How can I get custody of a cat from a friend?

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How can I get custody of a cat from a friend?

About 4 months ago my friend had asked me to pet sit his cat because he was going to live with his sister until he moved into his new place. He told me if things workout with his cat and if the cat got adjusted to my house, that I could keep the cat. We love her and want to kept her. For the past month I’ve asked him for the cat’s papers because I want to take her to the vet to get checked out. However, he keeps giving me excuses and tells me that he’ll get back to me but doesn’t. I don’t want for him to one day come and take her.

Asked on October 11, 2011 under Business Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If there was an enforceable agreement between you and the friend--e.g. "if you take care of the cat for four months, you can keep the cat"--you might be able to enforce it in court, as you could enforce any other contract. However, an agreement that is not definite or is subject to the cat-owner's whim (e.g. he can decide if things "worked out"--there is no enforcable objective measure) is not likely to be enforceable. Since the cat is ultimately his--he is the owner--it would appear that in the circumstance you describe, he could take the cat back.

Why not buy the cat from him? Offer him something--$20? $50--for the cat and get an agreement of sale. If you buy her, she's yours.


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