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UPDATE - Hemmingway Cat

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hello all! Well, I did it! I called in sick yesterday and drove myself 4 hours down to the Key West SPCA to pick up the kitty. He sat on my lap with a paw on either side of me ('hugging' me) the entire drive back home. What a sweetheart! I have changed his name to Andrew (Prince Andrew, actually, because he is so very regal) because he wasn't responding to 'Jack' but he does respond to Andrew (and the name of the Inn where we first saw him is the Andrews Inn). He is happy and healthy and eating like a champ.

My female hates him right now (and me for bringing him), but I know her and they'll be fast friends in no time. He is very used to being around other cats so he is fine with her and wanted to make friends, but she's not having it yet. He is very timid yet and stays close to me - he's taken to me very quickly. I decided to let him sleep with me last night, as he needed a little affection.

The only problem? At 2:30AM, I woke up to a wet spot on my bed... He had urinated on the bed! Granted, it was storming pretty hard last night - it even scared ME! I didn't scold him - I didn't think he deserved it. I just picked him up gently and petted him and put him inside the litter box and reminded him that it is where he needs to 'go'. But then I shut my bedroom door when I finally DID go back to sleep. He is neutered, so I don't think he's 'spraying'... Do any of you know what it might be? Maybe he's just scared? Adjusting to his new home???

He seems VERY happy otherwise... And he is great to sleep with - stays down by my feet and just curls up there... But now I'm afraid to let him sleep with me again, for fear that he'll pee again!

What to do?

Other than that - we are a little family - the 3 of us (as soon as Jo accepts that mommy has enough love for both of her fur-babies)... I tried to reassure Jo, but she hisses at me, too... Still, I pet her and tell her mommy loves her and it is ok, etc...

post #2 of 22
I'm so glad you were able to get Andrew. He sounds wonderful. I'm sure that the wet spot was simply an accident since he's in his new home and is unfamiliar with the surroundings. He may have been scared from the storm and didn't want to leave the safety of your bed. Hope Jo settles down soon. You can't blame her for not wanting to share.

post #3 of 22
I know you are so happy to finally have Andrew with you, and it sounds to me that he knows how lucky he is to have a permanent, safe home. I would tend to side with Dawn that the "wet" bed can be attributed to the storm and the new surroundings.

I read something once about every cat on Key West claiming to be descendent from the Hemingway Cats. . . . . I know he is said to have had MANY cats!
post #4 of 22
YAY! I'm so happy for you JadeKitty!

I have a siamese boy named Andrew... but he was named after a friend of my boyfriends that committed suicide Good name!!!

Puhlease get pictures! I can't wait to see your newest addition! Congrats again! Yaaay!

post #5 of 22
I'm soooo glad you rescued this sweet little guy!
Make sure you use an enzymatic cleaner on the wet spot from last night so that he won't smell the old urine (which might make him think that's an okay place to pee). I agree that the accident was probably his being afraid, but keep an eye on him...if he was always an outdoor cat he may never have learned about litter boxes so he may need some training.

I hope your girl gets used to him soon. Congratulations for your wonderful rescue!
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Andrew is most definitely a descendant of the Hemmingway cats. Hemmingway bred these 6-toed cats specifically (why, i do not know - perhaps just because it made them look more 'human') and Andrew is a 6-toed cat. it's really cool because it makes him look like he has 'hands' in the front instead of paws!

i will definitely be spraying the bed with enzymatic cleaner and i will most likely be getting a 2nd litterbox, although i clean this one daily. i think you guys are right, he was just scared and not yet comfortable with his surroundings... soon as he's settled, i'm sure he'll be fine. he was using a litterbox at the SPCA and did fine with it, so we'll see. i will have to give him a nice treat everytime i see him use the box!

he's such a love-bug! he just wants to be petted and loved and he turns his little motor on right away!
post #7 of 22
That is so exciting to hear you got Andrew and he is now living with you. I bet he was scared of the storm and being in a new home and not really sure where he was in association with the litter box. He is one lucky kitty to find an understanding Meowmie
post #8 of 22
I am so glad you got to get the kitty you wanted. Good Luck with him and I hope he brings you years of Joy.
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Andrew is a sweetheart of a cat. I can't wait to come home to my 2 fur-babies. Hopefully they'll be getting on a bit better by then... He and I totally bonded on the drive home. He wanted to be in my lap the entire time. I tried to put him in the back seat at one point, but he wouldn't have it. Not that I blame him, poor thing - he was just thrilled to be out of the shelter!

post #10 of 22

I'm glad you finally got your kitty and that you both are very happy... But please please don't drive without your cat(s) not in a carrier, it could be very dangerous. You never know when something is going to spook them and when a cat goes bonkers the inside of a car is not the place to go nuts.

Secondly, the wetting thing is probably due to the fact that it's in a new enviroment, with a cat it doesn't know, and regardless of how outwardly it seems, is probably stressed out.

Anytime you bring a new cat into a home with a cat already, you should always confine the new addition for a period of time, we use 2 -3 weeks, depending on the cat. That will ensure that it doesn't spread anything to the other cat(s), and it gives them a chance to smell each other and get use to each other. The biggest advantge to that is the sickness issue, we learned the hard way a couple of years ago. There are other things you can do to help the introduction process also, but a towel or blanket, with each cat so they can sleep on it and get their smells al over it, and then swap them so they will get to know each other even more. You can even go so far as to swap rooms as soon as you know the new one isn't sick.

If your still having litterbox problems, then definatly confine him to a room with his own litter box and that might help, if it doesn't it is possible that he may have a URI (just something to think about)

post #11 of 22

I have been thinking about you ever since your first post about this cat. Andrew what a handsome name!! I think everyone hit it right on by saying Andrew is unsure of the environment.

I am not surprised at all though are you? I hope you all three have a fabulous life together. Remember to shower your little girl with lots of love They will learn to love eachother soon enough.

I commend you on saving this little guy!! Again congratulations.
post #12 of 22
Hooray!! Good for you..what a lucky kitty.

What an appropriate name...Andrew. You made my day, thanks for the update.
post #13 of 22
What's all this about a Hemmingway cat from Key West? Just kidding! Congratulations on a wonderful rescue!

Andrew was destined to find you all along! I'm very happy for you both — and eventually for your other cat as well. I love happy endings!

P.S.: Please heed Ken's advice regarding cats and motor vehicles.

post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
My babies are doing well and actually getting on better!

As for the car ride - I agree with you about the safety issue, believe me. As for something spooking him - have any of you ever driven the interstate in FLORIDA?! It is the absolute most BORING stretch of road anywhere!

At any rate, I'm not planning any long car-rides with the kitties ever again, but if for any reason I have to, I'll make sure I get some Rescue Remedy first - I was unable to find it before picking up Andrew and that's why he was so upset in the carrier. When I take them to the vet, they are always in the carrier (of course my vet is down the street)... But yes, I agree with you that normally a cat should stay in the carrier in the car. Jo would never have been able to be out of the carrier because she is just too mobile and doesn't sit still. Andrew, however, slept the entire drive back and never moved a muscle - he was probably exhausted mentally and just relieved to be going 'home'.

He is totally healthy. He had been at the SPCA for almost a month and was tested for FIV and Feline Aids - both negative. Had all his first shots and his ears are mite free. Has no worms or anything - they gave me a clean bill of health on him and they even taught me how to trim their nails (something I had been terrified of)!

As for Jo - she has seen the vet already and also has a clean bill of health. The only problem I can see is Jo accepting Andrew as part of the family, but she will eventually. I have been trying to show her extra special attention to make sure she knows that mommy loves her just as much as ever, but she's pretty ticked off right now. Andrew had been exposed to MANY cats at a time and was perfectly ok with that. Jo on the other hand, had only shared me with one other cat and now had me all to herself, so she's a little jealous and I know that will take time for her to get over. My apartment is rather small and I couldn't, in good conscience, leave one of them locked in the bathroom (there's no A/C in there if the door is shut). They have to make due sharing space and I think they're doing fairly well so far. Andrew just wants to be friends with Jo and enjoy his new family. Jo is adjusting to sharing me with Andrew, but I think that in a couple of weeks, the two will be inseperable, as they are both VERY affectionate, mellow, sweet cats. As soon as they get to know each other and realize that neither is a threat to the other where I am concerned, I think they'll be quite a pair of pals!

But I will keep you all posted! I took some pictures and will try to get them developed this weekend and scanned on Monday so I can post them for all of you to see! They are two beauties!

Thanks again for your kind words and advice!! Some of my friends have offered to buy them toys to keep them entertained during the day while I'm at work. Any suggestions?? Let me know what you come up with! I'm also thinking they might need a kitty-condo (if I can figure out where to put one!)...
post #15 of 22
Hey Jadekitty,

Congratulations on your Hemingway Kitty. The word for a 6 toed cat is polydactyl. I have been to Hemingway's house a couple of times and I LOVE it! He has over 60 cats. He was a true cat lover and made provisions in his will for a half-million dollars to be set aside in a trust for the care and feeding of all of them. All of the cats are named after movie stars. I was so taken by all of them I didn't want to leave. I also took lots of pictures.

Andrew is a great name. I would give anything to get a Hemingway cat. Unfortunately they don't adopt them out anymore. So consider yourself very lucky.

As Imagyne said, if Andrew keeps peeing, I would definitely take him to the vet as it could be a sign of a urinary tract infection. It could very well be the new surroundings and another kitty. But if it persists, I would have him checked out.

Good luck with your polydactyl kitty!

post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your post! I've been to Key West several times - growing up my family used to take us there at least once every other month. Andrew is doing MUCH better and has not peed again anywhere except his litter box! I even let him on the bed where he had peed the first night and he has been fine with it.

My female, Jo, is getting a LOT better with him, too. She is just starting to really accept him. She still hisses at him a little, but not much. The only thing that concerns me is that when I get home from work, he is always hiding either under my bed or in my closet. That bothers and worries me a little. I have to really coax him out. He DOES come to me and he responds quite well to his name, but it takes some real convincing. Once he is out, he stays close to me, and is a little skittish and certian sounds startle him. I understand that he is adjusting to his new environment and all, but is there anything else that I can do? Once I get him out of his hiding spot, he is very affectionate with me and I pet him and tell him how sweet and good he is and how much I love him and he purrs up a storm.

He eats very well and uses the litter box regularly, so I know this isn't affecting his appetite or his stools. I really want him to understand that it's his home, too and he can roam about throughout it and lay anywhere he pleases. Is there anything special I should do to help him become more comfortable?

Also, the lady at the SPCA down there told me that they DO still adopt out Hemmingway cats, but that they don't get them that often. They take care of the ones that seem to do well on their own outdoors (shots and neuter/spay) and allow them to remain free-roaming, but there are always some that turn out not liking outdoors life. Andrew was one of those. He wanted to be indoors all the time and would meow lamentingly outside the bedroom doors of the Inn where we stayed. Although he lived the majority of his life outdoors, strangely enough, he never even looks out the front door when I open it or makes any kind of move towards it. I got lucky on that one! anyway, they have LOADS of animals up for adoption down there, so if any of you are ever going to be in the area and would like to adopt a little companion, their website is:

thanks again all for the advice! we three appreciate it! ;-)
post #17 of 22

Wow! I stand corrected. I thought they weren't adopting out any more polys. In that case, consider yourself VERY lucky to have Andrew.

post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Andrew is starting to really feel at home finally, which is great! He isn't hiding as much as he was! He makes great strides every day and I am certain that the fact that Jo is being nicer to him now also helps him feel more at ease. The three of us had a great morning and I found it EXTREMELY difficult to tear myself away from them to go to work! Wah!

Anyway, I think we 3 will be fine! I am a lucky girl! Andrew picked me pretty much the first night we met. He is a real dream come true for me. When I was about 12 I remember seeing a grey cat and absolutely falling in love. From then on, I have wanted one, but circumstances never seemed to be in favor of it - until now! As SOON as I get the pictures developed, I'll post them - he's a real doll-baby and so is Jo (she's a tortie). The 2 of them are not just unique, but sweet & gentle & loving lap-cats.

I love my fur-babies and whoever I choose to date has to pass their test first! LOL!

I still need to get them some more toys... Suggestions?
post #19 of 22
It's wonderful to read your posts and learn of the great positive impact Andrew is having upon your home (and vice-versa)! Keep up the good work.

post #20 of 22
I am so glad it is going well!

Regarding toys they can play with while you're at work....when my cats were young, they loved turbo-cat...a large plastic ring with a ball inside. They would spend hours chasing the ball around and trying to get the ball out of the ring.

My cats also like playing with a mouse that is on an elastic cord that hangs from a door frame. They will play with it until they collapse!

This is a controversial suggestion...the little fur mice are a favorite of my cats. This is controversial because the mice are made with rabbit (or perhaps some other animal) fur. So, you have to decide whether you are okay with that.

Also, wadded up balls of paper or aluminum foil and ping-pong balls will entertain them forever as will milk jug rings.
post #21 of 22
I have one suggestion - DON'T GET ANY FURRY MICE! And if you do, KEEP IT TO YOURSELF for your own good. Nuff said??

post #22 of 22
Amen to that! But, while we're on the subject of make-believe mice, I've a complaint. How come wind-up mice don't work on carpets? Like, the days of bare floors with rugs are (for most of us) part of history; yet the silly mice-makers won't put bigger wheels on the darned things so they'll work on carpets! Grrr! I'm going to write the President about this vital issue. It's the sort of thing he'd jump on right away — since my cats won't, 'cause the darned faux-mice just sit there spinning their wheels on the carpet.

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