Fearless Felines: Hemingway House Cats Show Irma Who's Boss, Ride Out Storm

As Irma heads toward Key West, Mariel Hemingway tries to save Papa's cats

As Irma heads toward Key West, Mariel Hemingway tries to save Papa's cats

In the absence of hurricanes, Hemingway's cats roam the gardens and house freely, and visitors to the home and museum anxious about the safety of the cats they had grown fond of with Irma approaching.

Owned by a private group, the house and grounds were deemed a National Historic Landmark in 1968, seven years after Hemingway's death, said general manager Jacque Sands, who lives in the main house and sheltered on the property with 11 staff members during the storm.

"I think that you're a wonderful and admirable person for trying to stay there and save the cats, and save the house, and all that stuff", Hemingway told Sands.

Hemingway's cats, as they are known, lounge in calmer times around the museum's lush gardens or snooze on the indoor furniture as visitors stroll by.

According to the dedicated curator, who refused to leave the island despite Mariel Hemingway, the writer's granddaughter, pleading for employees to leave the home ahead of Irma's landfall, there was never an immediate concern since the museum wasn't in a flood zone.

"Save the cats - get all the cats in the auto - and take off", she said.

Hemingway lived in the house from 1931 to 1940 where he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls, Have Not and The Snows of Kilimanjaro.

The Hemingway Home, a Spanish Colonial-style building located on the western end of Key West, was constructed in 1851 by architect Asa Tift. "We love them, they love us", Gonzales added.

Separately, several endangered deer found only in the lower Florida Keys were spotted on Monday, easing fears over the fate of the species following Hurricane Irma's path of destruction.

"The cats seemed to be more aware sooner of the storm coming in, and in fact 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 said.

"I have been watching the news, and people keep talking about how low-lying the keys are", Gonzales said.

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