A family on holiday has taken a cat from the property they were renting and written a letter to the town’s sheriff to explain why they won’t be giving it back.

James Wakefield, 70, alleged that the seemingly neglected cat at his Airbnb named Nubbins was not owned by anyone and it seemed fair for the cat to be taken home and cared for, according to the letter sent to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office in Santa Rosa, California.

In the three-page letter sent by Mr Wakefield, he explained that he took the cat because no one was taking care of her when he arrived at the property, and that she was hungry, thirsty and cold.

When the Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick informed Mr Wakefield that Nubbins needed to be returned to its legal owner, Mr Wakefield said the family was “never going to let that cat get put back in the living condition she was in without a fight.”

The cat’s legal owner, Troy Farrell, has responded to Mr Wakefield’s accusations of neglect by sharing a series of photos and videos where he’s cared for Nubbins inside his home over the last four years, despite claiming she is an outside cat.

“She has so many people who take care of her,” Mr Farrell told a local news outlet.

“She doesn’t want to be an indoor cat. She doesn’t want to be stuck in a house. She just likes to be out and about doing her thing because that’s how she came out.”

When Mr Wakefield asked the Airbnb homeowner about the feline, he was told that she was a stray cat in the neighbourhood who wasn’t allowed in any of the neighbour’s houses even in the freezing weather.

When Nubbins became smitten with the Wakefields, the owner was reportedly enthusiastic about Mr Wakefield taking the cat home, saying it would be “awesome if someone adopted her and gave her a good home”.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office became involved, prompting Mr Wakefield’s letter of retaliation wherein he details how frustrating this dispute of Nubbin’s ownership has been.

“The cat either dies for lack of medical care or the cat is returned to a neighbourhood that doesn’t care enough about her to protect her from predators or get her out of the freezing windy rain she finds herself in each winter,” Wakefield wrote.

“And you can be assured that your 70-year-old cat nappers will do everything in our ability to protect her.”

It’s unclear if either party will take legal action for the “catnapping”.

Image credits: Getty Images / Youtube

This article first appeared on OverSixty.