Polydactyl cats have five toes. I could not find a free photo of a polydactyl, so you have to imagine that my kitty, CatmanDeux, has an extra toe on each front paw.

How do cats react to hurricanes? Good question. Key West, Florida, in the path of Hurricane Irma, is home to some of the most famous cats in the U.S.—Ernest Hemingway’s polydactyls. Thanks to the kitty-loving British, I can assure you that all 54 six-toed cats at Hemingway’s former home (now a museum) are safe. The cats rode out the storm with ten of the museum’s staff, who refused to evacuate the kitties and instead hunkered down with them in Hemingway’s house. You can read about it here at the Daily Mail’s website.

Hurricanes are, of course, on my mind.  Today I came upon this apt quotation from Neil DeGrasse Tyson:

Even with all our technology and the inventions that make modern life so much easier than it once was, it takes just one big natural disaster to wipe all that away and remind us that, here on Earth, we’re still at the mercy of nature.

The first time the reality of being at the mercy of nature hit home for me was during my first ice storm in Connecticut. I had never heard of an ice storm and was unprepared for the wind, the sound of trees crashing all around our house and the knowledge that this was a problem I could not solve by calling 911.  We were on our own and Nature’s force was bigger than all of us. (This was also the occasion of an oft-quoted scream of mine. I tried to get my husband and sons to go to the basement with me to be safe in case a tree hit the house. I stood in the upstairs hallway trying to get them to follow me downstairs and when no one moved, I yelled, “Fine! You can all just go ahead and DIE!”)

Joking aside, the magnitude of the destruction and dislocation in Texas, the Gulf Coast, Florida and other states is hard to comprehend. Our thoughts, prayers and hopes are with all our fellow human beings now and in the long period of recovery ahead.




About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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