Elderly woman wants her beloved cat back because new owner is in breach of contract

Syracuse, NY: An elderly woman, Carol Money, felt that she had to give up her beloved Norwegian Forest Cat, Lacie, because at 72 years of age Carol was no longer able to lift her cat onto her bed to allow her to sleep with her at night, an activity her cat loved.

This is not Lacie because Money would not provide a photo. This photo is just to illustrate the page and is from Hill’s Nutrition.

She relinquished her cat to Danette Ramano under what appears to be a carefully drafted contract. We don’t know its exact terms but it appears that it included a promise that Romano would allow Lacie to sleep in her bed. Either it was in the contract or Romano made the promise verbally in parallel with the contract.

Money did some follow up visits to Roman’s home to see how things were going. They were not going well. Romano said that Lacie would not climb the stairs to come to the bedroom. However when asked Mr Romano said they did not allow Lacie to sleep in the bed.

The matter became heated as Money pressed the Romanos to carry out the terms of the contract. Eventually the Romanos sent a lawyer’s letter to Money requesting that she cease and desist harassing them.

Money countered by suing the Romanos for breach of contract and the return of Lacie. Money declined The Oregonian’s request for a photo of Lacie.

Comment

This is strange from a number of perspectives and perhaps we don’t have the full story. Firstly it implies that Lacie needed to be carried onto the bed. All domestic cats except for infirm elderly ones are well able to jump onto a bed. That point needs clearing up.

Money adopted Lacie when she was a kitten. They were very close. In retrospect it was a bad idea to give her up as the bond was too strong. The better idea would have been to find a way around the barriers preventing Lacie sleeping in Money’s bed at night. On the facts a better solution would have been to have a bed without legs. One of the Japanese style beds or a Futon style bed. Problem solved if that was the problem but I don’t think it was the entire problem. Such a bed may have been unusable by Money for instance.

It seems that Romano is in breach of contract because Money would have been adamant that Lacie be allowed to sleep in and on the bed. This had been refused. If the contract had provisions for the return of Lacie if things went wrong, the outcome of this litigation is that Lacie should be returned. It depends on the exact wording of the contract and whether the Romanos are in breach which seems likely as Money has received the advice of a good lawyer.

In thinking of Lacie, my guess is that she is unhappy in her new home. I can sense it. The root cause is that when you raise a cat from kitten hood i.e. under or around 10 weeks of age, there can be imprinting or at least a real bond in which the cat is strongly connected to her human guardian as a surrogate mother. The bond should be protected unless it is absolutely impossible to maintain it. In retrospect an alternative solution should have been found but the good news is that they have a contract. Let’s hope it is a good one.

Source of story: The Oregonian.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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