The dispute began in 2003 after a museum volunteer and cat lover filed a complaint with the department after an aggressive cat wandered from the property. The agency concluded that the museum needed to follow federal regulations on exhibiting animals. But the museum argued that the cats are born and bred at the house, that they seldom wander beyond the grounds and that it is Mr. Hemingway’s legacy — not the cats — that serve as the main attraction.
“If we had a six-toed cat zoo, we wouldn’t get those numbers,” Ms. Higgins said.
But the agency disagreed. It sent in an animal behavioral specialist to index the cats and analyze the situation. Undercover agents were then sent in 2005 and 2006 to observe the cats and surreptitiously photograph their movements. One photo shows a gray cat sitting on the pavement. It carries the caption: “Picture of six-toed cat taken in restaurant/bar at end of Whalton Lane and Duval. May or may not be a Hemingway Home and Museum cat.”
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Cats in the news
Controversy surrounding federal attempts to regulate cats at the Hemingway Museum in Key West: