My beloved Simba is gone. Though I will miss him terribly, I’m grateful for all of the years he was part of our family, and grateful that he is not in any more pain.
Simba has always loved to sleep. As I was going through my pictures, I noticed how many of them are of him sleeping. He loved to sleep on his back and many other uncomfortable-looking positions. It didn’t really matter where it was, either, as long as he could get his beauty rest. It was a habit that started early on, and continued throughout his life.
My Simba Boy is now taking his final, long, restful nap. I really don’t know if animals go to heaven when they die, but if they do, I think he is asleep in some crazy position out in the meadow beside a street of gold.
Timbalie Bodine was our boy for a long time. He made it to the ripe old age of 18 years old. I had been telling people this, hoping my calculations were correct, but then it was confirmed when I found some of his baby pictures with a date stamp on it.
We got Simba when he was a wee little tyke, from a litter Bud’s sister’s cat had. He was the runt of the bunch, and always remained a smallish cat, though that didn’t stop him from holding on to his territory in the neighborhood. He was an outside cat from a very early age, and he always loved the outdoors. He was quite the hunter. His favorite snack was Chameleon, and he also enjoyed a bird from time to time when I wasn’t looking. He was friends with the Opossums. There was a Mother Opossum and a clan of babies at one of our houses and they lived in harmony together. He often turned a blind eye when they would come to feast on his cat food at night. They would walk right by him, and he would stir, look at them, and then continue sleeping.
Simba had many adventures. One of the biggest adventures was when we went to my parents’ home in the country on the Eve of Y2K. We had loaded up the car with our most precious belongings, including Simba, and headed to the Hill Country to escape the coming crash. The crash never happened in the way we expected. We had another one, instead, which came in the form of Simba escaping. He always loved home, and when he escaped from that strange place we had taken him to, he headed South for home. We thought he was gone for good. My sister and Dad made signs and posted them along the road to their house. Miracle of all miracles, we got a phone call. Simba had made it to a lady’s house quite a ways down the road. She saw that he looked well cared for, and decided to hold on to him. I couldn’t thank that lady enough when we picked Simba up. It really was a miracle.
Simba loved his rubdowns. He wasn’t content with just a short one, either. He especially loved to be petted by Bud, rather, it was more like a massage! You could just see the ecstasy on his face when Bud gave him a rubdown.
He endured, with grace, the many permutations of his name that I called him: Simba Boy, Bo, Little Gray Simbo, Bo-Bo-Boy, Bodine, Timbalie Bodine, BeeBee BooBoo, Pretty Boy….all humiliating, I’m sure, and he got teased quite a bit by some of the other cats in the neighborhood.
Simba never came to terms with the chickens. He was terrified of them. I tried many times to help them get acquainted, but he always ran away. I don’t blame him, really. They were bigger than he was, and not the slightest bit intimidated of him, in fact, they always came toward him, rather than run away. He got pecked on more than one occasion.
When we moved to our new house, Simba roamed the neighborhood and made friends with the neighborhood cats. The lady who lives (coincidentally) catty-cornered to us, took a shine to Simba. Simba started spending more time across the street than he did at home. I finally decided to bring him inside for good. He was getting older, anyway, and at times, it seemed that the heat was getting to him. Surprisingly, he adapted pretty well to being an inside cat. We’d attempted it one other time, when Simba got an unexpected baby brother (who preceded him in death), and he always wanted outside. Maybe it was just that he wanted to get away from the baby brother, Sebastian, who was bigger than him, interrupted his sleep, and who he never liked.
The long trips up to our new place were rough on Simba…10 1/2 hours one way. He didn’t handle ‘change’ well, either, so being up there was stressful for him. He was an old cat, and old cats have aches and pains, and like a ‘routine’ way of life. Still, he found plenty of time to sleep up there, and most of the time, it was with a heater pointed right at him. He also went outside a bit to explore and enjoy the outdoors while we were there.
Simba really started to go downhill fast the last month of his life. He had kidney disease. He had always been a thin cat, but he started eating less and less. Toward the end, he was painfully thin, and his hips seemed to hurt him a lot and were very stiff when he had to get up and move.
I knew the time was getting near, when he didn’t come to greet me in the morning. We had fallen into a routine, Simba and I. I would get up, start the coffee pot, put on the bacon or sausage for Bud’s breakfast, and then sit down on the hearth with my coffee and give Simba a rubdown. The last day, he didn’t come to greet me. He had gotten really weak and walking was starting to get more difficult. Instead, I went to him. Up to the last, when I came up to him to pet him, he insisted on getting out of his bed, into my lap, and still purred when I pet him.
Simba lived a long, good life, had many adventures, and was loved by me and Bud, very much. I’ll miss you so much, my beautiful Simba Boy.