somebody please help me :( (possible neglect) - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-13-2015, 12:56 AM Thread Starter
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somebody please help me :( (possible neglect)

im having a really hard time finding anything online that may help me, and i dont know where this forum stands on legal issues but please lend me a minute of your time.

i have a 9 year old cat named Milo, who hasnt lived with me since i moved out 5 years ago. she stays at my dads house. i wasn't able to bring her to my boyfriends house, despite my pleading but my dad said no, and i let it slide because his health and house werent so poor back then. i thought she'd be ok.

recently my father was in the hospital for a few days undergoing open heart surgery so i had stopped by to feed and water her and was appauled at what i saw. Milo has this "rodent ulcer" condition that always recurrs. but this time (and once before 6 months back) i wanted to die because my poor baby girls mouth and lip was swollen that it was upturning her nose, oozing brown and green pus, drooling all over herself staining her white chest and the poor thing cant even keep her tongue in her mouth, it just hangs there allowing her drool to seep all over her.

i immediately packed her up and brought her to my house and took her to the vet the very next day. she was prescribed ovaban, half a 20mg pill twice a week. ive given her the medicine 3 times and its finally starting to clear up.

i gave her a bath and the amount of grime that came off her was disgusting. my dads house is in despair. filthy is an understatement. he has a lot of health and mental health problems (im not excusing him, just making a statement). i clipped her nails because of how long they were - starting to curl and she couldn't even walk with flat paws. theres still dirt between her toes that i cant get out.

i dont know what to do. i cannot give her back. my dad is extremely angry about this and im preparing myself for some sort of legal action to be taken against me.

now heres my real problem:
his name is on the account at the vets office (and i added mine last week), and yes, he did buy her and pay for her food (which is eaten off a dirty plate with dried crusted food, btw, i was outraged), and does get her yearly shots AND has treated her for this "ulcer condition" a few times but he always lets it get so bad, but insists it just "gets like that overnight" which i know is wrong. i dont know what to do because its clear that he has had involvement in the cat but he probably wouldnt have done anything if i didnt come along this time. the infection could have gone to her brain and killed her. i work frequently and dont have a car so i never would have known as i dont visit much.

does anyone know what i can do? stupid me didnt take pictures of her at her worst, but i do have some pictures, and could easily get pictures of the deplorable condition of his house.

i forgot to mention that we adopted milo, with a brother, otis, who died when he was only four because he had become septic resulting from a urinary blockage, crystals. otis died on the THIRD TIME this happened because my dad didnt wanna spend money on the necessary food because of the cost. the last time around, there was nothing we could do (i was only 17 at the time and had no job)... my poor beautiful boy passed away and spent the last hours of his life howling in agonizing pain. but alas, thered be no way for me to prove that my dad already has a history of not taking necessary precautions towards animal health.

i want to register milo personally in my state (NJ), but i dont know if that would even help me keep her if push comes to shove. i feel that if i give her back, i may as well be killing her myself. hes extremely upset that i stole "his" cat, when in fact he got her and her brother for me when my first kitty shadow passed away, but being 13 at the time i clearly wasn't the one paying for her.

does anyone have any advice? please. im so stressed and upset, and just wanna help my kitty. she doesnt even get treats or playtime at his house. she even grew a newfound love for catnip. its clear that my dad loves her, but cant take care of himself, let alone her (hence his heart problems).

if anyone can offer any advice at all id be very grateful.

Last edited by marie73; 03-13-2015 at 01:13 PM. Reason: language
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-13-2015, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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also wanted to add the fact that my dad gave me the ok to bring her to my house/the vet until she got better but demanded her back as soon as he got home (which i couldn't do, shes too sick), so to clarify, i didnt waltz into the house and take her without his knowledge.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-13-2015, 01:31 AM
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Oh what a tough situation. It's so hard when it's your dad but I guess this is a case of tough love for both. The vet saw her in this condition? My view would be that hard as it is going to be for the sake of the cat, I would refuse to let him have the cat back and gather as much evidence as you can to show how poorly the cat was, how Dad cannot take care of himself let alone the cat. Maybe speak with the police to explain and see what they can do to help, as I assume it will be them who he calls and will turn up to you. Maybe you even have to discuss with them taking a neglect case out first. On a side note, I don't know what support you already have but you definitely sound like you need help with your dad too. Wish you luck with this
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-13-2015, 03:23 AM
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This is very likely not what you want to hear but I would first try talking to your dad. I recommend this book (see link below)

It is a fast read (could do it in one day but take 2 or 3 if you can to let it all sink in) and was used as a textbook in two of my interpersonal communications classes. It explains how to have conversations without letting your own or the other person's emotions derail the conversation. I've recommended this book to people before. It is simply remarkable.

Please consider this as it will help with any future issues you will have with your father, who is clearly aging and getting to the point where he will need assistance and might be uncooperative about things. If you were a neighbor I'd give you the book myself and go buy another one for myself, it is my gospel. It has helped me turn very stressful, emotional times...times where I thought I was going to explode in anger or resentment and just diffused my own emotions to the point where I realized that I was upset about things (like my history with my mother) that had no real bearing on the conflict I was in. So I was able to acknowledge this and it made it easier to leave the resentment behind while talking about issue A and move the conversation towards acknowledging I had been resentful over that other issue.

Sorry I can be no help but if you want my book I am in Union County NJ, but could also meet you in Somerset County, Bridgewater, Warren. Is any of that close to you? I could mail it too if you are more comfortable. Send me a private message and let me know if you want to work out the details.

Otherwise I can only advise you on how to keep the police and lawyers out of it. Family members usually don't follow through on threats like these because they don't WANT too. Try talking before doing anything rash.
<Please don't hate me! I know this is not the kind of response you wanted to elicit>
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-13-2015, 12:14 PM
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I can't speak for any legal stuff...but I wouldn't be giving the cat back.

I'd also go to the vet and ask if they could write a statement to the effect of how bad the infection was and how long it would take to get to that state, how often they have seen cats with such a bad infection, etc. That would likely do a lot for you in case of any actual legal action.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-13-2015, 12:39 PM
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Exactly what Becky (Librarychick) said. I would not send this cat back, you are correct when you say it would be sending her home to die.

I would get documentation from the vet (too bad you didn't take before pictures) and if he comes after you produce it all. I would also get her microchipped and if required in your area licensed so it can be shown you're taking proper care and she's YOUR cat.

If you are prepared for the consequences to the relationship you could always point out that if he DOES pursue this legally perhaps there might some legal backlash for him when it comes out he had horribly neglected this cat for so long. I don't know the laws in your state, but there may be ramifications for his actions (or lack thereof).

ETA: I would also see if you can contact the other vet to back up your story on the UT blockages of the brother cat. Whatever info they might have and whatever notes they put in the file (make sure to ask for the notes, they might have some sort of opinion on how the cat is cared for). You can tell the story and have that as proof of your story. That may help set a precedence.

Also, yes. Take pictures of the house in deplorable condition so they can see where the animal is going back to and pictures of your own home so they can see where the cat is living now.

Last edited by MowMow; 03-13-2015 at 12:43 PM.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-13-2015, 01:44 PM
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First off- you're absolutely doing the right thing right now, as hard as it has been. It's going to strain the relationship you have with your dad, but this cat's life is at stake, and you obviously care for her so much.

Like both MowMow and librarychick are saying... get as much documentation as possible. I know you didn't take pictures of her in her horrible state, but get what you can. Pictures of the conditions of the house, especially as it relates to her- food dishes, litter boxes, etcetera. Get copies of the vet reports, get a statement from her vet. I'm no legal expert, but if you have documentation, the law may fall on your side if he decides to go after you legally. Most states have laws regarding abuse, neglect, failure to provide medical care, and this definitely sounds like it falls into one, if not several of those categories. It sounds like he may be in a bit of denial about the cat's state of health, so he may decide to try to get her back... Just gather as much evidence as you can so that you're prepared for it.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-13-2015, 04:56 PM
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You can make some anonymous calls to try and find out protocol in these cases or even the vet might have some insight. You can google it also. I know you can take care of the cat so hopefully that issue is solved. Is anyone helping your dad? You state his place is filthy; he just had open heart surgery. I don't know your family situation but I know I am a caregiver for my elderly mom and at some point people need help. If they are very poor, he might qualify for some help through the state and if not, he needs to at least have someone come in and clean. Our state has meals on wheels that are also supported by the state. Just a few ideas.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-13-2015, 05:03 PM
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My response is more simplistic, but pretty much the same as most of the above.
What you saved that kitty from is more abuse. You did the right thing by taking the cat. Just keep the kitty, he'll eventually get over it. "Dad, I'm sure it's not intentional on your part but the cat was obviously abused, and you just can't/won't see it, so that's the end of you having the cat. I love you, but that's how it's gonna be. I have photos, and photos don't lie, you need to face the fact the conditions were deplorable. It's not up for discussion, it's over."
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-13-2015, 06:45 PM
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I think my response to him would be something like:

Dad, I know you love her, but she needs more care than you're able to provide for her right now. Now that you've had your surgery, when you're feeling better able to take care of yourself and this house, then we can talk about her coming back to live with you. But for now just focus on you and your recovery.

Hopefully you can keep stonewalling him with some version of that. I would not use words like neglect or abuse as that will probably really set him off.

If he threatens legal action, just make sure you have everything documented. Write everything down now so you have a record and don't have to rely on your memory if there's a time delay. I think the worse thing that would happen is that you would get a visit from animal control and when you explain the situation they would have the right to say he isn't allowed to have her back.

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