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Neighbour has “stolen” our cat and is now asking for us to pay for the vet’s bill

(212 Posts)
Wouldcouldcantwont Wed 10-Jun-20 12:57:37

Our cat has been missing on and off for nearly a year. I say on and off as he has appeared twice in that time but he seemed like a completely different cat. He was exceptionally nervous and as fat as butter. We got him about 6 years ago from a shelter and were told he was a garden cat. Before he was in the shelter he was a stray and used to go mad if he was indoors with the door closed (when he had an op and had to stay in to recover he caused loads of damage but we didn’t mind as it wasn’t his fault). He had a little cat house outside, and he lived happily in the garden and was know and loved by our neighbours on the street. He suddenly went missing one day, which turned into weeks and then months. We went out looking for him, but nothing (apart from the two strange visits).
Well today we’ve had a knock at the door from a woman saying she has been feeding and looking after him but now he’s unwell. She wants to take him to the the vets but........(hints at wanting us to pay). The thing is she has already taken him as she doesn’t live on our road and let slip that the vet wants to talk to us, plus how would she know our address (obviously his chip was scanned at the vets)?
I’m so conflicted! I’m happy he’s been found , worried that he’s unwell (off his food apparently), but can’t help thinking she must have trapped him in her house. I want him back with us, but if she is going to try keeping him again, I don’t see why I should pay. It’s not about the money honestly. I want him back, but I don’t want to keep him indoors all the time as I think that‘s cruel. He loves his freedom (obviously loves his food too now!). She took the decision out of my hands about taking him to the vet. She’s “had” him for nearly a year now and didn’t bother to find us before she thought he needed to visit the vet (she also took him to one I don’t like and they happen to be very expensive). What would you do? Thanks.

OP’s posts: |
JesusInTheCabbageVan Wed 10-Jun-20 13:00:05

If she insists, present her with a bill for rental of your cat.

Shoxfordian Wed 10-Jun-20 13:01:24

I would tell her she's responsible for the cat now including vet bills

HibiscusPot Wed 10-Jun-20 13:02:05

If he goes to vet surely only you can collect if the chip is scanned? Ring round local vets to work out which, let them know to release to you

RonniePickering Wed 10-Jun-20 13:04:31

What would I do? Go round and get my cat back, and deal with any insolence coming from the cat thief 😳

Chloemol Wed 10-Jun-20 13:04:52

You have a choice. Either accept she has the cat now, advise her it’s her responsibility and you will get the chip data changed over to her and she sorts it

Or she hands the cat back to you, and you take it got your vet. She can lay the vet she took it to, as she should have at least tried to find the owner before she took on the responsibility

Then she leaves the cat alone when’s it wanders again

Postmanbear Wed 10-Jun-20 13:05:56

I would say you haven’t noticed anything wrong with the cat as you haven’t seen him but if and when he returns you will take him to the vets yourself if he seems unwell.
Crazy woman!

listsandbudgets Wed 10-Jun-20 13:06:12

The vet shouldn't have given her your details. We found a dog and took it to be scanned and they were quite clear they couldn't tell us any of the details as it was against data protection. They did find the owner though who came to pick it up from the vets.

The vets should have contacted you directly.

Nousernamehistory Wed 10-Jun-20 13:08:12

The vet shouldn't have give your address to a complete stranger after scanning the chip. I'd be calling them to complain about a serious data breach.

KitchenConfidential Wed 10-Jun-20 13:09:06

The vet shouldn't have given her your details


Ninkanink Wed 10-Jun-20 13:09:07

The vet absolutely should not have given her your details! Raise hell about that one, and report them too! Really shit of them, actually. And illegal.

I also agree with others - she pays for vets she has engaged and hands the cat back to you today. Or she takes full responsibility for cat, you hand over ownership, and she still pays the vets.


AftonGlen Wed 10-Jun-20 13:09:30

I thought it was quite common for Tom cats to do this. We had a ginger Tom who came to our garden as a young fellow and we thought he was abandoned/stray and took him in.
He was well known in the street, could get a piece at anyone's door as they say! He ended up going to live with a woman down the road but it was all his choice.
Anytime he needed the vet the neighbour and my parents halfed in.
I wouldn't assume your neighbour stole your cat, my experience of male cats is they can be quite transient.

PumbaasCucumbas Wed 10-Jun-20 13:09:49


You have a choice. Either accept she has the cat now, advise her it’s her responsibility and you will get the chip data changed over to her and she sorts it

Or she hands the cat back to you, and you take it got your vet. She can lay the vet she took it to, as she should have at least tried to find the owner before she took on the responsibility

Then she leaves the cat alone when’s it wanders again

Exactly this ^^

caringcarer Wed 10-Jun-20 13:10:34

I would call police and explain the situation to them, asking them to have a word with the cat thief. I would be telling her the police have been informed about how she stole your cat and if it goes missing again the police will know where to look to get your cat back. Take cat to vets for treatment explain to vet too, and tell vet to only release to you. Once released keep cat in for three weeks so he will not return to thief's house, then let in and out as normal. I have 6 cats and they come and go as they please through the cat flap. They come in to feed but happily spend a large part of the day, especially in the summer roaming in garden or neighborhood. They come in several times each day. I would be furious is someone stole any of my cats. This also means your cat will be due a vaccination if it has been missing for a year.

LuluBellaBlue Wed 10-Jun-20 13:12:43

I’d be straight on to the vets asking for an explanation- if the cat scanned as yours they shouldn’t have treated him (unless an emergency) and definitely shouldn’t hand out your name and address!
However if she already knew your address - did she kidnap the cat??

MyOwnSummer Wed 10-Jun-20 13:12:54

I can't believe the brass neck of the woman. She's a CF of the highest order.

The Vet practise has broken GDPR by providing your details. Raise hell with them too.

AftonGlen Wed 10-Jun-20 13:14:11


I would be furious if anyone hurt my cat but if someone looking after after it ventured over there...not so much

petrocellihouse Wed 10-Jun-20 13:14:19

I would tell her to stump up! Even if you get your cat back, I'd say it's highly likely that once let out, he will return to the catnapper, and you will be left with a vets bill and no cat once again.

Standupthisisnotateaparty Wed 10-Jun-20 13:17:16

I would definitely be raising hell about the vets giving the details to this woman. Ask her for the vets name.

Then go to the police. I assume you are worried you will pay bill only for this woman to take cat again.

RedRed9 Wed 10-Jun-20 13:19:12

Did you ask her how she’s had your cat all this time and never checked his chip?!

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 10-Jun-20 13:19:19

The vet shouldn't have given her your address! Is it possible it's a scam? This happened to a friend of mine - she lost her cat and the 'finders' replied to a facebook post, got in touch then tried to shake her down for £200 quid they'd 'spent' on baskets and food (of course they hadn't spent anything!).

This happened quite quickly though, but maybe she's just bored of your cat, always knew where you were, and is now shaking you down for an imaginary vets bill?

Nottherealslimshady Wed 10-Jun-20 13:20:10

It's hard. He's obviously decided he'd rather stay there so he'll keep going back. But I'd want my cat back. I'd pay the bill, keep him in the house for a bit and put a tracker on him. Every time he goes to hers go and get him back. Tell her you'll have her for theft if she let's him back in her house.

tiredanddangerous Wed 10-Jun-20 13:20:43

Has the vet never heard of GDPR? Your address should never have been given out. I would be telling her that as she stole the cat it is now her responsibility!

KitKat1985 Wed 10-Jun-20 13:21:37

I'd give her two choices:
1) She keeps the cat and takes on full responsibility for it including vets bills.
2) She gives you your cat back and you pay the vets bill.

cstaff Wed 10-Jun-20 13:22:11

Why didn't she check his chip years ago when he "strayed" and send him back. CF

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