Any true animal lover will tell you that their cats, dogs, birds, and other pets are not just animals or pets; they are family.
When that animal becomes family, they become a non-negotiable member that people will totally transform their living spaces and priorities for, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor unilateralcats agreed to take in her sister’s friend’s cat when she was moving to the city to an apartment that did not allow cats, where she’d be living with her boyfriend.
But when that relationship ended and she demanded to get the cat back, the Original Poster (OP) was shocked that her sister’s friend wanted to uproot a sensitive cat again.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for refusing to return a rehomed cat I adopted?”
The OP agreed to adopt a cat who had to be rehomed during a move.
“Five months ago, I (27 Female) took in a cat, Mina (5 Female).”
“Mina belonged to my younger sister’s friend, who I’ll call H, who was moving to another city and state with her boyfriend. They weren’t able to take Mina with them, and H needed to rehome Mina.”
“They moved to a very large city in a studio apartment, downsized a lot, close to downtown. She didn’t want to force Mina to go from a three-bedroom townhouse with a yard to a small place surrounded by city noise. Plus, it would have been a 14-hour drive.”
Mina became a part of the OP’s family.
“I have a cat, Atlas (7 Male) who is very chill, so I offered to take in Mina.”
“H was very grateful, and Mina was very anxious when I first got her, but she’s since come out of her shell and bonded with both me, Atlas, and my girlfriend.”
“She’s turned into a lap kitty and is gradually becoming more social (she used to hide from guests and strangers when we had people over but now comes out and says hello).”
But then H thought she could change up the arrangements.
“H recently announced she and her boyfriend have broken up and she’s moved back to town.”
“She’s currently living with her mom while she looks for an apartment.”
“H contacted me and asked for Mina back since it’s ‘been only a few months.'”
“I told her no since everyone has grown attached to her and invested a lot of time and money into her transition into our lives. To me, ‘rehomed’ means ‘up for adoption;’ there’s no changing your mind after five months.”
“Mina now sleeps in bed with us, and we’ve been trying to harness-train her to go on walks with Atlas.”
“We’ve also taken her to our vet and bought new water bowls, cat beds, more cat trees, etc. for her.”
“And if anyone has introduced two adult cats to each other, you know how difficult it can be. It took two months before Mina and Atlas could be in the same room for extended periods, but now they’ll sleep near each other and groom one another and play.”
H lashed out at the OP.
“H was obviously not happy with my response. She said she had Mina for years while we only had her a couple of months, and that she’ll pay me back or buy all the stuff we got for Mina.”
“I told her it’s not just about the cost, but also our attachment to her and vice versa.”
“I don’t think it would be fair to put Mina through another stressful transition right after she got used to her new home and family. Also, we’re not a long-term boarding facility!”
The OP felt conflicted about how the situation was turning out.
“H is angry and has even vaguely insinuated going court, which I 100% do not believe she can or will do.”
“But she’s also been talking s**t to my sister, who is now also upset with me and is giving me the silent treatment.”
“I’m now the bad guy to them and who knows how many other people H has told.”
“I won’t be giving Mina back, but I’m starting to feel like an a**hole and ‘cat thief’ as H has said.”
“And I’m not trying to vilify anyone for rehoming. It sucks, but sometimes you have to do what you think is best for your pet and put them first. My issue is trying to pull a ‘take backsies’ after the fact.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some sided with H and felt it was time for the OP to return Mina.
“Little bit YTA. Why?”
“She had the cat for five years. You had it a few months and already love it. Imagine how she felt when she had to give her away.”
“I guess the reason she gave you the cat was solely because of her (ex) boyfriend. Now she got rid of him, and the first thing she thought of was getting her kitty back.”
“Sometimes as a pet owner, you have no choice, and your heart bleeds, but you have to decide against your pet.”
“Then, your sister’s friend probably thought, ‘Oh no, she’s never gonna get the cat back,’ but was very relieved and thankful that her friend’s kitty would at least ‘stay in the family.’ Now the reason that parted her from her pet (her ex-boyfriend) was gone, she wanted to restore her ‘normal’ situation and get her companion back who might also help her get over the troublesome younger past.”
“She even wants to pay for all the costs you had!”
“And now you come along, telling her, ‘Nananananaaaaa, that’s my cat now!,’ while she is at her darkest point.”
“You say you want the best best, but the best for whom? The cat, that lived with your sister’s friend for five years? Your sister’s friend, who has been through hard months? Or yourself?”
“I don’t want to attack you here, I just want you to be sure of your motives. No doubt, you are a great cat-mom and did very well in the last few months. But if you love the cat and care about your relationship with your sister, and maybe your sister’s friend, you might have to make a decision, that makes your heart bleed.” – Charn-
“YTA. Your few months is nothing compared to her five years. You took them in; you did not adopt them. If someone took me in, to help me get on my feet until I can resettle, it wouldn’t suddenly be to become a roommate or become their child, just because they enjoyed my company.” – Purchase_Mountain
“YTA. Yes, you adopted the cat, but if you’ve bonded this much after a few months, then imagine how she feels.”
“Yes, she left Mina behind but has now returned, probably brokenhearted at the end of her relationship and feeling like she gave up her furry companion for nothing. The thought of getting her cat back probably brought her a lot of comfort, but you’re being an AH about it.”
“She didn’t leave for years and Mina has barely settled at your place, so stop over-egging it.”
“She has expressed a willingness to reimburse you, so allow her to do this, get over it, and give her the cat back, on the condition that she has moved into a pet-friendly apartment first.” – Useful_Experience423
“YTA. Give her cat back. You did the right thing by taking her in and now you should do the right thing and give her back. Reddit never thinks people are the AH when they’re being selfish.” – SaintSingh
“YTA. She offered to pay you back and you say it’s not about the money. Then why mention it? It’s not like giving him away was easy.”
“My friend’s dog lived with us for almost a year while he was in jail, and he was returned the day he got out. Yes, I treated the dog as my own.”
“You are a foster home. Give her back.” – Grandmas_Cozy
But others disagreed and said Mina had time to settle and was the OP’s cat now.
“It’s not ‘a couple of months.’ It’s more like half a year. Mina is now your cat.”
“Let H go ahead and try to take you to court. She doesn’t have a leg to stand on. If your sister is too obtuse to see how messed up H is being, then enjoy the silence her ‘silent treatment’ is bringing, lol (laughing out loud).”
“You are not a cat thief. She basically abandoned her cat for a dude. She’s a bad cat mom.”
“NTA, not even a little bit.” – BoopBoop_420
“What happens to Mina when she gets back with her boyfriend or meets another one? So NTA.” – alc2757
“Your sister’s friend is being selfish. Every time that cat changes hands or moves, it’s stressful. The cat is happy where it is, she isn’t entitled to the cat.”
“Your sister’s friend is an a**hole, though. She abandoned her pet she had for five years only to show up months later, expecting to just get the cat back.”
“When I need to move, my pets come with me. They’re family. I would never consider abandoning them.” – Fat_D**k_Porkchop
“NTA. You are 100% correct; rehomed means that you adopted her. Your home is her home.”
“She can’t expect you to give back the cat that you’ve bonded with and made a part of your family just because her life circumstances changed and she wants her back.”
“You’re doing the right thing and she’s being entitled and immature about this.” – hannahkelli
“NTA. The cat is yours; she chose to give up no matter what the situation was, and she was selfish.”
“She wants the cat back because the relationship didn’t work out and she is lonely. What if they get back together; will she give her away again?”
“The cat has a stable and loving home with you and she deserves that! Let your sister and her friend be mad; they aren’t entitled to the cat just because she is convenient for her now.” – RaisinAnxious4486
“NTA. Mina has bonded not only with you but your other cat. Uprooting her again wouldn’t be fair to either of them. She’s gonna give Mina anxiety issues that you seem to have helped her get rid of.”
“If she was willing to rehome the cat she had for years for a guy, there’s no reason to believe she won’t do it again. Mina isn’t a toy that can just be traded around like nothing.” – thaliagorgon
“NTA, and I agree with every point you made. By going to the vet, I hope you also got her chipped or updated her chip info to yours.”
“I would probably stop communicating with H and tell your sister that she needs to keep her relationship with H separate from her relationship with you.”
“Also, if you haven’t already, save all communications about her rehoming this cat to you, all your vet bills, and other purchases to have the proof ready in case she does try to take you to small claims.” – friendlily
After receiving feedback, the OP shared her final decision.
“Thanks, everyone, for the kind words! It’s made me feel a lot better.”
“To confirm, there was no agreement that H could take Mina back if her situation changed; this was strictly a rehoming (adoption) situation, not a foster.”
“I’m really grateful for all of your positivity because I love Mina and Atlas and would be heartbroken to see either of them go.”
While the subReddit could understand how H might be regretting her decision now that her relationship was over, uprooting her former pet again would honestly only be harder on Mina rather than helping her.
Hopefully, H would take a lesson from this about the importance of holding onto those we love before making another life-changing decision.