“What”, you may be asking is”that”? That was Thimphu (“Tim-Pooh”) aged 12 weeks.
My intention to write one piece about all my Himalayan cats was scuppered when I realised Tim was a story all by himself.
Tim – Thimphu, actually. I always try to name Himalayan cats appropriately. Thimphu is the capital of the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. I have had a number of “Tims” in my life, so why not one more, and it suited him perfectly. Additionally, Yeti had been known as Yeti-Pooh, so her successor ought also to be a Pooh. Right?
Well, it made sense to me.
Thimphu was organized as a surprise birthday gift for me by my friends, who knew that I was agonizing over the loss of my cherished Yeti. I just couldn’t seem to rally my act and one day I wasn’t up to moping around the office anymore and called in sick.
Yes, I know the loss of an animal is not supposed to be a big trauma, but for some of us it can be. Just the knowing that it is deemed so inappropriate actually makes matters worse. But I was lucky to have a boss who understood and was a thoroughly decent man.
I climbed into bed and had a good wallow but before long the phone rang. The office had a good “bush telegraph” and my friend Denise was calling to check on me. Could I pull myself together enough for a short excursion? All very mysterious. Reluctantly I agreed.
Denise drove me to a private house where a car in the driveway rather gave the game away. The license plate read “HIMALAYANS”. Ah Ha.
Suddenly we were in a room watching tiny fluffy kittens romping around. I don’t think there is anything quite as cute anywhere as Himalayan kittens. And I had to choose one.
Thimphu didn’t come home with me that day as he was still too young, but when I was able to collect him he was still soooo tiny!
I don’t remember how long it was before we celebrated Tim tipping the scale at one pound. She didn’t tell me at the time, but my vet was actually very relieved. She had started to worry that Thimphu was failing to thrive.
As you can see, Timmy had a completely flat face. He snuffled and snorted, making the strangest noises. The sad fact is, cats should never have been bred to have faces that make their lives so difficult. Yeti had the traditional “doll face” and I adored her. Why would anyone think a pug-face is more attractive?
Thimphu was my little man, flat-face, snorting or whatever. Obviously my heart melted the moment I saw him. I investigated the possibility of surgery that would have improved his ability to breathe, but when the surgeon took a look at the little face he called me to say “there is nothing there for me to work with “. So that was that. I was just sad that Tim would always have to struggle.
At that time my father was still alive and I took Thimphu around to meet him. My father was not a pet-person, at all, but it’s amazing how curmudgeonly old men can mellow. Yeti had befriended him by touching him gently with her paw. I think he was quite flattered. Now he met this funny fluffy creature that made bizarre noises. He took one look and declared “he’s wall-eyed!” Humph. But he took a photograph of the wee boy, so that was something!
Timmy was not an only-cat. In my cowardly fear of losing Yeti, I had surrounded myself with cats. In fact he was one of five. I’m not sure the other cats realized he was the same species. Annie didn’t like anybody and made no exception for Tim, but she just ignored him. Cisco was afraid of everybody and everything, so he observed from a distance.
Panther was the boss, the man in charge, and as always marched up to say “Hi! I’m Panther. Who are you?” “Snort, snort”. Panther wasn’t bothered by anything, and a small snuffling bundle of fluff was no problem. “We’ll be buddies”, he announced.
Then sweet Grisabel caught sight of the new arrival….
She was a very gentle, sweet-natured cat. She treated him like her kitten.
The breeder had called him “Tipper”, because his tongue always protruded, as did one of his lower teeth. How could any creature be expected to breathe with a nose like that?
Thimphu didn’t know he was “challenged” and he got around just fine. I had to be careful when doing the laundry. Cisco overcame his fright and I used to think of them as my two red-heads.
I have so many pictures of Thimphu, so many memories of him. He was the sweetest, most innocent little cat. He was never naughty, never caused a problem of any kind. The only thing he ever asked for was to be petted. I would so often feel his little paw stroking my ankle as he asked to be picked up. For no particular reason, I took the picture of Tim with Lily one night.
Next morning I woke up to find Tim in some kind of awful distress. It happened so fast, looking back, I can’t even remember what was wrong, but it was bad. I rushed him to the vet but there was nothing they could do. There was a specialist, two hours away, who might have something to offer…. I couldn’t do it. I saw that Timmy was suffering. Two hours in a car to be poked some more… With the compromised nasal arrangement he had, I didn’t see what could be done.
As I said the words, I couldn’t believe it. But I had to let him go. He was only seven, but I think it is a miracle he lived that long. I was so lucky to have such a sweetheart in my life.