Clovis, CA asked in Animal / Dog Law and Landlord - Tenant for California

Q: Can I keep my roomate's cat?

I am the property manager of the house I rent. 2 roomates J and R. R is great. J has not been. She's loud during quiet hours and has brought shopping carts onto the property. But the cat situation is the worst part. I helped her rescue Katy Kat when her ex abandoned the cat to spca; J has stayed 7 nights in 2 months, I go weeks without seeing her. I have been paying for the food and litter. R and I care for the cat, groom her (at 1 she had never been brushed) and helped Katy while she had anxiety of basically being abandoned. I have cats here already and Katy gets along well with them, she has 24/7 company. Katy sleeps with R and comes to her whenever she calls for her; they are bonded to each other. J gave her 30 days notice 3/1; I plan on telling J that we are keeping Katy but would like to be within the law, what can I do? If it helps, we have had multiple conversations about her lack of care for the cat and the cat is not on the lease.

1 Lawyer Answer
William John Light
William John Light
  • Animal & Dog Law Lawyer
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: No, you can't keep somebody's cat because you don't like how they care for it. Paying for food and litter is not ownership. Brushing a cat is not evidence of ownership. Owning several cats does not give you ownership of somebody else's cat. If you want the cat, offer to buy it. If you are concerned about the care provided to the cat, call Animal Control.

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