Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ernestina Hemingway - Our Polydactyl Cat

Just a quick post to introduce you to the baby of the house.  "Ernie" is a polydactyl cat with extra toes on each of her paws.  She actually has little "thumbs" on her front feet which makes her two times the menace of  the other cats ~ she can open drawers and latches like a person!  I'm baby-proofing several cabinets now.  I did try to get a better photo of her feet, but she kept swatting at me so I'll wait until the monster is asleep for that.  You can see a bit of her thumb in the second photo.

As for her name, it obviously stems from a beloved and well-known figure in American history.  What isn't quite as well known is that the Nobel prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway had a his house full of these "abnormal" polydactyl cats.  In fact, even decades after his death his home in Florida is still a haven for the descendants of his original six-toed cat that he received as a gift from a ship's captain.  

These type of cats are said to be much more common on the East Coast than here in the West.  I personally hadn't come across one until we adopted Ernie after someone dumped her at our non-pet friends' house.  At the time we had a hard time telling if she was indeed a girl, so I called her Ernie and Mr. MoonCat was calling her "Hemi".  Got a little confusing since we already have a "Hammy" in the house.  


  1. awww so cute :D i love the big paws

  2. Glad to have you back blogging, Jules! Hi to the animal kingdom especially Phantom! Hi to Mr. MoonCat as well!

  3. Hi Ladies,

    Thanks for sticking with me while I've been a bad blogger yet again. I have been spending a lot of time on the bookish side of things while it's been so super hot. I'm hoping to spend more outdoor time in the near future. I'll be sure to take the camera so I can show you all of the new additions!

    Sailor's Phantom Wedgie says HI to his Auntie! He is a pistol. I'll get him to pose for the camera soon too :)

    Have a great weekend,

  4. Wow Jules, you've been gone a while, nice to have you back! We have a "Hemingway" it is our grand-cat. my son's Caesar (named for the thumbs up, thumbs down bit) he tries and almost get door handles, he reaches up and tries to grab the bowl or can at dinner time, when I am feeding him and my cat. he is a big light orange and white tabby, with the xtra digits on the front paws, and those paws are HUGE! he is a big cat also, and he was from a litter of mixed color kitties in NC.
    I did a post about all our animals a while back, with a superb picture of his huge paws.
    Nice to see your baby, Ernie, he is adorable!

  5. Hi Susan, glad you have hung with me during my neglectful behaviour! I appreciate it.

    Aren't these cats interesting? Ernie is quite a little pill. I love how your Caesar's name came about. That's funny.

  6. Quite a cute cat! Looking forward to more posts.

  7. that's nothing! I don't creep out easily - I have kayaked with whales, spelunked in caves, cut heads off chickens (and yes cooked them up), have eaten bugs, repelled of 30story buildings for charity. Two things have terrified me...slugs and my neighbour's cat.

    The neighbours cat has 10 toes on each paw! It's disgusting! Your kitty is cute, but this thing chases me around with it's cauliflower feet desperate for me to pick it up. I live on a mountainside in a giant forest where we get the occassional bear or cougar coming to visit. These don't bother me but if I see this cat I run for my door! I shiver knowing it is rubbing itself on the otherside of door desperate for my attention.


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