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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3176
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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I left my boyfriend. We had a cat that he purchased and I cared

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I left my boyfriend. We had a cat that he purchased and I cared for. Like food, grooming, vet bills. Do I have a right to take it?



Traditionally under the law, pets are considered to be personal property. This generally means that the person who paid for the pet is considered to be the legal owner of the pet. This being the case, it is probably not a good idea for you to simply take the pet. However, if you decided to take your boyfriend to a small claims court, the court would likely consider the fact that you cared for the cat, and it might award you the cat based on the best interests of the cat. If the court found that you were a better care taker of the cat and could provide it with a better environment, a court might award the cat to you.



Customer: replied 9 years ago.
If for some reason that they wouldnt allow me to have him, because it would be my word against his as the care giver, is there something I could do? Any suggestions on this matter?

Well, you could always offer to purchase the cat from your boyfriend. If you do make sure you get some agreement in writing.


If you believe that your boyfriend is mistreating the cat or neglecting it, I suppose you could file some type of complaint with whatever local authority exists in your jurisdiction that prevents the mistreatment of pets. I don't know what that authority might be for Cleveland. It might be a local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or a local Humane Society.



Customer: replied 9 years ago.

Thats a good suggestion. However, I do have every reciept from what I have purchased for him, all of his paper work, and the vet bills and copies of the checks that I wrote out.

If possible, that may be enough to convince him that I would win the case and talk him into giving me the cat or, signing him over. My last question about this is, if we were to go to court, which Im not sure he could even pull that off due to his lack of funds, that would cost me court fees as well, would I be able to counter sue for the cat and court costs? Thank you so much for all of your help.

The evidence that you have (vet bills, etc.) will be strong evidence to a court that you would be a better care taker of the cat.


Yes, you would be able to counter sue for the cat. For the small claims court in your area, the court fees should be minimal. And if your boyfriend files the suit, he would be responsible for the court fees. It is the responsibility of the person filing the lawsuit who is responsible for court fees.



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