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Hemingway's great-grandkitties run amok, angering feds

It’s too bad Ernest Hemingway isn’t alive today — who wouldn’t want an army of six-toed supercats to command? But now his kitty command could be in jeopardy!

Apparently, around 46 cats (half of them polydactyl) — all descendants of Hemingway’s beloved feline friend Snow White — have had free rein of the Hemingway house since his suicide in 1964, a fact that perturbs the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since the house is now run as a museum (where the cats are a big hit, apparently), according to a Guardian story, they “want to fine the museum’s owners up to $200 a day for ‘exhibiting’ the animals without a licence, according to a lawsuit filed in Miami, but the trustees insist that tourists pay to see the house, of which the cats are merely residents … The dispute has reached Miami’s district court, where the museum wants a federal judge to rule on whether it needs a licence under the Animal Welfare Act.”

Says the story: “They’re comparing the Hemingway house to a circus or a zoo because there are cats on the premises,” said Cara Higgins, the museum’s lawyer. “This is not a travelling circus. These cats have been here for ever … We’re asking the judge to let us know whether this act applies to the cats, and if so why that is if the animals are not in commerce. If it’s something to do with the number of cats, how many do we have to get rid of to be in compliance?”

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