Seeing as how Buddy the dog got his own webpage, the cats started clamoring for their own webpages as well…
Meet Cap’n Tim
That’s my mischief maker! He is our Canadian cat, as he is the first pet we have obtained since moving here.
This little guy and his mom were found outside a garage in a snowbank by Frances, the mother of Denise, one of Melody’s grad students. I think there may have been other sibs who found homes before we came into the story, but when Denise contacted Melody and asked if she wanted a kitten, it was just Tim and Daisy, his mom, living in a warm guest room upstairs in Frances’ house.
Except at that time, Tim was living under his Witness Protection Program name: Boots.
Once we got him home, all two-ish pounds of him (he was about seven weeks old), we realized that he didn’t so much have boots as he had long brown and white leggings.
Now, calling a perfectly sweet kitten “Leggings” just did not seem fair at all. (Someone once said he had grey “spats”. I looked her in the eye and said, so, you want us to call our adorable new kitten “SPATS”?)
(It was kind of one of those laughing with your hands on your knees moments.)
We cast about for a name. We tried everything we could think of, from the
sublime “Prince Hairy” to the redonkulous “Swashbuckle”.
We’d stand in front of him, look him in the Eye, and say, “Swashbuckle! Hello-ooooo, Swashbuckle!
Are you a Swashbuckle? Swashbuckle!” all in that sugary-sweet Shirley Temple high-pitched voice that one reserves for baby kittens and baby kittens alone.
And wee Not-Swashbuckle would blink, look at us quizzically for a moment, and then yawn and start studiously cleaning his nether regions.
Ooooooh-kayyyy, then. Not a Swashbuckle. Gotcha.
One day we were watching the folks filing into choir practice, several of them with their evening cup o’ Tims, which has a store about two blocks from us. Melody and I looked at each other with that dorky ohHO look that is our patented dorky couple look. When we got home, we presented Not-Swashbuckle with “Tim”–and he didn’t lick his butt! That was good enough for us, so Tim of Horton’s he is, a truly Canadian Cat.
How Cap’n Timmie Lost His Eye
He actually does have an eye in there, so saying he lost his eye is a wee bit dramatic. When we met him, we noticed that he kept his left eye almost closed all the time, and it seemed to run a bit. Frances told us that she had found him that way, and the vet had given her some ointment in case it was an infection.
We took him to our vet, who gave us the 411: You know how cats have that inner eyelid?(Warning: slight gross-out ahead for those with eye squidges, sorry) Well, somewhere along the line, probably in the womb or during birth, his inner eyelid got stuck to the surface of his cornea, so that when it came time to open his eyes as a baby, the inner eyelid tore (we think), leaving parts stuck to the cornea and parts attached to his outer eyelid.
When he was older, the vet suggested an operation to try and separate the inner eyelid bits stuck to the cornea, to lessen the risk of bad juju. We took him in for the surgery, and for a while after, it looked as though he would recover almost completely.
Except that he didn’t. The membranes got stuck together again, and after a couple more rounds of medication and poor-baby kisses, the vet said it was better not to mess with his eye too much, and that was that.
So he still has that eye, but it is partially covered by bits of his inner eyelid, and he can’t fully open the eye because of the bits stuck to the outer lid.
No, we have never put an eye patch on him and growled, “Avast, ye Cap’n Tim!” His claws grow super-fast, and they are Sharp.
Can he see out of that not-eye?
We think so. We think he can see light and dark, like shadows, maybe shapes, that sort of thing. Not a lot of detail, probably.
But TimCat can jump six feet from floor to banister post without wavering. (The top of the post is four inches square.) He jumps all over, up and down, down and up, as if to prove that he is still a Most Worthy Cat. Never falls. Never hesitates. We don’t know if he is using the veiled eye to help triangulate, or if he is turning his head in lots of mini-moves to get the coordinates right.
I will say that the two times a feline has caught a live mouse in this house, that feline has been Tim. Great Hunter Tim clearly doesn’t need no stinkin’ second eye.
How Old is Tim & Why We Still Call Him a Kitten
Tim is 5 years old this 2014/2015 winter, so technically he is not a kitten and indeed has not been a kitten for a long time.
Try telling that to Tim.
We first heard the term “permakitten” whilst watching a news item about the famous L’il Bub, who, along with having several other deformities and abnormalities, is a permakitten, giving her a very unique appearance and sweet personality. After watching web videos of L’il Bub and several other permakittens, we think that Tim might be one, too. His physical development stopped at about ten months, give or take, so he has the size and proportions of a much younger cat. He’s TINY. His emotional and social development stopped even earlier; to watch him, you’d think that he was a very playful, very affectionate, older kitten.
Our Tim is a wonderfully playful, extremely social little cat. He follows me around as if I really were his Momma Cat, never letting me stray further than a few feet from where he is. He loves to be kissed on the top of his head and behind his ears. Being a social eater, he prefers to have one of his Human cat-moms standing next to him while he eats. (Bonus purring for soft pets along his head and neck during the meal.)
Tim also loves to “help” around the house. He personally tests every bit of fibre fluff for softness and napability; and every single box that comes into our house receives his personal inspection upon arrival.
Not only that, but he closely supervises all kitchen activities, checking for mice and other treats in each Tim-sized corner.
He’s quite a character, is Tim, all five or six pounds of him.
He climbs under the covers to sleep next to my heart.
He stalks dust bunnies, leaving the best bits on our bathroom floor as offerings.
He attempts to groom our long-haired dog, with limited success.
He naps as though he were boneless and hadn’t a care in the world.
He’s our Tim, special as each cat is special, and thus much beloved.
Here’s Oskar, a truly blind kitty, learning to play with his very first toys.
There are several other videos of Oskar learning to navigate his world on You-Tube and on his website; they are quite fascinating. I love watching videos of the special-needs animals amongst us; they teach me so much about courage, determination, and being joyfully yourself, no matter what the obstacles may be.
Thank you, all of you, for the wonderful, kind, and yes, loving comments. You are giving me the strength to climb out of the pit, one chispa at a time 🙂
Sections of this page were originally published as a blog post on Sept. 22, 2014.