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Irma Worry: Hemingway Home, Its Caretaker, and Lots of Cats

Mariel Hemingway urges 72-year-old to flee Key West before it's too late
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2017 9:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – While Hurricane Irma's exact landfall and path is up in the air, one thing seems like a sure bet: Florida's Key West is going to get blasted. Key West happens to be the site of Ernest Hemingway's old home, which is why granddaughter Mariel Hemingway is making a public plea for the 72-year-old caretaker of the home-turned-museum to get out quickly. "Ultimately, it's just a house," the actress tells TMZ. It appears, however, that caretaker Jacqui Sands is staying put. "If I didn't have to, I wouldn’t stay," Sands said earlier this week, per the Washington Post. "My kids told me to get the hell out. But I have an obligation to take care of the building and the cats."

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Yes, cats: The museum is famous for its dozens of cats, many of the six-toed variety, that roam freely. (The novelist had a six-toed cat.) It also appears that Sands and the cats will be joined by several staffers of the museum, who were attempting to secure the 1851 limestone building from Irma's wrath. "I think we are going to be fine," says Sands. A museum official suggested the felines would be fine, too, having weathered multiple Key West storms. "As soon as the barometric pressure drops, they come in," executive director Dave Gonzalez tells the Houston Chronicle. "They know before humans do when it's time to get in." (Read more Hurricane Irma stories.)

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