Rest in Peace, Simon
This boy… my sweet, sweet boy Simon. He passed away on April 15, 2014 after a battle with what was likely intestinal adenocarcinoma. Thankfully, he was comfortable and content right up until his final day. He went to the veterinarian on Friday, we heard on Saturday that he likely had cancer, and he was gone Tuesday evening. It happened all too fast, but up until then, he had 16+ long, healthy years with me and 17 1/2 years total. So while it is difficult and unexpected to say goodbye so quickly, I’m grateful for so many good days and months and years with him.
This is his story.
Simon was adopted from the ASPCA when he was estimated to be about 1 1/2 years old. His estimated birthdate was October 1996 which made him over 17-and-a-half years old when he passed away. He was my 3rd adopted cat, and my hopeful peacekeeper. First I had adopted Meelee (Miss Amelia Dingo), and a year later I decided to find her a companion cat. Unfortunately, Hodjee was feral and pretty vicious, and she used Meelee as a chew toy. So nearly another year later I adopted Simon in hopes that he’d bond with Hodjee and give Meelee a break from the mayhem.
Simon was chubby enough that he didn’t seem to mind Hodjee’s constant attacks. They were a happy pair for years and years.
Simon, Hodjee and Meelee were all adopted during our years in New York City in the mid-1990s. Hodjee and Meelee both passed on respectively at around 14-years-old, but while they were all together, these three musketeers lived in New York City, San Francisco and Seattle. I thought Simon would even be able to add a 4th city to his list when we move to Salt Lake City soon, but that wasn’t meant to be.
Simon and Meelee spent a few years together after Hodjee’s passing, and while never super in love with each other, they did learn to like each others’ companionship.
Now for more than four years, since Meelee’s passing, it’s been just Simon and me. He has always been an affectionate cat, and back when I had all 3 cats, it could honestly be a little too much sometimes. He got the nickname “Chester the Molester” because he was always very, very needy and touchy and affectionate.
But once Hodjee and Meelee had both passed on, I was all he had. I was Simon’s pride. So I made a promise to Simon then that I would always return his affection.
I changed my view of him and made time for him every time he wanted it. I held him every time he wanted me to hold him, I petted him whenever he liked…
…and I let him press his paws against me every time we sat down.
And he loved me for it, so very much.
Simon not only had an extremely expressive face, he was extremely emotional and giving of affection and love.
He just knew how to give love freely.
I know the sweetness comes across in his photos, and in person, it truly was genuine. He was just the nicest guy you could ever meet. I’ve never met a nicer character than Simon, not another cat, duck, cluck or even a human.
As Simon grew older, I didn’t realize how much I was doing to keep him comfortable and happy, though I did so happily and would do it again. He was pretty incontinent for most of his last year. And throughout his life he didn’t have good litter box habits. And yes, we tried everything, several times over.
In all his years, he’d gone through at least 4 couches, 4 stuffed side chairs, 4 rugs, a recliner, 10 comforters, countless blankets and even some pillows.
His final year was the worst though, and sometimes I’d wake up in the middle of the night to him peeing on me, in bed.
It’s tough to be a 17-year-old cat. Lately, he didn’t walk as much, so I had taken to carrying him to his litter box twice a day, which helped minimize accidents around the house.
A few oddities about Simon… He was an extremely picky eater. Simon never once ate a table scrap, and never begged for people food, ever. Even though he was a big guy, sometimes he would quit eating his food entirely and I’d have to go buy every kind of food I could to find what he would eat next. That happened at least 3 times in his last few years.
Simon loved to watch birdies in the yard, though he was an indoor-only cat unless I was outside with him.
He never harmed a bird or any wildlife he encountered, but he did like to look and listen and learn about everything around him.
Watching birdies sometimes required discipline and intense concentration, which would make his tongue stick out.
Simon was so affectionate and attached that he didn’t like to be left in the house while I was outside taking care of the flock.
So he learned how to tolerate the ducks and clucks, and even enjoy them a bit, as long as they didn’t get too flappy or bitey.
The birds didn’t seem to mind his presence much either. He was just another one in the flock.
A “furry indoor duck.”
While Simon loved to be loved more than anything, there were a few things he did not like.
Simon did not like loud noises. Thunder could send him under the couch for an hour. Contractors were the worst. Of all the projects we did in the last year, his least favorite was re-roofing the house. He really didn’t like roofers above him making a racket. He didn’t mind the recent projects this past week too much, but boy those roofers back in August were not his favorite thing.
Simon also couldn’t stand my singing. I mean he really wouldn’t tolerate it at all. His least favorite song in life seemed to be “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. Simon hated to hear me sing that song. Just hated it. He’d climb up onto me and bite my chin and paw at my mouth to make the awful sounds stop.
And he was never shy about letting me know how he felt.
And can we talk about how good looking he was? So big and fluffy and wonderful, inside and out.
He could be wide-eyed and silly like a kitten.
Or reserved and regal like a wise old lion.
In his last few weeks and months, he had a fragile look about him. His age was starting to show. But even in his last days, he was comfortable, purring and without pain. That was such a relief to me.
On Monday I received a work call where I learned I might need to travel next week. I was concerned about being away from Simon, and trying to figure out what my options were. Less than a day later he was gone. Simon’s last day was uncomfortable. Not bad, but definitely not carefree. He was retaining fluid that seemed to be pressing on his lungs, and it affected his breathing. His vet called to check on him and agreed that it was time to say goodbye. Simon’s happy, comfortable last few months made seeing him decline much easier on me than it could have been. I knew he couldn’t last forever, so knowing he was happy and comfortable were all that mattered to me. And then for him to pass in just a day of slight discomfort, with clear knowledge and test results that he would not improve, made saying goodbye as easy as it could be. He really made his passing so easy for me and I’m so thankful and grateful to him for that. Because it’s so difficult to say goodbye to such a warm, loving, wonderful boy. I’m so lucky he wasn’t in pain or distress. And so grateful for our time together in his last few days.
On the day he passed, the afternoon of Tuesday, April 15th, he hadn’t purred in more than a day and he wasn’t moving much. He was getting a little uncomfortable and he didn’t want me to move him or touch him much. So I just left him alone to sleep and brought him water when we needed it. Later I sat down next to him, without touching him, and told him all the stories about his life that were special to me. We reminisced about his buddies Hodjee and Meelee, about his rough start in NYC and about his life here in Seattle with so many birds. His eyes were closed and his breathing was a little labored, but he purred as he listened to me talk about our lives together. Then he fell asleep and in the evening a veterinarian came to the house to help Simon pass on. He was calm, comfortable and very peaceful. I kissed his head and said goodbye and he was gone.
He was simply the best boy. The sweetest, kindest most loving little guy ever. I love him to pieces and I miss him terribly. But I’m grateful for every moment we had together.
Rest in peace, sweet boy. XOXOX