Saturday 2 March 2024

Woman stole her neighbour's cat but it's not a crime

Can this possible? A woman steals her neighbour's cat but it is not a crime? It can happen. Let me paint the picture. But first let me say that sometimes it is simply not possible to say that cats can be owned by anyone. It is up to the cat sometimes. And they make a choice.

An amusing a slightly bizarre illustration for the article by Bing's Copilot.
An amusing a slightly bizarre illustration for the article by Bing's Copilot. 


A person is a terrible cat owner. Poor food and he shouts at his cat (Bertie) all the time. He's too stressed to be good at cat caregiving and he has the wrong mentality.

Three houses down is a single, lonely woman who loves animals and cats in particular. Bertie likes to visit her for a bit of peace and quiet and better cat food.

She is NOT trying to entice Bertie away from his owner, just feed him as he looked underfeed and his coat was in poor condition. He looked sick so she took him to the vet and paid for treatment out of her own pocket.

Bertie had worms and was infested with fleas. Bertie continues to visit the lady and eventually stays. 

The horrible man finds out and storms around to accuse the lady of stealing his cat. She denies it and said that Bertie chose to live with her.

He threatens to call the police. He does call the police! The police aren't interested. They say there is no evidence that the cat was stolen.

To steal something the alleged thief needs to have the intention to permanently deprive the owner of their possession. This does not apply to the lady's action as Bertie is free to return to the horrible owner.

Bertie is free to come and go as he pleases. She doe not detain Bertie. She does not have the right 'mens rea' - a Latin term meaning the intent or correct mentality to prove theft.

No crime because cats are not inanimate objects as the criminal law states. The criminal law does fit well with this kind of scenario because cats are sentient beings with a mind of their own.

They have a degree of intelligence and they not infrequently find a new home if their existing one is inadequate or they are driven from it.

Bertie's owner gives up realising that he did not want to keep Bertie in any case.

Bertie has a new owner. No, he has a new human companion and caregiver. That's the point. People don't own cats. They care for them in a symbiotic relationship. One where both parties benefit.

I have made up this story but the Daily Mail had a headline along similar lines but they are now charging for access to their newspaper - the Daily Mail + version of it. So I could not read the article. I had to make it up but I guessed what it was about.

Their headline:

Yes, I stole my neighbour's cat - but don't you dare call me a criminal! So is Lynne caring or a crook... read her story and decide for yourself

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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