Stanley Liu with Pancake.

Langley family distraught after cat adopted

The ownership of a cat is in question after an animal adoption.

A Langley family is devastated after the cat they’d cared for –and considered their own – was adopted out to a different family by a local shelter.

Jenny Liu and her family live in a Willoughby townhouse, where they became familiar with a neighbourhood cat named Pancake.

The Liu family, including her parents and sister Priscilla, looked after the cat, with another neighbour also helping take care of him and taking him to the vet, as recently as last March or April.

“His owner told us he didn’t want the cat anymore,” said Liu. “I’m not sure what’s the definition of owning a cat.”

Unlike dogs, cats do not have to be registered with the municipal government.

Liu said the family considered Pancake theirs. He was an outdoor cat, but he knew the way back to their home and they fed him daily during most of the last year.

The family would also go for walks with the cat around the neighbourhood and play with him, she said.

“Pancake’s very important to me,” Liu said through tears.

She said that on Sept. 3, they went for a walk around the neighbourhood. Pancake wandered off on his own and never came back.

They checked with the Langley Animal Protection Society’s shelter, and found that Pancake had been taken there.

They also couldn’t get him back.

Jenny’s sister Priscilla filed to adopt Pancake, but another family received the cat.

Another neighbour who had been helping take care of Pancake also applied to adopt him, but was also unsuccessful.

“Many people claim to have been looking after Pancake over the last year,” said Jayne Nelson, the manager of animal welfare at LAPS.

Nelson said LAPS followed its policies to try to determine ownership of Pancake.

Typically, LAPS will try to track any ID on a cat, which can include tattoos, to locate the owner

Liu said they had tried to put a collar on Pancake at one point, but he slipped right out of it.

First, the shelter tries to determine the owner of any stray animal.

Then after seven days, if they can’t, the animal becomes available for adoption.

“Sometimes there’s a lot of great applicants, and we have to choose only one,” said Nelson.

Nelson said the goal of LAPS is always to do what is best for the animal and to find it the best home.

Liu said the situation was frustrating. She noted that on Facebook, LAPS talks about how there are too many cats and not enough homes for them.

She isn’t interested in adopting another cat.

“We just want this one,” she said.

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