Need to know if I am in the wrong.. - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-19-2012, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Question Need to know if I am in the wrong..

I am new here, I have 2 cats currently. I saw this website and thought it would be helpful when those questions pop up, and need answers from prople who are "cat" people.
I have a big dilema, A stray cat showed up outside our house about 3 years ago, she was injured, and we nursed her back to health and let her stay inside during the below 0 weather. I put flyers out, callled the vet and police with a lost cat description. She grew to be part of our family, after 1 year I told my 7yr old that I dont think that the cat has a home and she will now be our cat. She is now very attached to us, she sleeps in bed with us, and is always looking for our attention.
A few weeks ago a co-worker stopped by my house and said that looks like my cat, she then came over that night with a photo, and yes the cat does look like hers. I guess it had gotten lost. to make a long story short, she wants the cat back. I could see if it was even a year after we found her, but 3 years. She is an indoor cat that goes outside once and a while (she refuses when it is rainy or cold) The previous owner has a heated garage, but says they would let her in alot. We love her and want to keep her, she was maybe a year old when they lost her. What to do in this situation, help any suggestions?
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-20-2012, 03:25 AM
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Welcome!

I would try to find out just how badly they want her back. Obviously they didn't post any "lost cat" flyers because it sounds as though you would have seen them. And they certainly didn't search too hard because they didn't see your found flyers.

I would ask to be reimbursed not only for all the vet bills, but also food and litter for the last three years. It doesn't sound as though they were as bonded as you, since the cat basically lived in a heated garage at their house.

On the other hand, can she make your life a living heck at work? I'm thinking if this is the first time she's been at your house, you're obviously not BFFs.

******

Hmmmm, just re-read your post and realized that she asked for the cat back a few weeks ago. What's happened since?

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-20-2012, 06:06 AM
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So this co-worker never microchipped her cat, never put a collar and ID on the cat?

You put the posters up when you first found the kitty as a stray, right? And the co-worker has just NOW shown up?

How long have you worked with her? How authentic does the photo she provided look? Did you put a photo on the flyer? Does it seem like the photo might be a fake, or a copy of the photo you put on the flyer?

Is the co-worker able to describe the cat in DETAIL, not just show a photo? i.e., does the cat have any interesting, unusual, or semi-hidden markings (like on the belly) that the co-worker can describe?

How far away does the co-worker live from you? How far did this cat allegedly "travel" before she came to encounter you?

It's hard to just make a blanket recommendation without knowing some more details about the situation.

I've had a somewhat similar experience - I found a stray hanging around my house a few weeks ago. I fed him, took him to my vet to be scanned for a chip, and he WAS chipped. We tried to get in touch with the owner for several days, and finally got a hold of her. Apparently she had lost the cat TWO YEARS prior! She said she already had two other cats and asked if I would keep him. I couldn't, since my elderly cat has health issues, but I was a little weirded out that she didn't seem too enthused about getting her cat back, but I guess she had already moved on with her life after he had disappeared. Now, my stray was obviously well cared-for when I found him, so I think someone else had taken him in for those two years.

However, after THREE years, frankly put, this cat is no longer your co-workers cat, even if it literally did belong to her three years ago. The cat has lived with YOU for three years. You have loved her, cared for her, and spent money on her. You would have, legally speaking, a darn good case that you are now the legal owner of this cat.

Besides, unless this woman can produce some kind of receipt of purchase or undeniable proof that it IS her cat, she can't exactly demand it back from you. She wouldn't have much of a legal leg to stand on if the cat isn't microchipped or tattooed - even if she produced a receipt that said "Purchased one black and white kitten from Petco" or somesuch, to prove the cat was hers, the description "black and white" (for example) isn't exactly undeniable proof that this is her cat.

Wall of text aside, my PERSONAL opinion is, to wit, screw her. Your kid is attached to this kitty now - go ahead, let this co-worker try to take kitty away, and let her watch the kid cry over it. Now, again, I don't know the full story, but it doesn't seem like this woman made any kind of real effort to find her cat when it was lost three years ago. Why does she deserve it back now - if it's even hers? I'm not unconvinced that maybe she has mistaken the cat for hers - unless the cat looks VERY unusual (say, it's bright blue with purple spots), I'd have to see a whole lot of photos before I was convinced that it was HER cat.


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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-20-2012, 06:17 AM
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Some links that are somewhat pertinent/similar stories.
http://www.justanswer.com/law/13g8v-owns-cat.html
Legal Rights and Duties in Lost Pet Disputes


http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/334000/Cat-fight-over-who-owns-the-pet-who-went-astray
http://www.cats.org.uk/uploads/documents/cat_care_leaflets/EG10-Catsandthelaw.pdf
http://www.defra.gov.uk/publications/files/pb13332-cop-cats-091204.pdf

I know the last few links are UK-based, but I don't know where the OP lives. Basically the links are food for thought.

It really sounds like you have a STRONGER claim for ownership than your co-worker. Start gathering receipts from your vet, photos, etc., anything to prove you have been caring for this little one for the last three years.


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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-20-2012, 07:54 AM
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Wow - LakotaWolf took the words right out of my mouth!!

Very suspicious story indeed....3 years later..I mean, the whole thing makes no sense. Does the coworker even live near you? And the nerve, after three years "give me the cat back" based on a photo? A lot of cats look alike. I've seen cats in people's signatures here that I swear are my Lestat's double! Definitely go with the identifying characteristics - special marks, scars, more proof etc. This coworker seems a little strange to me. She/he didn't look for the cat - you said you made an effort with posters, police, et cetera...did she ever mention it at work? "I've lost my cat!!" or anything?

Good luck with this dilemma!! You've provided her with a happy, loving home and a warm place to snuggle in bed and you are certainly NOT in the wrong.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-20-2012, 10:05 AM
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That was my question, does the co worker live near you? What does the cat look like? If it's black (or any solid) or tabby, plenty of cats look very much alike. Someone on the forum even has one that looks like my Muffin with a mark on her lip and everything. Imo you have had the cat and cared for the cat longer than her, so it would be yours now. You have vet records showing you took care of it and its injury. I would not give it to her.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-20-2012, 10:12 AM
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yeah i wouldnt believe her.....keep that kitty!


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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-20-2012, 10:44 AM
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You're not wrong. I would absolutely ask for proof that the cat is hers.

I know that I (and most of the people on CF) can produce proof of ownership by vet records that include a description of the cat, microchip (if she's not done by you already get it done ASAP), pet insurance, affidavits by friends, etc. In fact my apartment complex even has both of their pictures on file in case they ever escape and someone calls them in to the office.

I can tell you there is *NO WAY* in heaven or **** I'd give up either of my boys because someone showed up after 3 years and said they were theirs. On that note, I wouldn't have to GUESS if they were mine. I know every freckle, anomaly, smudge, and scar on both of them that would tell me without a shadow of a doubt if it was one of my boys.

At this point you've had her longer than they did. I would contact the vet and get a copy of all your records and any food bills if you keep them. I truly doubt she'll take this as far as court BUT I really doubt they'd win if they tried.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-20-2012, 10:59 AM
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Guilt her tell her that your child will be heartbroken because the cat has become their kitty... anyone who would tear an animal away from a child has no business having that animal in the first place.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-20-2012, 11:25 AM
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You are NOT in the wrong! Keep YOUR kitty. Like the others have said gather any and all documentation you could get your hands on to prove ownership of your pet. Hopefully, you microchipped her but even if you didn't make her prove it's her cat. DO NOT GIVE her your pet. You are the true owner now. Possession is nine-tenths of the law. If you actually possess something, you have a stronger legal claim to owning it than someone who merely says it belongs to him or her. Now, someone correct me if I'm wrong. But I would rather lose a co-worker "friendship" than a precious member of my family.
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