was the most receptive to a new four-legged creature in his midst. My Milo was not so cordial. He would have nothing to do with Pickles and spent a great deal of time under my grandson Jay's bed. That is where he began his life in the home they lived in when he was a kitten. Gradually he came out and re-stole the hearts of my daughter and the family once again. He still is not best buds with Gretta but he allows him to be in the same room with him!!!

My Gretta-Lyn pup had no home and we were on the final day of the move. I came home with my eldest grandson Jay after taking a load of items to my new abode. There in the yard were my daughter and her friend, Susan. They were talking to Gretta and petting her. When I stepped inside the gate my daughter said:

"Mom, Susan is taking Gretta." I burst into sobs that I had not felt for a long time. I am so delighted that she was re-homed. She lives on a farm and has several canine playmates as well as an abundance of chickens to chase.

Milo at my daughter's home...happy and secure


Over the Rainbow Bridge

Sadly, our Milo died a few weeks ago. My heart aches for him. I am only thankful he did not have a prolonged, painful death.

Just relaxing and purrrrrrring....


My Sweet Boy, keeping me company January 2018

Monday, April 25...

Monday, April 25...

As Milo celebrates each new year, he becomes more of a love bucket and more adored by me.

Just wanted to share a few new photos of him.

He is a terrific little feline.

Introducing....Ebony, Milo's Mama


A pet found me when I was not looking

When I was not really in the market for a new pet, my grandson asked me if I would like to have the baby of his kitty, Ebony. Ebony by the way is solid white as you can see in the photograph.

Ebony has been his kitty for about 3 years now. She is a small kitty, so very soft and cuddly, and a bit mischievous. She was given to my grandson by a friend of the family who had visited the Keys and was able to adopt one of the Hemingway kitties.

Ebby as she is called has six toes on her front paws. Having that extra toe on each paw has not seemed to be a problem for her. As a matter of fact it seems to make it easier for her to bat things around.

When Ebony gave birth her little Milo inherited the extra toes and two of the toes are fused.

Milo Loves to Play ....

What is polydactylism?

Polydactyl or polydactylism has its origin from the Greek polus many + daktulos finger

Polydactylism is a birth defect characterized by extra fingers or toes. Usually, the fingers and toes are just small pieces of extra skin, but there are cases in which the bone structure is intact and the digits are completely functional.

Polydactyl or polydactylism has its origin from the Greek polus= many + daktulos= finger or digit.

Polydactylism occurs in humans as well as animals. It may mean an extra finger or thumb which is not physically harmful to the person. Often however the parents opt to have them removed when the child is very young.

This anomaly occurs also in cats, dogs, pigs, fowl, and some other animals.

Looking adorable at six months...just don't turn on the water


Animal anomalies

Perhaps you have read about or seen other anomalies in animals. The cow with two heads, the cat with two heads, the dog with an extra leg, the sheep with one eye ---the list goes on and on.

A chicken with a foot where??

Years ago when I lived in Albany, Georgia, with my daughter and grandson, we lived on some acreage in the country. Next door lived a young man who had chickens and a few cows. Our properties were separated by fence which was easy enough for the chickens to maneuver themselves under and come visit.

We had a chihuahua at the time and he loved to run around in the yard chasing butterflies and dragonflies and anything else that moved even slightly.

Every day without fail the chickens came under the fence, not unlike the puppies in the heartwarming book, The Poky Little Puppy by Jeanette Sebring Lowrey. If you have not read that book, be sure to do so. You are never too old to enjoy the story of a Momma's love for her pups.

So back to the chicken and pup tale of mine. Sure enough one Thursday afternoon we were outside watching my grandson play in his pool when the chickens ambled onto the property looking for delicious morsels to fill their tummies.

Our little pup was sitting beside my daughter and me on our porch steps. Soon he spied the chickens and took off. He singled out one and chased around and around the house in hopes he would at last overtake and capture it. That never happened! As fast as the pup was, faster still was the chicken. We were laughing so hard that tears were rolling down our cheeks. It was like a mini-version of the Daytona 500.

After a bit, we walked out into the yard to get a closer look at these two critters engaged in a battle of wills. We both paused and just stared. We were seeing something we could not believe.

Out of the rear end of the chicken our pup was so furiously chasing was a lower part of a leg and a foot!! It did not seem to be causing a problem for the chicken, certainly not in impeding her movement in anyway.

We often wondered after that if that is why the pup was so interested in chasing that particular hen.

When I was growing up we had many chickens and none of them ever had such an anomaly.


© 2013 Patricia Scott

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