This week marks the 4 year anniversary of the passing of my cat Simon. Sometimes it feels like I had to say goodbye yesterday and other days if feels like a lifetime ago. Simon lived a wonderful 18 years, and maybe a little selfishly I wished it could have been longer.
Simon was a very kind, gentle spirit who loved everyone he met including Spinner, a later addition to our cat family, and Cleo our Tabby cat who had no patience for him. She often walked by giving him a smack with her paw right on his face, leaving Simon shocked every time. He never retaliated however, instead he would sneak up to sleep by her side and even wash her problem ear as she got older.
Simon adored his brother Spinner and, after an initial hiss upon first meeting, they became best buddies. Simon was talkative, inquisitive and always wanted to know what the humans were up to. There are many fond memories of Simon during the holidays as he loved to hang out with guests and would sit at the dinner table like a proper gentleman.
Simon had green eyes and a pure black coat with a blue tint, fading slightly towards the end of his life to reveal a subtle mink color…and a few grey hairs. I always called him my little panther, for he resembled one perfectly in miniature, sleek beauty and grace. One of my favorite pictures of him above, the late winter sun striking his fur in such a way that it looks like he is shimmering.
Simon brought years of joy, comfort and humor to our lives and even my dad, who wasn’t a cat person and called him Sparky, was very upset at his passing. Despite knowing it was his time and that I was doing the right thing, I still went through all the typical stages of grieving including questioning my decision.
There was an emptiness and pain present immediately after he died, everywhere I turned there was a reminder of him and I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I painted his portrait, the only way I could express what I was feeling.
A moment captured, Simon looking down and away as he was in the habit of doing when being photographed, a wonderful cat with a wise old soul who will always be remembered.
One of the many lasting gifts Simon gave me was a love and appreciation for black cats, and with Black Cat Appreciation Day on Sunday August 17, I find it the perfect time to celebrate his life and spread the love for all the little panthers everywhere.