One calls him David. The other says his name is Whiley.
Two women are battling in a Sonoma County court over which of them is the rightful owner of a beloved tuxedo cat.
The black and white feline is the subject of a lawsuit from Tiffany Mestas of Fairfield.
The 35-year-old veterinary technician claims the cat went missing seven years ago and was illegally adopted by Therese Weczorek of Kenwood. When Mestas tracked the cat through an identification chip, the retired nurse wouldn’t hand him over.
“I raised him since he was a baby,” Mestas said Wednesday, of the cat she named David, before a court hearing. “He is very important to me.”
Weczorek, 68, who stood a few feet away with her boyfriend, declined to comment. Her lawyer said she adopted the cat in good faith from what she believed was a reputable animal rescue center in 2010 and didn’t find out about the chip until last year. In fact, the center where Weczorek adopted the cat turned out to be an unlicensed facility.
She has declined a $1,000 reward offered by Mestas to give back the cat, whom she calls Whiley, said one of her attorneys, Leo Bartolotta.
“This is her cat,” he said. “She’s had it a long time. It’s part of her family and her life.”
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