My sister had been gifted a cat about a year ago. After a week of having him she decided to bring him to my parents house so that they could care for him while she went to rehab. She hasn’t come to pick him back up after a year, and she does have an apartment now, as well as cares for a small dog. I paid for all his food and exams at the vet as well as a neuter, updated vaccines, and chip implant. She wants the cat back now, but I don’t believe she can care for him due to her addiction and failure to hold a job, as well as how she doesn’t properly care for the dog she currently has. Due to her failure to care of the animal before, as well as the failure to care for her current animal does that make the cat mine since I properly take care of him?
Rights are often not very clear when a person pet-sits and the animal’s “parent” leaves the animal for longer than the agreed upon time. Also, based on your question, it seems as if the cat was left in your parents’ care so your rights are even more questionable. Ownership does not transfer to a caregiver simply because the caregiver decides that the animal is better off with him or her. People who believe that their animal is being wrongfully withheld may sue to try to get the animal returned. If litigated, a court could decide that an animal should be deemed abandoned or gifted depending on the facts and circumstances of each case, particularly if an animal has been left for an extended period of time. I hope that your family can amicably work out a custody/visitation arrangement that is in the best interests of this cat!
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