Wednesday, February 24, 2010 8:24 AM

Hemingway Cats Nearly Evicted from Museum

As I was poking around looking for information on Hemingway's cat fancy, I stumbled across an article by Laura Parker of USA Today entitled, "The Plot Thickens for Hemingway's Cats". Apparently, during the mid-2000s a spat that started between the Museum staff and an animal rights activist almost caused the famous cats to be hauled away under the jurisdiction of the USDA.

The government got involved due to a neighbor's complaint in 2003 that the cats were scaling the grounds walls and roaming the area, bullying other cats and generally being a nuisance. At one point, USDA representatives rented a cottage on the premises to observe these wayward felines. The Museum was cited for violating a 1966 animal welfare law, and the government demanded that the cats be kept on the property via electric fencing or something of that nature. At first, the Museum agreed, but then decided to counter-sue, claiming that the law cited didn't apply to them. As these issues were being argued in court, the Museum was in danger of not only losing their cats, but being slapped with huge fines.

Were the cats really causing that much trouble? Further into the article, the real issue came to light. The neighbor who complained was a former animal shelter administrator named Debbie Schultz. When she first moved to the neighborhood, she and the Museum developed a relationship whereby she was given keys to the Home's grounds. After some time, however, this relationship soured. Schultz routinely trapped cats to bring them to the shelter to be spayed and neutered. Her zeal extended to the Museum, where staff eventually banned her for neutering too many cats and leaving too few to continue propagating the bloodline.

Luckily, this story had a happy ending. In 2008, an article in the San Fransisco Chronicle reported that an agreement had been reached, and the cats would stay put. The Museum agreed to install a fence to contain the animals, and an animal welfare specialist hired by the USDA investigated and stated that the cats were being well-cared for.

The moral of this story? Good neighbor relations are paramount. You never know when a slight to one party might fester and cause the claws to come out. It is always better to negotiate directly than to spend years in court! Meowww!
Chat later!

Above photo of polydactyl cat at Ernest Hemingway House on Key West courtesy of WikiMedia Commons. Photographer: Averette. May 18, 2008.

0 Comments On "Hemingway Cats Nearly Evicted from Museum"

Powered By Blogger

Donate to Cat Chat!

Contact Cat Chat

Search Amazon

Custom Search
Blogger Templates

About Me

My Photo
Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
View my complete profile