Protect your kitty with a cat bill of sale

You're busy falling in love with the cat or kitten you are buying, but don't get distracted! For the sale to be legal, you need a cat bill of sale. Get the information you need about cat bills of sale.

by Brette Sember, J.D.
updated May 11, 2023 ·  2min read

When you want to add a cat or kitten to your family, there's a lot to think about. You're getting your home ready, buying supplies, and counting down the days until your furry friend comes home. You also want to make sure that ownership of the cat is legally transferred to you and, to do that, you will need a cat bill of sale.

Woman in profile holds up cat and smiles as cat presses paw to her mouth while sitting in park

Understanding a cat bill of sale

A bill of sale for the purchase of your kitty is like a detailed receipt. It proves ownership for you once the sale is complete, so that the cat legally becomes your own. It should include:

  • The name of the seller and buyer, as well as their addresses
  • A description of the cat or kitten being sold (breed, sex, age, color, and any distinctive markings)
  • The purchase price
  • A description of any items that are being included in the sale (such as cat food, a carrier, a collar, etc.)
  • A statement about any warranties the seller is making about their ownership rights to the cat (that is, whether they guarantee they hold clear title to the cat)
  • Signatures of both parties

Cat bills of sale vs. adoption contracts

A cat bill of sale is different from an adoption contract. A bill of sale is about the sale itself—who is selling, who is buying, what's being sold, and the price. It's a basic document that records the details of the sale.

An adoption contract is a more involved document that seeks to ensure the pet is going to a safe home. Adoption contracts often include agreements to spay or neuter the cat, not to declaw the cat, to keep the cat as an indoor house pet, that cats are allowed on the premises where the family lives, and that the adoption agency, shelter, or breeder has the right to make a home visit to make sure the cat is being cared for.

Adoption contracts also often state that, if the animal is mistreated, the shelter, agency, or breeder can retake possession of the cat. These contracts also may include information about things required of the seller, such as providing specific vaccinations before the sale, deworming, and a veterinary certificate of health.

Sometimes a seller will combine the information that would be included in a bill of sale with the information from an adoption contract into one pet sale agreement. Any agreement that you sign when you purchase or adopt a cat or kitten—whether that's a bill of sale, adoption contract, or pet sale agreement—is legally enforceable.

Creating a cat bill of sale

A cat bill of sale can be handwritten or typed, but it should be clear and easy to read. You can create your own by looking at the legal requirements in your state. Another option is to use a cat bill of sale template.

Bringing your new cat or kitten home is exciting, but don't overlook the legalities. Make sure you get a bill of sale from the seller, so that you can be sure you have legal ownership of your new feline family member.

Ready to start your bill of sale? START A BILL OF SALE NOW
Brette Sember, J.D.

About the Author

Brette Sember, J.D.

Brette Sember, J.D., practiced law in New York, including divorce, mediation, family law, adoption, probate and estates,… Read more

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of the author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.