Yesterday we regretfully had to say goodbye to our loving, beautiful boy Simba. This farewell caught us by surprise and was very unexpected. Although Simba had a long history of health issues, I never imagined having to say goodbye to him so soon, or so suddenly. So it is with great sadness that I have to let go of this gentle, beautiful life and soul and say a final farewell to our dear boy.
Simba was born feral and came to live in our backyard permanently in 2004. Because he adopted us, we built a shelter for him against our fence to protect him from the rain and added soft blankets to keep him warm and dry. He ate his food every morning and night on our patio table and when darkness fell he would take himself to his shelter, and go to sleep. He knew that we were now his home and he became increasingly comfortable with us and trusted us. Though at the time, I could not touch him, I would go out and say goodnight to him in his shelter and he would stay and listen. I felt honored that he let me sit so close to him, though he watched me cautiously.
One morning in 2005, Simba appeared with a large oozing wound on his back hip, it was bleeding and draining onto our table as he was eating. That wound changed Simba’s life forever. While he was eating, we quietly opened the French door behind him, and quickly grabbed him and put him into a carrier. Thank goodness we succeeded, because his wound was abscessed and had become infected and required surgery to clean and close it. Those were Simba’s last days living outside in the elements exposed to all the dangers he encountered daily. Soon he healed in our home for the next weeks, and came to live in our cottage where we built him two elevated kennels so he could enjoy being outside safely, watch the birds at the bird feeders, feel the weather and the sunshine, and hear the many sounds of nature. He came to love his cottage, knew it was his own, and within a year lost his feralness and became one of the most loving, gentle domestic cats I have ever known.
Simba shared our cottage gradually with three more rescues who all became his closest friends; Romeo who was abandoned in the neighborhood, Gracie from Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), and Alana from an HSUS rescue shelter in Gainesville, Florida. Alana and Simba had became inseparable—a love affair from the moment they met three years ago. Their two black and white bodies became one—indistinguishable and inseparable. They purred, drooled, nuzzled, licked, caressed and kissed each other constantly and slept together on the couch, partially laying on top of each other. Romeo and Simba played and chased each other, Romeo dominant and Simba rolling over with his back legs up in submission. Simba was the most gentle, loving boy imaginable with sleepy, doe eyes always looking up at us in acknowledgement, begging us to continue petting him.
But Simba had some serious health issues early on with a chronic case of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), chronic liver disease and hepatitis, and mild pancreatitis. Starting in 2006, he was diagnosed with Corona virus, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and chronic liver disease through a liver profile test and an ultrasound. We managed Simba’s health with antibiotics, B-12 injections given monthly to today, daily probiotics, Denosyl supplements for improved liver health, intermittent Tylan powder or Metronidazole as needed, subcutaneous fluids, and holistically through acupuncture and bioresonance therapy. He improved but continued to suffer bouts with his IBD. Giving Simba a novel protein diet, combined with acupuncture and bioresonance treatments helped to alleviate some of his symptoms and discomfort, but we sensed one day this would be his Achilles heel.
Now many years later, Simba has numerous gallstones that are obstructing his large intestine and his gallbladder and bile duct are very distended and abnormal. After two days of tests including X-rays, a full blood panel, and an ultrasound with a radiology report, his tests confirmed that there was nothing we could do to save him or to improve his health. Even surgery could not remove all his gallstones and a stent would be required, which at his age was not recommended.
So today, we’re honoring Simba’s life with a candlelight vigil and remembering how his beautiful life and soul has blessed us for 11 fortunate years. During those years, we watched Simba go from feral to domestic cat—implicitly trusting us and loving us everyday. Every morning Simba has patiently waited at his cottage door windowpanes for me to bring out his food, and when I came walking down the walkway he would excitedly jump and spin in eager anticipation. I will miss his beautiful face waiting for me in the windowpanes and miss his doe eyes looking into mine on the couch as he lay beside me looking into my eyes, endearing me to give him more affection as he would purr and purr. His gentleness and kindness is unsurpassed–I know his cat friends would agree.
With so little warning Simba’s sudden decline and passing has taken us by surprise, and left us feeling Simba’s profound absence. But as with every life, Simba’s was unique and so special to us and our destiny was to be together as he made us his home. We’re so honored and thankful he came into our lives and we could share these last 11 years together.
So it is that we say farewell to our loving, sweet Simba. We’ll never forget you Simba, and one day we’ll meet again and be reunited on the other side. To you my dear boy, good night and we love you.
Don’t be dismayed at good-byes.
A farewell is necessary before you can meet again.
And meeting again, after moments
Or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.
~ by Richard Bach