Two cat lovers are set to fight a custody battle over a black & white feline that wandered off from its original owner eight years ago.
The case in California is expected to raise absorbing legal questions over the issue of animal adoption & animal rights in America.
David the cat was bottle-fed since he was a kitten by Tiffany Mestas, who took in four cats from the same litter in 2005.
But two years after when she moved home, David disappeared, possibly having wandered off after becoming confused by his new surroundings.
Despite searching everywhere & putting up a $1,000 (Â£642) reward, David was never found & Ms Mestas could only hope his microchip would one day ensure his safe return.
Then last year she was contacted by a pet microchip company which said another woman had received in touch & enquired approximately changing the registration details for the chip.
Therese Weczorek claims she bought David from a cat rescue centre for $50 (Â£32) & named him Whiley.
She insists she is now the moggy's legal owner & is refusing to hand him over.
Her solicitor is preparing to argue in court that the cat is very pleased where he is & his mental health could suffer if he is forced to live with Ms Mestas again.
Leo Bartolotta said: "I have concerns that it would be extremely stressful to the cat to take it from a home it has been in for five years & put it in a new environment.
"My client is a retired nurse who has grown very attached to the cat. It's become a family member to her. She tells me it's like a grandchild.
"Though the law is not totally clear, I believe that my client is the owner of the cat & will retain ownership of the cat."
Ms Mestas' solicitor says the case is approximately more than "just one cat" & that her client is dismayed Ms Weczorek is not prepared to donate David back, despite the fact he is likely spoilt by the attention.
"If the microchip had ever been scanned, this case wouldn't have happened," said Elizabeth Reifler.
"David received out of her house by accident. Tiffany is pretty upset. I feel sorry for both her & Therese.
"The cat has it made. He has two women that loved him."
Source: “Sky News”