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Old 11-08-2009, 08:59 PM
 
11,682 posts, read 14,429,255 times
Reputation: 19126

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I have a neighbor who has never taken great care of their pets. They have 2 dogs that incessantly bark in the back yard. They have 3 cats. 2 of the cats stay inside, but one comes and goes as she pleases.

The outside kitty does not get attention from them at all. If she is not sitting right at the door when they open it, she does not get to go in to eat (they don't feed her outside).

Here's the problem: The outside kitty has adopted me. It started with me just petting her when I opened the garage, then she came up to me one day all bloodied and scratched up from a fight. I told her owners, but they didn't take her to the vet, so I cleaned her up and put triple antibiotic on her wounds. Since then she has been at my house all the time. I started brushing her and trimming mats from her hair and her owner noticed - asked me about it, and called the cat a "traitor."

A few days later, her cat food bowl was sitting by my garage. I recognized it because I pet-sat for them. I was not feeding the cat at the time, but I noticed she started losing weight, so I did start. She gained her weight back so I can only assume they stopped feeding her when they put her bowl on my drive way. She is at the door every morning waiting to be fed.

I leave the garage door cracked so she can get in out of the rain and cold and put a bed out for her to sleep on. The only problem is that in about 6 months I am going to be moving and I don't know what to do with her. I already have 2 cats that I adopted and a dog. I can keep her with me as an outside cat, just can't let her inside.

In your opinion, do you think the giving of the bowl was a sign that they were turning her over to me? Can I legally take her with me if I move? The neighbors seem to be ticked with me since they found out she likes me more. I'm afraid that if I leave her they will neglect her and there might not be someone else that will take care of her...
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Old 11-08-2009, 11:39 PM
 
Location: where the moss is taking over the villages
2,178 posts, read 4,845,815 times
Reputation: 1237
It seems the cat is legally yours. You know deep inside your heart that you are the only hope for this animal. So, what will you do?

I know what I would do. I'd do the right thing & continue to be the cat's only ally.
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Old 11-09-2009, 06:56 AM
 
1,688 posts, read 6,912,114 times
Reputation: 1988
Quote:
Originally Posted by spinx View Post
and her owner noticed - asked me about it, and called the cat a "traitor."

Can I legally take her with me if I move? The neighbors seem to be ticked with me since they found out she likes me more. I'm afraid that if I leave her they will neglect her and there might not be someone else that will take care of her...
This isn't as uncommon as you think - i.e. people feeling rejected by an animal so turn around and tell the animal to "sod off". Infantile? Absolutely. Rare? Nope. I also think your fears are justified - they've rejected the cat and if you leave they sound like the types to think this is going teach the cat "a lesson". You know and I know all the cat is going to know is that this nice person that he/she really liked isn't there anymore, end of story. But I'd bet money they'd be of the "See? Told you so, that's what you get" attitude to the cat. Whether or not they start feeding her again is anyone's guess. It would be a risk.

One thing though - questions of legality really, but really, need to be answered by someone who is qualified in your state. Every state has different laws and if you're concerned, you need to speak to someone who has the knowledge you need.

That said.... if you are willing and able to take the cat with you, then all you need to do is come up with a plan that's smarter than your neighbours.

My suggestion is to turn this thing around (in their minds): approach them with your tale of woe - how you have to relocate due to job or family matters and how you're so sad to be leaving, how lonely it's going to be for you - you don't have any friends where you're going and you're just going to miss that darn cat so much. Gosh, you really wish - more than anything in the world - there was a way you could take the cat with you. (Stop and judge reaction.) Lay it on thicker if necessary - i.e. the point of this is that by letting you take the cat, they are doing YOU a favour. As galling as this may be, swallow it for the sake of the cat. If you approach it that you're taking a problem off their hands, they'll probably tell you to eff off. By turning it around, they're in the driver's seat (or they think they are) and they can justify it in their own minds as them deciding to help someone out. Trust me - if this becomes about "property" (the cat) it isn't going to go anywhere. It has to be about them helping you out, their good deed.

If they agree, in a few days tell them that you've found out that where you will be living demands proof of ownership - no, there's no problem you having a cat, but the landlord/apartment management likes to see proof - it stops people collecting strays off the streets don't you know? Write out on a piece of paper a description of the cat - colour, breed (domestic short/med/long hair is enough), sex, name, age, etc - attach a photo if you can. Add a line something like "Ownership transferred on _____" and fill in the date. Get one of them to sign is as "Former owner" (add printed name and address) and then you sign as "current owner" with your current address.

*POOF* - you own a cat. I'm no lawyer, but I'd have thought that would cover all the bases.

Easy peasy, huh?

ETA: if it all does work, make 100 + 10% the cat is kept indoors only, no exception, until you leave. Best and safest for the cat and also the only foolproof way to ensure that nothing "funny" happens between now and when you go.
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Old 11-09-2009, 07:16 AM
 
Location: where the moss is taking over the villages
2,178 posts, read 4,845,815 times
Reputation: 1237
It seems to me that if you simply moved with the cat & kept it in the garage for at least a week (so it knows it's new home is with you, etc) - it would be fine.

I don't imagine those people would seek you out & make trouble. If the police or court were involved, I would, in your shoes, simply & matter of factly state the same facts you have stated here. Any judge or officer would see your compassion & logic.

It really isn't anything to be scared of, unless it's a purebred expensive cat you can be accused of stealing.

It's completely apparent that they don't care about the cat. If you were to try to engage them in any converstation, I would foresee them enjoying a ridiculous power play at the expense of the cat's & your feelings. I would NOT go there. I'd do it on the sly. And it would not be as dishonest as all the things you 've described them as being up to.

You know the right thing to do is just move with it.
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:21 AM
 
43,012 posts, read 92,294,185 times
Reputation: 30387
Quote:
Originally Posted by spinx View Post
In your opinion, do you think the giving of the bowl was a sign that they were turning her over to me? Can I legally take her with me if I move? The neighbors seem to be ticked with me since they found out she likes me more. I'm afraid that if I leave her they will neglect her and there might not be someone else that will take care of her...
Take the cat! It needs you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahkate_m View Post
It's completely apparent that they don't care about the cat. If you were to try to engage them in any converstation, I would foresee them enjoying a ridiculous power play at the expense of the cat's & your feelings. I would NOT go there. I'd do it on the sly. And it would not be as dishonest as all the things you 've described them as being up to.
I completely agree! I'd move the cat a few days before the moving truck comes. If they come over while you're packing and moving, you can simply tell them that the cat disappeared a week ago and you thought it was with them. If you're moving out of state and can't take the cat to your new place ahead of time, I'd put it in a kennel for a few days before the move so it's out of sight on moving day, then pick it up at the kennel when leaving town.
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Old 11-09-2009, 02:14 PM
 
4,628 posts, read 9,273,637 times
Reputation: 4238
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahkate_m View Post
It's completely apparent that they don't care about the cat. If you were to try to engage them in any converstation, I would foresee them enjoying a ridiculous power play at the expense of the cat's & your feelings. I would NOT go there. I'd do it on the sly. And it would not be as dishonest as all the things you 've described them as being up to.

You know the right thing to do is just move with it.
What sarahkate said. Emphatically so.

I was feeding a neighborhood cat. His name was Leonardo. Actually, I think the whole neighborhood was feeding him...he was kind of plump.

But lo and behold, when he got seriously ill, no one took him in. He hated me for awhile (got a lot of evil cat looks), but I took him to the vet and got him well.

Bingo! I spent money on him, his health and well-being had been neglected by his owners, which I could prove. Legally, that made me the official 'owner' of Leonardo. So sayeth the law (and a friend who's an attorney) in my state.

You're feeding the little critter. It's clear your neighbors abandoned the cat. You are likely the official owner of poor cat.
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Old 11-09-2009, 04:36 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,822 posts, read 56,000,461 times
Reputation: 19019
I would just take it and play ignorant if they ask. How are they going to know where you went?

Last edited by SouthernBelleInUtah; 11-10-2009 at 10:39 AM..
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Old 11-10-2009, 07:52 AM
 
700 posts, read 2,942,186 times
Reputation: 375
Quote:
Originally Posted by spinx View Post
I have a neighbor who has never taken great care of their pets. They have 2 dogs that incessantly bark in the back yard. They have 3 cats. 2 of the cats stay inside, but one comes and goes as she pleases.

The outside kitty does not get attention from them at all. If she is not sitting right at the door when they open it, she does not get to go in to eat (they don't feed her outside).

Here's the problem: The outside kitty has adopted me. It started with me just petting her when I opened the garage, then she came up to me one day all bloodied and scratched up from a fight. I told her owners, but they didn't take her to the vet, so I cleaned her up and put triple antibiotic on her wounds. Since then she has been at my house all the time. I started brushing her and trimming mats from her hair and her owner noticed - asked me about it, and called the cat a "traitor."

A few days later, her cat food bowl was sitting by my garage. I recognized it because I pet-sat for them. I was not feeding the cat at the time, but I noticed she started losing weight, so I did start. She gained her weight back so I can only assume they stopped feeding her when they put her bowl on my drive way. She is at the door every morning waiting to be fed.

I leave the garage door cracked so she can get in out of the rain and cold and put a bed out for her to sleep on. The only problem is that in about 6 months I am going to be moving and I don't know what to do with her. I already have 2 cats that I adopted and a dog. I can keep her with me as an outside cat, just can't let her inside.

In your opinion, do you think the giving of the bowl was a sign that they were turning her over to me? Can I legally take her with me if I move? The neighbors seem to be ticked with me since they found out she likes me more. I'm afraid that if I leave her they will neglect her and there might not be someone else that will take care of her...
We're in a similar situation......just not as critical or extreme. Out of a number of cats(at least seven) that a home behind us outside of our subdivision lets roam free,one of them has literally moved in here and adopted us. She is just starved for attention and love which we have given her. If we ever had to move,I'd definitely have to take her with us because if we left her,she would not be properly taken care of. Yes,I think that them giving you the bowl was a clear indication they are giving her to you. They have abandoned her and she would be much better off with you.
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Old 11-10-2009, 08:08 AM
 
Location: California
10,091 posts, read 36,871,285 times
Reputation: 22101
To me....they surrendering the bowl was the same as surrendering the cat. She's yours to take with you when the move comes. It doesn't sound as if they will care one way or the other.
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:29 PM
 
Location: Hartwell--IN THE City of Cincinnati
1,055 posts, read 3,654,206 times
Reputation: 907
I am just shocked, what rude neighbors! They dont deserve that cat.
Lord have mercy I wish I lived near you, I'd be knocking on someones door.

Thank you for taking care of that fur baby. He didnt ask to be brought into this world or being "owned" by people who see animals as things they can just give away...take him...RUN...dont look back. Lol. seriously, I am just shocked by their rudeness. Calling the cat a traitor, I would replied, "If he could talk--I can only imagine what he'd like to call you". Sorry...that wasn't nice of me but when I read your post my mouth was hanging open in shock the whole time.
Best of luck to you.
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