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# Legal Issue: Possession of Cat Dispute

## Background:
I, an 18-year-old male, entrusted my 17-year-old female friend with the care of my cat while I was away at college. After almost a year, I attempted to reclaim my cat by contacting her in December, but received no response. Despite further attempts in January through various means of communication, including calls and messages, I have been unable to retrieve my cat. It has been approximately four months since I last had contact with her, and it appears that she has blocked me on Instagram. The fact that she is a minor complicates the situation, as I have been unable to locate her parents’ contact information. We both resided in South Dakota in the past, but she has since moved to Texas.

## Current Situation:
The lack of response and the blocked communication lead me to believe that this situation may not be a mere misunderstanding. As a result, I am exploring legal options to reclaim my cat. While considering hiring a private investigator as a last resort, I am uncertain about the affordability of this option and am seeking alternative courses of action.

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The AI Legalese Decoder can assist in navigating the legal complexities of this situation by providing insights into relevant laws and regulations concerning pet ownership and reclamation. By offering guidance on potential steps to take, such as involving legal professionals or law enforcement authorities, the AI Legalese Decoder can help in formulating a strategic approach to resolving the dispute and ultimately retrieving the cat. With its capability to analyze and interpret legal terminology, the AI Legalese Decoder can offer valuable assistance in understanding the legal implications of the matter and determining the most effective course of action.

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View Reference


  • fullynabi

    I’m sorry to say OP, but I don’t think you have many legal rights here. Did she understand that it was a temporary arrangement? Was the temporary arrangement outlined in any form of writing? How do you know the cat is still in her possession? Unfortunately, I don’t think the police will care (especially if she’s over state lines). I don’t know if a lawyer would take this seriously either… 🙁

  • fresitachulita

    Talk to a lawyer your school might have legal aid. They might b able to send her a letter that might scare her or her parents into getting in touch with you.

  • i_love_chins

    Call the police and give then the address.

  • KidenStormsoarer

    file a police report for theft of an animal, and transportation of stolen property across state lines. then get in touch with the police in her new city, and do the same.

  • CraneForge

    I’m a veterinarian, and I would check with your vet on laws in your area. They can differ greatly, and sometimes a microchip or name on vet records is not enough to prove ownership. Sometimes, just being the primary caregiver for a couple of weeks can legally make someone an owner. For example, in many places if you find a stray, take it in and care for it for a couple of weeks, it is legally yours even if a previous family lost it and has been looking for it.

    You would definitely need proof of ownership (like name on vet records, etc) and evidence that you are either paying this person to care for your cat or providing money to cover vet care or pet food. I would also save any texts or emails that show you both discussing that the cat is yours and you expect it back at some point.

    As another commenter indicated, gather this evidence and have a lawyer write a letter threatening legal action. That would likely be enough to scare them into returning your cat.

  • sl4ught3rhus

    It’s her cat now

  • milfnnncookies

    Fuckkk that I’m showing up at their house and getting my damn cat back ! People are so fucking shitty. I need to take a break from the Internet

  • unholyslaminister

    you’re not getting that cat back dude

  • Atticus_Peppermint

    Have you kept in regular contact with her the entire time? Checking on your cat, getting updates, photos, FaceTimeing, texts, messages, etc? Did you send her money for food, kitty litter, vet care, her time, care & love? If not, you abandoned your cat. You don’t leave a beloved pet with someone, then have zero contact for a year and expect that they haven’t loved and cared for this pet and figured that you had disappeared. I would assume the same thing. I know if my fur babies had to be away from me for any amount of time, I’d be checking in daily. If I were going to be gone a year, I wouldn’t go unless my babies could go as well. You probably won’t get the abandoned cat back. If you had kept in regular contact with her, you’d know exactly where she is and how to reach her. Obviously you carried on and forgot all about the cat.

  • Buhdzlightyear

    A year???

  • Desmond_is_C00l

    Idk what to do about this but please update us, I really hope that justice happens and you get your cat back!

  • jmcquaid92

    All she had to do was go to the vet and have her name as the owner and it’s no longer your animal legally. I know someone who lost a cat like this in Virginia to roommates in a different state and couldn’t do anything legally.

  • _disco__inferno_

    How often did you keep in contact with her for that year?

  • Nova-star561519

    Do you know her current address? If you look up the address on white pages you can see the occupants names (including the parents) then look the parents up on white pages thru their name and zip code you should be able to pull up their phone number there

  • correctionhumanbot

    When I was 17 I was really stupid so I completely understand the situation . Have you seen pictures of your cat after the incident where she got out of the house when you visited? I doubt your cat is still under the care of the people that you think. This outdoor-indoor thing rarely works, speaking from experience.

  • thekill3rpeach

    Did you break any agreements on your end of things? did you supply all the food, litter, vet care etc? if you didn’t stay up to date on contact, supplies etc then most places consider an animal “surrendered” after 5 days (if its a stray) so not sure if maybe this would be similar

  • Reasonable-Crazy-132

    Just a thought—are you sure your cat is still with her? I can’t help but wonder if she lost the cat or it died under her care, and she freaked out and blocked you as a response. Really hope this isn’t the case and you get him back, but possibly an idea worth considering. Her behavior is really odd.

    Also, download ALL communications with this person to prove the nature of your arrangements should you file with the police.

  • FuckYouDontLookAtMe

    This is a terrible situation, and I’m sorry you aren’t getting the answers you’re looking for but instead judgment. Starting college with a pet is hard, I don’t think it’s fair for one to assume you don’t care for your critter due to school rules and pursuing higher education. I lack any true advice, but I do hope you get your cat back. This has to be a devastating experience. If the cops don’t want to be involved at first, they probably won’t stop you from taking the cat back either though. Best of luck man

  • Midnight-sparky

    lol you had someone watch your cat for a year….. they moved to a different state and now you want the cat back. Go get a different cat geez. I’m sure a judge is gonna laugh at you and make you pay legal fees

  • PartyPaleontologist6

    Look up her phone number online. If she’s a minor, her parents’ names are probably tied to the account. That may help you find them. is great for stuff like this and is truly actually free

  • Big-Beat-1443

    It’s a cat, there’s plenty more out there

  • badphotoguy

    She let him outside on purpose when you were leaving so she could keep him.

  • HungryDisaster8240

    What do you believe is actually best for the cat? A loving stable home or your possession of them? Are you a responsible caretaker? Where are your parents in all this?

  • extra_napkins_please

    How long did you have the cat before you gave it to your friend and went away to college? If the cat has actually been living in a different household for longer than it lived with you…it may have adjusted to and attached to a different owner at this point.

  • Alone-Style-6218

    It’s their cat now.

  • Thin-Progress-99

    I’m sorry to say this dude but I have a gut feeling that the cat is no longer with her. Maybe it got out and never came back and she feels too bad about it, hence the blocking. The only other explanation is she wants to keep the cat but my gut is telling me she doesn’t even have him anymore…Could definitely be wrong but it just seems the most logical reason to ghost in this case.

  • funeralfairy

    yeah ngl you’re really stupid lmao. why you would let somebody move STATES away with your cat under any circumstance is just baffling.

    sorry you lost your cat but genuinely all you can do is move on.

  • New_Function_6407

    I’m pretty sure you’ve lost possession of your cat. File a police report for the theft but that’s about all you can do.

  • direyew

    The cat has settled in. Leave it be. It lives with her now. Don’t uproot the poor thing again.

  • credij

    A year?! She wasn’t “watching” your cat at that point. You abandoned it.

  • eastguy08

    call the police

  • Ivoelzke9147

    just adopt another one n take ur L lol paying for a private investigator over a cat is a little obsurd lmao

  • Khayrum117

    Why didn’t you just keep your cat at your parents house like where it lived before or find an apartment that allowed cats instead of living on campus?

    You had options but instead chose to basically gift the cat to your friend. I’m sorry but let this be a lesson learned.