A German court has granted a woman visiting rights for her ex-neighbour's cat.

Neuruppin district court heard the cat, Bismark, lived with owner Susanne L and her parents.

But it often disappeared for days on end and one day walked into the home of near neighbour Elke W, reports the Berliner Zeitung newspaper.

She told the court the cat looked "utterly neglected, ill and malnourished", so she fed it and took it to the vet.

She adopted the cat, called it Charly and for the next two years it divided its time between its two homes.

The two 'owners' only found out they had both been looking after the cat when Susanne L decided to move and take the cat with her.

Elke W sued for 'custody' of the cat but Judge Egbert Simon told her she had little chance of success.