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No farewell to toes

Posted by David Mehegan  July 9, 2007 11:02 AM

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Papa with cat.jpg
Hemingway and friend in Cuba

Never having been to Ernest Hemingway's house in Key West, now a museum, I didn't know about his six-toed cats, but now the Associated Press reports that they will be protected. About 50 cats live in the house or the grounds, all descended from a cat owned by the author, who died in 1961. Apparently local residents had complained of free-roaming felines. Also, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had ruled that the cats were an exhibit, and could not run free.

Now the city of Key West has passed an ordinance exempting the cats from a city limit of four domestic animals in any one dwelling. The ordinance says, "The cats reside on the property 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 the family of polydactyl Hemingway cats are indeed animals of historic, social, and tourism significance."

Well, that's one less thing for lovers of literature to worry about.

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