Sikkim was one of the last two cats that came to my foster home. In fact I had already stopped taking cats in, some time before Sikkim and Penny arrived, but there were circumstances that made it impossible for me not to take them.
They were abandoned along with Willow One that we had reluctantly adopted out when my ungrateful “upstairs” cats at the time refused to welcome her to my home.
I decided she would do better by herself, with a loving owner and we thought we had found exactly the right people for her.
They certainly made enough fuss of her.
So when we discovered that she had been left behind in a back yard, we were stunned.
We wanted to collect her right away from the shelter but legal requirements meant we had to wait 10 days.
In the meantime, we fretted that something would go wrong and one of the three cats would be put to sleep before we were allowed to take them. Because, when Grant got the call, he was told that Willow was with two other cats, and of course we couldn’t not take the other two.
Having Willow adopted had been traumatic for me because she was a special, sweet and beautiful, unusual little cat. So I was overjoyed to see her back and she obviously remembered us.
When Grant found her dead on day 13 after her return, we were devastated. Maybe she came to us just so she could find a place for Penny and Sikkim. You tell yourself what you do to make sense of it.
Sikkim was actually named Sasha, according to her chip, but we already had a Sasha. Besides a Himalayan ought to have an appropriate name and Sikkim is a country in the Himalayas. I had trouble convincing Grant.
Consideration was offered that she was in fact not Himalayan, but a Rag doll and the name Ragamuffin was trotted out. Of which I did not approve!
I have shared my life with numerous Himalayans, and Sikkim has the same behaviour.
So I stick to my own opinion.
Getting 13 cats from the West coast to Cambridge NY was quite a project. Most of them had to travel by road.
But I was going to have to fly, and I could not bear to be separated from Willow 2, so I used a mileage account to obtain a Business Class seat.
I couldn’t imagine Willow being stuffed under an economy seat with people trampling all over her all night. No no!
In the end Grant flew with me, so I had to decide which other cat should go with us. Sikkim is one of the smallest and she is pretty laid back.
What I didn’t know, unfortunately, is that Sikkim is a very bad traveller. She has terrible motion sickness. As we rolled for take-off, she was heard barfing voluminously. This was problematic because you are only allowed to open the carrier inside one of the toilets and on that particular aeroplane, the toilets were designed for very little people. I could barely turn around.
To sum it up, Sikkim had a very bad travel experience, but she made no complaint, keeping silent all night and all the way up from JFK, almost 4 hours on the road. When, finally she emerged from the hell of her carrier, she merely looked around with interest and soon curled up and went to sleep.
In Washington, Sikkim had lived in the “foster suite”, but in Cambridge we really got to know her as we are all together.
For one thing we discovered she has nystagmus. Her eyes are constantly on the move. Sometimes I think she doesn’t see very well, but it doesn’t appear to worry her.
We also found out, when she developed a urinary tract infection, that she had bladder stones.
No wonder she used to cry when picked up. After her surgery she seemed to “come out” of herself and became much more engaging.
These days, Sikkim wants to be part of everything. And she has become a talker.
After supper, she finds her way around to the sink where we are washing dishes and she seems fascinated. It’s as if she wants to supervise.
She also, lately, comes to supervise my shower. And then gets a treat. Not that that has anything to do with it.
If Grant and I are in the kitchen talking, Sikkim will sit on a nearby shelf and make regular comments, as if joining in.
Recently, however, Grant announced that he believes our little Himalayan friend is sad.
He decided that she has a wistful look, that she is missing someone.
With my penchant for melancholy, I didn’t really need to hear this. But I started paying close attention to her.
At breakfast time, Sikkim usually wants to sit on a lap and mostly it’s Grant’s, even if she has to climb over Sasha to get there. Sasha is his number one cat and she takes a very dim view of sharing him with anyone!
So, is Sikkim pining for a previous owner? We don’t know much about her history although Grant believes she was adopted to be a companion of Willow One.
Maybe her original owner passed away?
I don’t think she can have bonded to the people who adopted Willow One.
Despicable beasts, that gave them away because they wanted to go travelling in their camper.
We had always said if a problem came up, we would take cats back, no questions asked, so why would they give the cats to their son who was about to get a divorce?
The son then “left home”, leaving the cats with his wife and she, in turn just moved out, abandoning the cats in the garden, where eventually a compassionate dog walker picked them up and took them to a shelter.
Fortunately, Willow One’s chip had never been changed, which is why Grant got a call from a volunteer at the Humane Society, who was all ready to tell him off!
I’m not so sure I agree with Grant about Sikkim being “sad”.
She reminds me very much of my first precious Himalayan, Yeti, who had a very wistful face, but I am sure she was not sad. She was just an old spirit and very wise.
I just now went to check on Sikkim, and she is curled up happily in “her” chair. She said “hi” and went back to sleep.
My beloved Yeti. Late 1980’s.