A Tribute to Simon

Simon was originally found as a community cat, living outside and unowned. He became a part of a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) project to be neutered and returned back to the outside to prevent further population. However, once trapped and neutered, Simon proved to be quite socialized and affectionate! The community cat caretaker that trapped him decided to foster Simon and help him find a home.

As she was continuing to get him vetted, it was soon discovered that Simon was positive for Feline Leukemia (FeLV). FeLV is a retrovirus that weakens the immune system with a prognosis of 2-4 years after being diagnosed. It can be contagious amongst cats if blood, saliva or other bodily fluids are shared. Despite his diagnosis, Simon still deserved to live a happy, loved life and the caretaker continued to foster him this sweetheart.

After about two years, the caretaker reached out to Our Companions in need of vet assistance with Simon’s fragile health. As we learned more about Simon and his condition, we decided to invite Simon to our Sanctuary for further specialized care. Simon became our very first cat at the Sanctuary with Feline Leukemia. Though the virus can be contagious with other cats, it was unlikely to spread unless there was direct contact with bodily fluids between cats. Simon had his own room, his own toys, and bodily fluids coming in contact with each other would be very rare. With Simon’s vulnerable immune system, it’s actually more likely for Simon to get sick from other cats and people from germs being brought to his room.Therefore, diligent hand washing before and after visiting Simon’s room was mandatory to help keep Simon healthy.

When Simon arrived to the Sanctuary in June of 2022, we heard he was nice and kind, but it was quite the understatement! Simon instantly settled into his room and was happy to greet everyone that came to visit him. Not only did he want constant pets, but there was no doubt that as soon as you sat down, he would be on your lap in a moment’s notice! This all-black cat was an endless void of cuddles and love! His purr could be heard from across the room, just letting his friends know how happy he was being with them. If only we could purr right back, letting him know how happy and loved we felt in return! Many of our cats prefer the quiet, solo time of our staff and volunteers in their rooms, but not Simon! Staff meetings were often held in Simon’s room, where he had many people giving him a plethora of pets and an almost seemingly endless supply of laps to snuggle on!

Our Cat Team and volunteers were very diligent in reporting any slight symptom that would indicate an illness or Simon being unwell given his fragile immune system. He dealt with on and off issues with congestion, lack of appetite, and other seemingly mild symptoms, in which we’d seek the help of our vet to ensure Simon was cared for before any small issue turned into a larger problem. After a bout of low appetite, we took him to the vet where it was discovered that in the past four weeks (the date of his last bloodwork), he had rapidly entered into severe kidney failure. With his compromised immune system and how fast the kidney decline was, it was anyone’s guess how much good time he had left. At this time, the Cat Team started to closely monitor his quality of life, ensuring his last days were happy. After a few days, Simon continued to refuse any food and was hiding, not coming out at all to see his friends. After consulting with the team, we helped Simon pass, surrounded by the love and comfort of his friends.

With our first FeLV cat taken in the Sanctuary, we knew that they often have a much shorter life expectancy than cats without that diagnosis. Still, it doesn’t make the loss of losing Simon feel any less sudden or any less sad. Simon was one of the most affectionate, kind, and gentle cats we’ve ever had at the Sanctuary. It almost seems unfair to have lost such an incredible being so short. Yet, it makes the short time that we had with him feel even more precious; a segment of time that we’ll hold very close. As we continue on helping other FeLV cats, we’ll always remember Simon and the impact he created at our Sanctuary. His life, his love, and his memory will always have a special place in our hearts.