The cat who decided to move house
Ozzy the cat had a perfectly nice home. But a friendly neighbour offered him love, food and warmth, so he decide to move in with her. She was delighted – but his owners were furious.
On a brisk morning in West London, Ozzy the cat slinks his way down the street. He is heading home. But which home will he go to today?
Ozzy has a clear choice. He can go home to his owners John Hall and his wife, Jackie, a children’s art therapist. Or he can go to the rather friendly neighbour, just 10 doors down the road.
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In August 2018, the Halls realised that Ozzy’s visits were definitely more than occasional when they noticed his collar had gone. In its place was a new one, bearing neighbour Nicola Lesbirel’s phone number.
This declaration of war triggered a complex and bitter neighbourhood row, culminating in a £20,000 court settlement.
During the legal wrangling, Nicola Lesbirel claimed that Ozzy had been a “fixture” in her home for most of his life.
“He’s an extremely determined cat,” she told a reporter last week. She said that Ozzy was so intent on staying in her garden that she had little choice but to step in and care for him.
Should Ozzy be allowed to choose where he lives?
No. Legally a cat is a possession like a car or a pair of earrings. If you own a cat, there are laws that forbid anyone else claiming it is theirs – for example, by removing a collar and replacing it with their own. Of course, a cat has a right to roam but must not be lured into setting up permanent camp away from home.
Yes. The truth is that a cat is still a wild animal. No human has the right to “own” this wildness. We cannot own the waves or the wind. These beautiful creatures may decide to share their lives with us for a while – but if they choose to leave, we must let them go.
- Are cats better pets than dogs?
- Imagine you are Ozzy. Write a dairy entry about a typical day in your life – at your two homes.
Some People Say...
“Do cats have a right to roam?”
What do you think?
- Moves smoothly and quietly, with gliding steps.
- Building up to; resulting in.
- Court settlement
- To reach an agreement between two opposing sides in a court case. Can also involve money.
- Long, complicated argument.
- Determined to do something.
- Wander freely through a large area.
- Tempted or persuaded to do something.