Timine’s run in with the law
I feel like I owe you guys a bit more of an explanation than what I wrote last Friday. So here’s the slightly longer version of Timine’s run in with the law.
Backstory: About 5 years ago, my then-friend Julie Lavoie moved to Thailand and left the awesome odd-eyed cat Timine to live with our mutual friend Simon. Simon took care of Timine for several years but then moved in with his fiance, who is highly allergic to cats. The cat stayed behind and was cared for by another friend, who was living in Simon’s old apartment. This wasn’t a great time for him because he didn’t get on very well with her cats, but then he moved in with me when Sophie and Charlemagne left. In the meantime, Julie came back from Thailand. Julie was happy to live separately from Timine because (according to her) she has really bad allergies, and she hates Canadian winters and might go back to Asia soon.
About a month ago, I went off to an event in Delaware for a few days and Julie came over to take care of Timine. She decided that my apartment was too dark and left all the lights on. We talked a few days later and she was really upset about him living in “pitch darkness.” And a few other things, but mostly the darkness. I still don’t understand this concern - on the right, there’s a photo of my office in the early afternoon so you can see the sunlight for yourself. Anyway, we argued a bit and I agreed to leave a light on during the day to keep her happy. She said she wanted to take Timine back until I moved in early January because she didn’t think he should be living in my current apartment and she wanted some time with him, but said I was taking better care of Timine than she could, so he should live with me long term. I said I’d think about that.
2 weeks ago, Julie emailed me and said she wanted Timine back permanently. I emailed her back right away and said I needed some time to think about it, which I did – it was to be a very busy week for me with taBURNak (an event I was helping with) and house buying stuff on top of the usual things I do. She said she understood but please get back to her soon. Fair enough.
This time last week I got a few messages during the day from Julie saying she wanted to visit Timine over the weekend. When I got home from work I sat down to reply to the big email first. My basic idea was to say OK, she could have Timine back provided she was sure she could actually live with him (given her allergies) and provided she was willing to remain in Canada for the rest of his life (he’s an old cat and it’s not fair to keep shuttling him around between owners.) About halfway through this, the police showed up and knocked on my window. They wanted to come in and talk to me.
I let them in (2 female officers, Montréal police) and they explained they were here about the cat. They were really insistent that it was Julie’s cat because she had photos of him from 2007 and because there was an email I sent early this year saying I’d give him back when she was ready. The police essentially bullied me into giving them the cat. I didn’t feel like I had much choice but to do what they asked, which was put him in his carrier and let them take him. And that’s the last I saw of that awesome cat.
- Never let the police into your house unless they have a warrant. I know this but I guess I felt I could reason with them and there was no harm in talking. Actually, the rule is never talk to the police, ever. Go watch those videos if you haven’t already.
- New rule for Montréal: never talk to the police in French. My usual rule is to talk in French if the other person wants since it’s good to practice, but in this case I think it put me at a disadvantage. Not much of one though – in hindsight I realize the police had made their decision before coming to my apartment.
- And I need to get better at dealing with acrimonious situations (and people) and standing up for myself. This might be hard – I generally just avoid them. My friends are awesome and even my acquaintances are mostly easygoing, reasonable people. I need to think more about how to do this….
I do feel a bit like I failed Timine. I should have told the police to go away, then I could have considered the question of where he should live calmly and carefully. I could have talked to Julie, I could have talked to some mutual friends to see what they thought, and if we did decide it was best for him to live with Julie I could have given him a good sendoff. Smoked salmon for one end of the trip, cheese for the other, lend Julie the blanket he liked to sleep on…
Oh well. I did the best I could. That’s all anyone can really do. The important part is Timine’s going to be fine. Being fine is pretty much what cats do. Whether or not Julie is able to keep him long term, she’s taken care of him before so she’ll be able to give him a decent home.
So that’s the story. I wish I could end this post on a stronger note, but life doesn’t always work out that way. Have a great weekend everyone :)