Can I claim ownership of an "abandoned" cat?

by Kate
(Michigan)

OK this requires a little back story. My boyfriend and I previously lived with a couple we are friends with. The friend's house was on his dad's property along with his dad's welding business.


Since there are a lot of farms around there are also a lot of cats, but most of them are feral. We moved out but still visit our friends almost weekly.

Our friend's sister dropped their cat off on the property because it had fleas. They claimed they "visited" the cat but never provided shelter, food, etc.

After a few months of seeing this cat numerous times by the front door, my boyfriend and I decided we would try to take him in.

We asked our friends whom we used to live with if it was OK. They agreed. We've had the cat for almost a week now and have bought food, litter, toys, etc.

Now our friend's sister wants him back claiming they now have money to get rid of the fleas. What can I do to keep him?

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this cat was abandoned
by: Elic

Seven and a half years ago I found an adorable kitten loose in an apartment complex. I took her home. A day or so later, a kid came by and said she was her kitten, but her mother had put the kitten out on the porch.

Now, this would've been like putting a toddler outside unsupervised. I felt no guilt about taking the kitten home and told the child so.

She was the last cat I took home from that complex, the first was a young female who was allowed to roam, and she had 4 kittens, thankfully still inside. The couple said they were "tired" of her and then which kitten I wanted. I took the lot. All of them found great homes, and we kept one and he was a great cat.

This cat really was abandoned, and you did the kindest thing by taking it home. Pets are not disposable, they are family. You should ask this person, at least through your friends, what they would do if a child became inconvenient? Would they drop it off in the country?

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Original Poster
by: Anonymous

Thank you guys so much for the input!

I've been told to have him microchipped at the vet's.

Also the sister lives about 30-40 miles from me and the cat stays in my house so she most likely won't even see him.

I doubt she would try to take matters into the law and if she did I feel as though I would have a strong case.

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Abandoned cat
by: Jean

As far as I'm concerned, any cat outside, with no collar and comes for food, as well as being outside at night, is a cat "at large". Cats should NOT be allowed out. I watch and wait. Presto! The cat comes home with me. If the vet finds the cat is chipped, they call the owner. If it happens again, it's mine.

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Abandoned
by: Anonymous

https://www.animallaw.info/article/detailed-discussion-legal-rights-and-duties-lost-pet-disputes#id-3

Looking at '1. Designations of Found Property As Abandoned, Mislaid or Lost' it sounds as if the cat would count as abandoned, in which case I would think the ownership rights would have passed to the owners of the property which they then passed to you.

https://www.animalleague.org/blog/advice/pet-legal-advice/rescued-feral-kittens/ 'The burden to bring such a lawsuit generally falls on the person not in possession.'

I don't know what sort of person the sister is but it might be wise to keep the cat indoors where she can't reach it.

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