|Fine feline specimen: Simba Joe|
Simba literally climbed his way into my heart about 17 years ago. My mom took me on a hot summer day to the local animal shelter to try and find a replacement kitten for the cat that I had just lost. I never thought I would find another animal to replace my first cat, Finette. She was a beautiful calico with long hair and I adored her. Unfortunately, she escaped from our home that spring and was no more. When we saw a little grey tabby kitten climbing up the side of his metal cage, desperately trying to get to us, meowing all the way, we knew. He was ours. He had just been brought into the animal shelter, so we had to wait for the quarantine period, as well as to make sure he wasn't already someones. For three days, I waited anxiously. Time stood still at points while I was in a summer music class. "Forget jazz," I thought, "I need this cat to be mine." The animal shelter eventually called us and told us he was ours. I was overjoyed.
His first night with us, he could not stop cuddling with me. He climbed up on my bed, clawing every inch up the bedsheets. He would not stay out of my face. The little thing was so happy to have a home.
Simba grew into a huge cat. He made everyone remark on his size. When he sat on shelves that he was once able to gracefully turn around on, he developped a move that we laughingly called the butt scoot. He would back up, since he was now too big to easily turn around, and then carefully reach one paw around his gut until he found his footing. The other would follow, as well as the butt scoot that allowed him to turn. He didn't always keep his balance...
The neighborhood dogs feared him. He didn't care about them. He would just sit there and look at them, until he decided that they were too close. Then he would puff up and chase after them.
|Simba is not amused...|
Melon juice and butter were his absolute favorite foods. He would sit at the table later on, after we kids had left, at his special chair during breakfast. He would anxiously watch us as we finished our bowls of cereal, waiting for the "milky" that we would give him. However, he wouldn't drink it if it had had certain cereals in it. Cats are such picky eaters.
Simba lived through my heartaches and my triumphs. When I felt sad or tired, I would lie my head on his soft belly and listen to him purr. He never minded. After I moved to college, I could always count on him to run up to me when I came home. My mother, who played on his name coming from the Lion King, would remark that his pride was complete once I was home. Even my last time home in August, he recognized me after sniffing my hand and clothes. I had been gone for a year and a half, but he knew I was his.
Simba passed away this past Saturday. I used to dread the day when my baby kitty would pass away when I was younger. I couldn't imagine life without him. Now that I reflect on him, he was one of the best animal friends you could ever ask for. You could always count on him to talk to you...in his twitter as we called it. He had his own cat language. Whoever says animals don't have personalities, they only needed to meet Simba to understand.
I'm sad that I didn't get to hold my little man one last time, since he lived in Tennessee with my momma. But I can only hope he is in that place we all go after our physical life is over, lapping up melon juice and running around a yard like the one he had in Tennessee.