The Key West City Commission has sided with the Hemingway cats in their fight against the USDA. The city has exempted the Hemingway house from a city law that prohibits more than four domestic animals per household.
The city states that: “the cats reside on the property just as the cats did in the time of Hemingway himself. They are not on exhibition in the manner of circus animals. … The City Commission finds that family of polydactyl Hemingway cats are indeed animals of historic, social and tourism significance.” The commission also states that the cats are an important part of the history and environment of the Hemingway House.
These polydactyl cats have been in the middle of a dispute between the USDA and the museum. The USDA says that the museum is an “exhibitor” of cats and requires a special license. They also want the museum to cage all of the cats. The agency is sending out a cat behaviorist later this month to assess the cats’ well-being.