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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Our Monster-cats - Simba, Maine Coon

With the passing of GreyStroke, I noted "And then there was one."
So here's a bit of who came and went before. First there was Gable. Then GreyStroke. Then BobCat adopted us. Finally Simba came into our lives.

Simba went over the Rainbow bridge in Feb 2007. Simba was a Maine Coon - very large, very furry.
And I don’t have pictures to share just now - I’ll have to do some scanning. Simba pre-dated the digital camera I got for Christmas. He looked a lot like a seriously furry version of BobCat - with a white chest instead of gold.
We inherited Simba because his former owner was invited to live full time at our local VA Hospital.

When we first met him, Simba was mean/unhappy (in constant pain from a disintegrating hip joint), smelled terrible (he’d stopped cleaning himself - prior owner was a chain smoker) and he had a terrible haircut as someone helpful but clueless had tried to cut the snarls from his coat.
We found him a MC groomer here in Tucson (he was delighted with the results and started cleaning himself right away when we got home).
Lots of Vet trips and a hip surgery later he was much less surly, had begun to PURR, and would even play (more of a bring-that-toy-over-here-participant than a chaser). He chose my husband as his person but eventually decided I was snuggle worthy. I even inspired an occasional non-food related purr! Simba was 25 pounds when we got him. We got him down to a more comfortable weight for his hips (the vet told us he’d had other-hip-surgery as a kitten…) of 20 pounds.
Simba could manage to get up onto the couch, but his hips didn't let him go much higher. We setup steps for his access to our bed. He would come to visit for a bit at bedtime and drape himself on my husband's chest; Purrs reverberating through the bed and pillows.
He and BobCat were buddies - To the exclusion of and sometimes ganging up on GreyStroke or Gable.

He liked to have his head brushed. Just his head. Yep, that means there were some weekly skirmishes about what part of his person I would brush/comb whether he liked it or not.
He was mostly growl with the occasional snap, but he never did any real damage on me when I combed him. He did complained bitterly and we kept the sessions short but successful. Also with Simba’s bad hips, there were parts he couldn’t reach to clean. Imagine, if you will, my efforts to contain Simba with my legs whilst brushing/combing him because he was longer than my arms (wry grin).

Simba developed Diabetes after he’d been with us for about 5 years - he crashed pretty suddenly and hard. I visited him daily at the high-tech vet across town - several times a day on the weekends if the Vet wasn't too swamped. I coaxed him to eat and brushed his head and sat with him. He recovered slowly and I did the 12-hour shot routine for a year or so. He was a favorite at both Vets - being extremely large and fluffy, if not always terribly charming. The Vet across town would have to monitor his diabetes for a day or so every few months. Sometimes they just let him roam the halls overnight.

Then he went into remission - no more shots!
Until the diabetes came back a year ago last Fall - I think because of the yet un-diagnosed Cancer. I’ll skip the details but we had to let Simba go when the inoperable tumor was discovered during a scope procedure to find out why he was coughing up blood.
We’re hoping to grace our home with another cat or two and we’d love a Maine Coon. But we’re at the tail-end of renovating our bathrooms so a new cat and construction would be unfair. And cats usually find us so I’m waiting - but not patiently.

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