My girlfriend at the time wanted me to take care of her cat because the apartment she lived in didn't allow pets. I took care of the cat while she moved to a new house. It's been over a year and she has moved to three different places. She now wants her cat back, but I've grown attached to it and have paid for medical and food needs. Am I legally allowed to keep the cat?
I cannot say how a court would decide rights in any given pet custody dispute. When people cannot agree on a pet custody arrangement and a lawsuit is commenced, the court will consider not only who purchased or adopted an animal but also whether the animal was subsequently given away, sold, or abandoned. A year is a long time to leave an animal in someone else’s care. In determining ownership rights, courts may also consider whether boarding fees were paid, who has been the animal’s primary caregiver and who has been paying for the animal’s needs (and for how long), under whose name the animal is licensed, registered, and microchipped, etc. Some courts have also considered the animal’s well-being. I hope this all works out for the cat!
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