Law of Contract Concerning Cats

The law of contract concerning cats is, as you might expect, the same law of contract concerning any object, item or product. It is identically to the law of contract that governs a purchase at the checkout of a supermarket or when buying a car for example.

You don’t have to have an actual written contract when buying a cat. You don’t have a written contract when buying food from a store either.

However most (or many) purebred cat breeders will insist on the buyer signing a contract. Other transactions concerning the buying of a cat will probably not involve a formal contract. This does not mean that there is no contract. If the basic rules on the formation of a contract are present a contract will be construed to have been created.

The basic rule is that if there is offer and acceptance backed up by “consideration”, a contract has been created provided there is an intention to enter into a contract.

The word “consideration” usually means the handing over of money for the item bought. Consideration must be sufficient and be accepted by the seller. Scam transactions whereby the parties are trying to reduce the payment of tax for example, by one party paying an undervalue would undermine the contract.

The act of offer and acceptance is usually plain for all to see but that is not always the case. Uncertainty in the contracting process can lead to litigation (one party suing another in the civil court for damages for example).

An offer might be: “I’ll sell you my champion Ragdoll show cat for $1000. Is that OK?”

An acceptance might be: “I accept your offer. Lets shake on it.”

Without “express terms and conditions” (the terms of a contract written down and accepted by the contracting parties) the terms of a contract are “imported” through statutory legislation (laws created by the government).

What I mean is that if the people contracting in the sale and purchase of a cat make no mention of the terms of the contract or don’t even think about the transaction as a contract then the terms and conditions are to be found in the statutory legislation of the country concerned.

In the UK this will be the modern version of The Sale of Goods Act (legislation is constantly being written and changed so I can’t simply quote the Act out of memory). Other legislation may also have an effect on the contract.

It is wise for both parties to insist on a written contract that is fully understood and agreed before purchasing an expensive item.

You will notice that when buying a car or a piece of furniture that the seller, usually a large business, produces a contract. The buyer, usually an individual, has to sign it. He or she has no idea what is in the contract. The business is dictating terms to the individual who thankfully is protected by statutory legislation imported into the contract should it be onerous and unfair from the individuals standpoint.

Top quality purebred cats can be expensive – see for example Savannah Cat Prices – which leads to the conclusion that a written contract is the best course of action.

Contracts for the sale of a cat will be usually drawn up by the seller, who will also usually be a breeder. The terms may cover: not to declaw, to vaccinate, to keep the cat indoors, to care for the cat properly (specifying actions), a return of cat policy on proper veterinarian assessment (this will relate to health issues, usually), where litigation should take place if the buyer takes proceedings to recover monies paid. These are just examples.

The terms must be read through and complied with by both parties. Contracts are useful in one major way. They clarify the position of the parties to the contract and have a proactive action on their behavior. The contract should prevent misbehavior by one contracting party as breach of contract can result in damages.

Damages means compensation being paid to the party who has suffered the effects of a breach of contract by the offending other party.

Compensation can include the return of all the “consideration” (the money paid). It can return the parties to the position they were in before the contract.

Statutory legislation and/or the written contract should spell out what happens when a person is in breach of contract.

You may have to sue on a contract for the purchase of a cat. Click on the following link to read about that (an overview page): How To Sue on a Cat Contract

Michael Avatar

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Law of Contract Concerning Cats

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Apr 21, 2011
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Cat Contracts
by: Gail (Boston, USA)

Thank you, Michael, for this timely subject. It is certainly thought-provoking. The examples given within a cat contract for purchase also apply to animal shelters as well. Ours has similar wording with regard to the care of adopted cats/dogs. The stipulation is that if the ‘contract’ is not adhered to, the adopter agrees to the shelter reclaiming the animal, which ours does as they keep tabs on the adopted animals.



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Law of Contract Concerning Cats — 2 Comments

  1. Thank you for a interesting article and it answers several questions. I do have a question about the legality of a contract. Each breeder seems to have their own contract that works for them and all breeder contracts seem to vary from straight forward to micromanaging the pet. If a breeder has terms that the cat cannot go outside, is this legally binding? I understand that all contracts must be reasonable and is this considered a reasonable request? Can a breeder ask for a cat back or take legal action against the owner if lets say they let their cat out but the terms were that the cat was to be indoors? I suppose Im trying to understand what is enforceable and reasonable and what would be consider unreasonable and not binding. Also I understand that contracts are not legally binding unless they are witnessed, is this also true?

    • Contracts don’t need to be witnessed. I think that you are on slightly difficult ground if you were to argue that a contract demanding that you keep your cat indoors is unreasonable. After all, you had the opportunity to discuss that at the time you signed the contract and the contract contains express terms meaning written terms.

      If there was no written contract then you would not be able to import into the contract the specification that the cat be kept indoors full-time. But as it’s written in to the contract then it is agreed and I don’t think it is unreasonable because a lot of people in America keep their cats indoors all the time. I am presuming by the way that you live in America. I hope this helps. If the contract allows the breeder to take her cat back if the cat is not kept indoors then that to I would argue would be a reasonable term of the contract. I’m sorry if that is a disappointing opinion. I could be wrong but that’s the way I feel about it.

      A contract can be amended and adjusted. You could ask her to agree an amendment to the contract and that could be put in writing or recorded in some way.

      You could ignore the terms of the contract and then she would have the right to sue you which is something that very few people want to do anyway.I think that you will find that the concept of reasonableness in contracts normally refers to terms and conditions which are illegal or in breach of a person’s rights under the human rights act and which are highly restrictive for example preventing a person from working in a certain sector. It is those sorts of terms and conditions which could be argued to be unreasonable. I think in this instance the concept of unreasonableness would not apply.

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