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Couple Sues N.Y. Hotel in Federal Court Over Lost Cat

By Brett Snider, Esq. on November 06, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A New York hotel is being sued in federal court for allegedly losing one couple's beloved 2-year-old cat.

Jeffrey and Shoshanah Johnson stayed at the Residence Inn by Marriott in Central Islip with their cat Cotton back in July. According to their suit, Cotton went missing from their room and was later recovered by another guest. What followed is a dizzying chain of allegations concerning Cotton's custody, with Cotton's present location still a mystery.

Do the Johnsons have any kind of a legal case against the hotel for Cotton's disappearance?

Cat Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Cotton didn't just go missing from the hotel, the Johnsons allege, she went missing from several places. According to Courthouse News Service, the young feline was allegedly taken by the hotel's manager to her boyfriend's house, where she "ended up being trapped inside a wall" for nine days. What followed was a ceasing of communication between the Johnsons and hotel staff.

The couple only learned later that Cotton was "somewhere in Ronkonkoma on Long Island," but despite rescue efforts and a three-week investigation, she remains lost. The Johnsons have named Marriott International, the hotel franchisee, the hotel's operation manager, the manager's boyfriend, and the boyfriend's landlords. In their suit, the cat-free couple accuses all defendants of making no efforts to assist in finding Cotton "and refused to place a notice on social media."

The Johnsons are seeking damages for negligence, recklessness, and emotional distress, likely because of the mishandling of Cotton's custody that led to her current lost state.

Feline Fraud

Sure being sad and upset about how a hotel and its staff fumbled with your cat is one thing, but the Johnsons also accused the hotel of fraud. They allege that the hotel "billed them $250" to keep Cotton at the hotel once they found her. It's unclear where Cotton was during the time the hotel billed the Johnsons, but she ended up not in a hotel room or even at the manager's house.

Since the Johnsons live in Israel, this missing cat ordeal must have them down to five lives (six tops). If the case ever reaches a jury, we hope the jurors aren't dog people.

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