It has been a hard year in many ways, but the worst of it has been the loss of numerous loved ones. Last night, our beloved kitty Simon passed away suddenly at age 16, apparently from a heart problem.
It is hard for me to write about the loss of another kitty, after Fluff and Sabrina earlier this year, so this post may not be as long as I’d like: it’s just too painful. But I wanted to share some memories of this beautiful boy, and convey how much I’ll miss him.
I believe I’ve known Simon longer than any other cat in my entire life. Beth had adopted him before the two of us met, and he was already several years old, but he welcomed me into the family readily, and was almost immediately settling into my lap to sleep at night. This week, I had Simon over at my home while Beth was traveling for work, and Simon settled right in with me at bedtime again just like we’d never been apart.
Of all the cats I’ve ever met, I would say Simon was the most like a pure intellectual. We would joke that he could never survive in the wild, yet he hinted at a wisdom and serenity that I have never seen in another cat.
He was charming in his cluelessness. When Beth adopted him, he had just been found wandering in the woods, meowing in confusion — like I said, he wasn’t a wilderness cat. The first time we purchased a tall kitty condo, Simon climbed all the way to the top, but lost his balance and almost fell out. We started laughing, and Simon was so mortified that he jumped down and refused to interact with us for a while!
But what was amazing about Simon is that he was a peacemaker. If there was a conflict between any other kitties, Simon was always there in the middle, trying to break things up. At first, we thought it was accidental, part of his cluelessness, but we didn’t give him enough credit. He genuinely tried to make the other cats happy, and soothe their anger and fears.
One day, probably around 2012, I was home alone when our cat Mandarin somehow managed to get a lamp cord wrapped tightly around his neck. He panicked, and got the lamp wedged under a table, basically leashing him in place. He was flailing around and meowing, and some of the cats like Sabrina tried swatting at him to get him to calm down. I managed — with some pain for myself — to free Mandarin from his trap, at which point he went and hid under the sofa. When he finally came out a little later, Simon immediately went over to check on him and console him.
There wasn’t a cat that Simon didn’t get along with. He was also good with the kittens we fostered. He seemed to have almost limitless patience for the squabbles with other kitties.
His earliest friend was Sasha, who Beth adopted not long after him, and the two of them remained close throughout the years.
Simon had many quirks. One of them, that I’m glad I got on camera, was his desire to pluck individual pieces of food out of his bowl before eating them.
Simon was also a bit of a brat! He really loved attention from people, and that love didn’t end when we went to sleep. He was happy to wake us up in the middle of the night for food and cuddles, and was very clever about doing it. He got very good at tickling our faces gently with his whiskers to wake us up. We put up with it, though, because we loved him, and we knew that he loved us.
In spite of his goofiness and his slight cross-eyed expression, I always felt like Simon understood more than he was letting on. Like I said, he was a wise kitty. And he could pass on that serenity to others. I’ve never felt more comfortable than with Simon laying in my lap, purring away.
He had a good long life, though as it is for most of those we love, it never seems long enough when we look back at the end. I will miss him, and his persistent affection.
Rest in peace, Simon. I would try and say more, but it is still too painful.