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Hemingway, USDA, Sheathe Claws In Key West Cat Fight

Ernest Hemingway once kept a six-toed cat at his home in Key West, Florida. The descendants of that cat — currently numbering in the dozens, many of them with six toes — still live on the one-acre property, which is now a tourist attraction. As are the cats.

For the past few years the attraction has fought the USDA. The government has claimed that the cats are part of the attraction, and are subject to Animal Welfare inspections and regulation. The attraction has just wanted the government to go away, as do most people in Key West. (The USDA doesn’t care that the cats have six toes, but we recognize the lure of animals with extra appendages.)

Now, according to a report in the Miami Herald, a compromise has been reached. The cats can stay, but the USDA will be allowed to poke around. Perhaps the inspectors will eventually see that cats can sometimes turn an attraction into something extra special, and will turn their attention back to spoilage and pathogens.

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