The Key West Mystique

Key West Island News


Key West Island News connects Key West residents and friends of the island, fosters our One Human Family culture and advances understanding of shared goals for our island community

Cat 5s: Mid-morning in Key West; awaiting Hurricane Irma

By Linda Grist Cunningham, editor and proprietor

Linda Grist Cunningham is editor and proprietor of Key West Island News and KeyWestWatch Media LLC. She and her husband, a park ranger at Fort Zach, live in Key West with their Cat 5s.


Saturday, 11:24 a.m. UPDATE: Change of plans. Ed is getting the cats settled in the house and then will head to Sheila’s for the duration. She’s two-plus floors up and in a bunker building. There’s a bunch of them crammed into a small space, but, hey, it’s Key West, so a party most likely will follow and they do their best to make it through the next 36-48 hours. We decided to let the cats roam free in their home rather than cage them. Those are our babies; enough said. That’s something I neither care to think or speculate about.

ED AND THE CAT 5s: Saturday, 8:21 a.m.: Ed’s going to the Key West high school “last resort” shelter later today. He’ll walk over, about 2 miles. Going to try to get a couple of our neighbors there, too.

Key West Island NewsCats probably going into their carriers and into the attic. We can’t let them roam the house because if it blows open, they’ll escape and drown. We’d rather they yell and poop in their carriers for 36 hours than escape into danger. If the house makes it through, Ed can rescue them.

Our house is located in an X flood zone, one of the higher places in Key West, about 7.5 feet about sea level and the structure is another 3 feet up. Ed relocated valuables, etc., even higher in the house. A 10-foot storm surge is maybe (barely) manageable. But, even though we’re buttoned down as well as one can, we think the high school is a better choice. He’s going to move the car to a slightly higher block in the neighborhood.

He’s got no wifi, so don’t send emails. But his cell is working — for now. I’ll keep you posted here. Ed’s got too much to do, and while we understand your concerns, we need to keep extraneous drama off stage.

This all sucks, my friends. Ed and I made the hardest choices of our lives on Wednesday, Sept. 6. He staying there to care for others; and me here in Virginia to be with my mother. I was to return to the island Sept. 6. And, though I wish I were there with him, I know we made the right decisions, at the right time, for the right reasons.

Our beloved son in Atlanta, E.Lee Cunningham, and his family (Sarah Biel Cunningham) are taking in cousins evacuating from Tampa (Melissa Morral Cooper).

Show me my path. Teach me along the way. Grant me peace. Sustain my hope. Re-direct my anger. And, let me laugh.

Ed and the Cat 5s: ? ?????

Linda Grist Cunningham, editor and proprietor of KeyWestWatch Media, is in Virginia with her mother on a previously scheduled family visit. Her scheduled return to the island on Sept. 6 was cancelled. She wishes she were on-island with Ed and the five cattens. 


  1. Tara Raber

    Sheila is my Aunt. I haven’t heard from her, guessing due to lack of cell coverage and power. If you hear from your husband, please pass along any news for us as well. Thank you in advance.

    • Linda Grist Cunningham

      SHE’S OK!!! I have absolutely no details, but just a few minutes ago I got a message that she and Ed are OK. When I hear more, I’ll let you know!

  2. Mary H.

    Don and I have such special memories of Key West from past vacations we have spent there. It is a beautiful and one of a kind place. Our thoughts are with you and Ed…..and with all Key West residents and anyone being impacted by Hurricane Irma.

  3. Doesn't matter

    I hope this decision isn’t the death of him, or your cats. It would be ashame to die in such a preventable way.

    • Linda Grist Cunningham

      Nice thoughts. Appreciated. You caught the sarcasm, right?

Related Posts

Pin It on Pinterest