Cat House

Polydactylic cat at Hemingway House, Key West, FL

There was a man who loved cats. He loved their grace and their independence and their unsubservient affection. He loved their sang froid and their remorseless, predatory ways. He wanted the cats that kept him company to be true to their own nature, as he saw it, and so he did not spay them. Some of them had extra fingers on their paws; their tribe grew and prospered.

Eventually the man died by his own hand, but the cats lived on, generation to generation, in the freedom of his generosity. You can see many facets of his personality—pugnacious, funny, expressive, triste, dynamic, indolent, affectionate, charming—in the free-range felines whose dominion over the home continues uninterrupted to this day.

Hemingway House, Key West, FL

It’s rather a nice house. It was built by a man who made his fortune as a wrecker, “salvaging” ships that foundered in the shallow waters just offshore.

Hemingway House, Key West, FL

The cat-loving man added modern amenities, although it’s not clear what benefit the cats derived from them.

Hemingway House, Key West, FL

Hemingway House, Key West, FL

There are good places for lying in the sun.

Hemingway House, Key West, FL

And some places that are good for cooling your belly.

Hemingway House, Key West, FL

Proper homage is paid in decoration.

Window, Hemingway House, Key West, FL

And reverence even in the death of nameless ones. (The survivors are all named for movie stars.)

Kitten grave at Hemingway House, FL

It turns out that the man also wrote some books. Of course there was a cat icon on his writing table.

Hemingway House, Key West, FL

Bonus: If you are very, very lucky, one of the residents will deign to take notice of you and make himself comfortable on your person. I was the fortunate recipient of such favor. The very handsome and elegant Humphrey Bogart elected to settle in my lap for a few precious moments. I feel this represents the apogee of my career as a cat whisperer. The remarkable occasion was documented by Amy.

Humphrey Bogart bogarts my lap.

Cat on lap.

2 Responses to Cat House
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