Catfight is resolved and Eros the purrfect cat is home again

By Zelda Venter Time of article published Aug 14, 2020

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EROS the Sphynx cat is back home in Pretoria following a bitter and costly legal tug-of-war over him.

The tale of the hairless cat and his doting owner, Alma van Zyl, went all the way to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, but for Van Zyl it was worth it to have her cat back to live out his golden years with her.

The ownership of Eros came into dispute shortly after he was handed over to cat breeder Elizabeth Swart to be rehabilitated following an attack on Van Zyl. Swart claimed in court that Van Zyl had neglected the cat, and did not want him back.

According to her, a hysterical Van Zyl asked her in 2012 to fetch the cat as Eros was out of control.

She treated him and re-homed him with Bernadette Willers of Polokwane – something Van Zyl said she only found out about via social media.

When Willers refused to give Eros back, it marked the start of a long and bitter legal cat fight.

Willers told Judge Colleen Collis of the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, that she had come to love Eros so much that she even had his paw tattooed on her arm.

But Van Zyl argued that the arrangement was intended to be temporary as she had raised Eros from a kitten and he was the love of her life.

Judge Collis ruled Eros should go back to Van Zyl, and slapped Willers with the legal bill.

Van Zyl’s lawyer, Christel Liebenberg of Salomé le Roux Attorneys, said getting Eros home to Pretoria was not without a fierce fight. “The judgment was in our client’s favour and she and her beloved boy would be reunited… or so we thought.”

While Willers pinned her hope on obtaining leave to appeal in the Supreme Court of Appeal, Liebenberg asked that the cat be placed back with Van Zyl pending the appeal.

This was granted by Judge Collins, but again Willers appealed. With two appeals pending, and then the lockdown in place, it seemed time was running out for everyone, including Eros, who will be 11 in November.

But after the appeal court had turned down Willers, the Sheriff managed eventually to remove Eros and have him reunited with an ecstatic Van Zyl after nearly eight years away.

“God is great and my heart is overflowing with gratitude,” Van Zyl said.

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