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I’ll bet the legal status of your cat is not something that you often think about. Cats and other animals have a somewhat ambiguous legal status. On one hand, they are definitely the property of their owners. If someone steals your cat, you are legally entitled to get it back. However, on the other hand, if your cat hurts someone or damages their property, you are liable, just as you would be if one of your trees fell and crushed your neighbor’s fence (or toes).

At the same time, because they are alive, there are special considerations. In Massachusetts, you are legally required to get your cat vaccinated against rabies to protect the public’s health. You are expected to provide a reasonable level of care—food, shelter, good treatment—and if you neglect or abuse animals in your care, they can be taken from you. If you have a chair you don’t want anymore, you can throw it out in a snowstorm and no one will comment. If you did the same to your cat, you could be hauled into court!

Laws concerning cats have continued to evolve as public awareness of animal rights has changed. For example, declawing, the surgical removal of the claw and first joint of a cat’s toes, is increasingly recognized as cruel. New York recently became the first state to outlaw the practice, except in cases where it was beneficial to the cat (such as correcting a deformity or treating an injury). Massachusetts is presently weighing a similar law.

Pet custody laws, such as one passed in California last year, try to ensure that in a divorce, the animal’s best interest is taken into account, much as those of a child might be. Such laws increasingly recognize what we’ve known all along—our pets are individuals with feelings and deserve to be treated as such.

Our cat of the week, Midnight, promptly found herself a new home, right after she was posted. This 10-year-young black beauty strutted her way out of the shelter and into her new servant’s heart. Additionally, our longtime residents Sam and Trixie also found their “fur-ever” home. These 10-year-young siblings found a home together with two dedicated cat lovers. This week was obviously a banner week for older kitties.

Raffi, last week’s handsome cat of the week, is still with us. This 3-year-old brown tabby/tiger boy has big green eyes and huge polydactyl paws. He is your typical cat who wants and loves attention one minute, but then the next minute will be a bit aloof. Raffi was abandoned by his previous owner and would do best in a quiet home without young children. Also abandoned by a previous owner is a beautiful tortoiseshell lady named Serena. This 5-year-old sweetie has a shiny coat of black-and-orange marbled fur and a friendly, outgoing demeanor. Bella is an adorable, petite, 1½-year-old calico girl. She is exceedingly shy and spends most of her time reclining on an upper shelf in suite #1. This girl will definitely require an angel who could give her the time and reinforcement to come out of her shell.

Mickey is a very handsome, orange, shorthaired tabby. This fellow is about 1 year old and full of rambunctiousness and vigor. He was originally found as a stray and attempts to locate his previous owner have been unsuccessful. He is now looking for a “fur-ever” home of his own. Raven, our spicy little black beauty, still rules the roost in suite #2. This 1½-year-old wants affection and attention, but really doesn’t quite know how to handle it. Raven needs an angel who can see past her trust issues and is willing to take the time to train her.

Our census does change, and we have a few new cats who are waiting to be assessed and seen by the vet before they will be available for adoption. Check with us often during adoption hours to see if your new BFF kitty is here waiting to make your acquaintance. We also have quite a number of kittens that will be available for adoption in the coming weeks. Please remember that whenever possible we adopt kittens out in pairs, so they have built-in companions and playmates. Why not come in and see if you’d like a pair of playful and energetic whirlwinds to complete your family?

The PFC shelter is at 44 Beagle Lane, Teaticket. Our mailing address is PO Box 422, West Falmouth, MA 02574.

The shelter is open for adoptions and visitors Wednesdays from 4 to 6 PM and Saturdays from 10 AM to 1 PM. If you need to get in touch with us when we are closed, call our hotline at 508-540-5654. Press #0 if you have cat-related issues, questions, are interested in volunteering or for additional information about People for Cats. Press #2 if you need financial assistance for veterinary care or spay/neuter assistance. Press #3 if you have a cat or kitten to surrender and be sure to leave your name, telephone number and a brief description of the cat. All calls are returned as quickly as possible.

Check us out at, look for our available cats on Petfinder and like us on our Facebook page.

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