Hemingway’s Cats Versus The Feds

You could say that the battle between the federal government and Hemingway’s cats has been a long one. To put a finer point on it, the strange case of the furry creatures versus the feds has been in the court system for nearly 10 years.

The case centers around the 40-plus cats that roam the property of the iconic Hemingway Home & Museum in Key West, Florida.

The felines are thought to be descendants of Ernest Hemingway’s beloved polydactyl kitty Snowball. Like the polydactyl Snowball, many of the kitties have six toes. Polydactyl cats have a congenital physical anomaly that gives them an extra toe on one or each of their paws.

American Thinker writes that the museum considers today’s Hemingway cats to be part of the charm of visiting. Hemingway Home is currently toured by approximately 250,000 visitors each year. The cats wander the property freely but are well taken care of by staff and given weekly veterinary visits.

For many years the United States Department of Agriculture has fought through the courts for the right to regulate Hemingway’s cats. It’s not a matter of improper care by the museum. In fact, when the USDA sent PETA to see the felines’ conditions, a representative said:

“What I found was a bunch of fat, happy and relaxed cats. God save the cats.”

Instead, the USDA believes the cats fall under the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 which allows regulation of animal exhibits. According to an article in The New York Times, the USDA referenced advertising materials that featured the cats as part of the museum’s attractions.

Earlier this month, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit begrudgingly agreed. Although the court expressed sympathized with Hemingway Home and acknowledged their proper care of the animals, the subsequent ruling sided with the USDA.

What do you think of the court ruling in favor of the feds versus Hemingway cats?