It’s rarely that I find myself in a place in which I don’t want to write. But I found myself in that place when we lost a beloved pet recently. Our young cat, Simba, had been missing for a day. It was very unlike him to miss a meal, let alone two. I was starting to feel like something might have happened to him when I saw a shape on the grass at the side of the main road, out past the letterboxes. I got out of the car and walked closer. It was a tabby cat, the body of a tabby cat. It didn’t look like our sprightly, sparkly Simba. It was darker, soaked from the heavy rain we had just had. But one glance at his right ear confirmed what I didn’t want to believe. The tear in his ear confirmed it was Simba. And just like that, my special cat, my snuggle cat, was gone. I didn’t get to say goodbye. I didn’t get one last snuggle.
My heart was broken. It’s been so hard to believe that Simba is gone. He was such a big presence on the homestead. He was an in-your-face kind of cat in a naughty but nice way. He was a stirrer, often pushing the buttons of our old cat, Nala. He wasn’t mean though. He was just full of beans and cheekiness.
He liked to curl up on The Little Fulla’s bed. And he really loved his snuggles on the couch, on the computer chair, on the floor… Anywhere I sat down he liked to climb on me. I was the one who gave him a new life, a good home. I found him in the chicken pen when he was a kitten, half-wild trying to ram his way out of the wire netting. I caught him, brought him inside and treated the severed tip of his toe. I fed him. I took him to the vet for his vaccinations and the two further times in which he injured himself by getting up to some mischief or other. We spent a lot of time socialising him and loving him. And he loved us back.
It’s too quiet now. I cringe when I pull into the drive in the car, as there’s no Simba running up to the door to greet us and be let inside. When I walk up to the back door to look outside, no Simba appears. There’s no more little cat face peering in at the door or the window with front paws up on the pane, begging to be let in. When The Little Fulla and I go out to do the chicken chores at night there’s no more frisky cat scaling the chicken pen gate and racing up the cabbage tree, rustling around and making the roosting chickens nervous. And when we walk back to the house in the dark there’s no more cheeky cat rushing at as from behind to give us a fright before running off to hide somewhere else.
Simba loved to chase string or anything that moved. He was a swift and magnificent hunter. He and The Little Fulla would sometimes chase each other down the hall and pop out of doorways before chasing or running away again. Most cats would hate that but Simba was like half dog. He had an amazing sense of smell too, which we discovered soon after we found him. He lived life to the full. He came home with a tear in his ear not long ago.
I wish Simba hadn’t gone out to the busy road. I wish he would just waltz back in the door again. It still feels like he might, even though I know he’s gone. I wish I didn’t care so much about him so it wouldn’t hurt so much, but I can’t help it. Simba was special. He was a desire of my heart fulfilled and now he’s gone. He was only 1 1/2 years old. I can choose to be bitter about it or I can choose to be thankful for the time that we had with him. Yes, I’m still sad about it, but I’m not going to let it drag me down. We buried Simba in the Citrus Pen. From the orchard he came and to the orchard he returned.
My song for this time has been Bless The Lord Oh My Soul – “Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes.” A Simba-shaped hole was smote in my heart. I can choose to believe that nothing will ever fill that hole or I can let Jesus fill that hole.
I’m still singing.