For nearly half a decade a man and a woman from the Swiss canton of Vaud have been fighting over ownership of the same Siamese cat, with the case climbing all the way up to the country’s top court.
In a dispute with nine lives, the conflict dates back to 2013 when the woman handed the cat in question to a male acquaintance so that he could look after the animal during her five-week holiday. However, the woman simply failed to collect the cat on her return.
In October 2014 however, the woman visited the cat carer. Then in the middle of the night, she simply took the cat with her.
That’s when the legal table tennis game began, according to Swiss news portal 20 minutes. The man took the case to court and the female ‘cat-napper’ was fined 2000 francs for minor theft. She was also forced to pay legal costs and hand over 500 francs in moral damages to the man.
But the women then appealed to the cantonal court in Vaud and won: the court argued she had always been the owner of the cat and therefore she could not be sentenced to theft.
Meanwhile, the cat continued to live with the woman and still does so.
Not content with letting sleeping cats lie, the man went on to take the case to the federal courts. He argued that the cantonal court had never ruled on his claim that the cat had been given to him as a gift or was promised to him as a gift.
In what could be one final twist in the case, the cantonal court in Vaud must look at the case again and decide if this was indeed the case.
As the supreme court said in its ruling on Tuesday, ownership of pets falls to the new owner after two months if no other arrangements are made.