The Hemingway House and Museum in Key West, Florida, is in the direct path of Hurricane Irma, but the manager of the historical site, Jacqui Sands says that she is planning to stay put and do what she can to care for the estate and that family of 55 cats that call it home. Sands says she has an obligation to the Hemingway historical site and the cats.
“If I didn’t have to, I wouldn’t stay. My kids told me to get the hell out. But I have an obligation to take care of the building and the cats.”
Jacqui Sands is the manager and caretaker of the site that Ernest Hemingway called home on Key West. The cats are also an unusual collection as they are polydactyl, meaning they have six or seven toes on one foot. Sands won’t be alone caring for the Hemingway House and Hemingway cats, as nine employees are staying with her. All are working right now to prepare the Key West property as well as they can for the approaching Hurricane Irma.
“They couldn’t leave because either they don’t have a car or couldn’t find a flight out of here. I think we are going to be fine.”
The Hemingway House was built in 1851. It has a foundation of limestone in the French Colonial style, and has withstood many hurricanes. The house luckily sits at the highest point of the island and is 16 feet above sea level.
TMZ commented that the Hemingway House is largely built of wood which puts it at greater risk. Forecasters are expecting at least 15 feet of water, so the historical landmark and its inhabitants are at risk. Jacqui Sands and her staff are doing their best to gather up as many of the many toed cats as possible for safe keeping as they ride out the storm.
But authorities are saying that if Jacqui Sands and the staff at the Hemingway House need hospitals, ERs, rescue crews, and other government assistance, they will be on their own, at least for the short term, as most people are evacuating from Key West.
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Are you keeping your fingers crossed for the Hemingway House and the many-toed cats?
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]