So, with all of this..... how do I get my cat back. Calling and making accusations over the phone will get me no where. Sitting back and doing nothing will do the same.
Do I have a private investigator track her down and find out where she has Aries?
A: That will run you at least $1,000. So, probably not a good plan -- though it may be your only option.
Do I call her and lure her into a confession.... like. "I will write you a $1200 check now for the deposit, but I need you to give me Aries back.1" I could record the call and would have hard evidence to give to the police that she stole my property.
A: Recording a phone call without the other party's express or implied consent is a crime, and you could be arrested and charged, regardless of whether or not your ex took your cat. Penal Code 630 et seq. She may claim that it was also her cat, because she fed it and cared for it, paid for food, litter, toys, etc. It's not cut and dried. So, this this also is a bad plan -- unless your ex first makes an extortionate offer, e.g.: "Oh, you want your cat back, do you? Well that will cost you $1,200." You could record that, because there is an exception for extortion threats in the eavesdropping law. Penal Code 633.5.
I mean, the DVPO is good moving forward, but I need to get my cat back first. This is an exotic breed cat, they range anywhere from $1000-$3000. So It makes perfect sense that she would take the cat to not only get the lease deposit money she signed her writes away too... and out of vengeance and malice due to our awful break-up.
A: There is no easy way to get the evidence you need -- unless you know of a mutual friend who could visit her, observe the cat, and then testify in your behalf. That would mean betraying your ex, so it could be difficult to find such a person. But, that's the only thing I can think of that might work.
I can talk all day and night about the law and how it applies. But, I'm not a professional investigator, so collecting evidence is a little out of scope for me.
Hope this helps.