|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Viewed: 11/14/2019
||Page Views: 373|
|Once the home of the great writer; now the home of the descendents of his polydactylic cats.|
This was the home of Ernest Hemingway from 1931 to 1939, although he retained title to the home until he died. It is now a private, for-profit landmark and tourist attraction, now populated by six- and seven-toed cats that are descendants of Hemingway's polydactylic cats.
It was in this house that Hemingway did some of his best work, including the short story classics "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" and "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber"; his novel To Have And Have Not, and the non-fiction work Green Hills of Africa.
A polydactylic cat is a cat with a congenital physical anomaly called polydactyly (or polydactylism, also known as hyperdactyly), that causes the cat to be born with more than the usual number of toes on one or more of its paws. Hemingway was fascinated by these cats and bred them. Descendants of Hemingway's original cats continue to live on the premises. In 2009, the cats became the subject of federal litigation after a museum visitor expressed concern about the cats' welfare. United States Department of Agriculture investigators visited the museum and subsequently ordered the museum to take measures to tag the cats for identification and to shelter them. The museum fought the regulations in court but lost their case in the court of appeals, which ruled that the cats "substantially affect" interstate commerce and thus are protected by the Animal Welfare Act of 1966. The house does not sell cats but does continue a selective breeding program for them.