He may not be the first cat ever to be named after The Lion King, but Simba has definitely earned his stripes. Oops! That’s a tiger reference. Come to think of it, he’s got the Eye of the Tiger too, but unlike Katy Perry, you’re never gonna here him Roar.
Simba prefers to squeak, and certainly not with any trace of ferocity – not that one would ever mistake a squeak for a ferocious roar. Simba squeaks with delight every time you touch him. It doesn’t matter where or when, every place is his tickly spot and he’s always got time for tickles.
Despite all the noted differences, this adorable little package of orange and white fluff does indeed share one thing in common with the king of the jungle – when it comes to courage, he’s got the lion’s share!
His abundance of courage wasn’t exactly obvious at first. In truth, he was more like the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz when unceremoniously delivered to Toronto Animal Services’ East Region shelter by an owner who no longer wanted him.
Shelter veterinary technician Michelle recalls how completely horrified he was to be there.
“The shy, quiet types often don’t cope as well in the shelter,” she said.
It also didn’t help matters that he had to lose a fair chunk of his lion’s mane soon after his arrival. Being part Persian, Simba should have been dazzling everyone with long lovely locks of silky fur but that was not the case. He was shamed by a painfully neglected matted mane from head to toe. Simba had no choice but to allow a friendly shelter caregiver to shave him down in order to provide the relief he needed.
He may have felt better physically after the buzz cut but emotionally, he was more vulnerable than ever. Fur-less and frightened, Simba’s vulnerability began to affect his health. He came down with a bad upper respiratory infection – basically your common cat cold. He lost his appetite as a result.
To top it off, he developed an infection in his left eye. Simba was in bad shape and being in the shelter wasn’t helping matters. So Michelle offered to foster Simba, knowing how much he’d appreciate sharing tickles with only a few other felines and one rather large yet likeable hound dog. He couldn’t pack his bags fast enough.
Sadly, Simba’s eye didn’t respond well to treatment. It became badly ulcerated and needed to be surgically removed.
Not long ago, I received the annual licence renewal notice from Toronto Animal Services for my dogs. Nobody likes getting bills in the mail, but this is one I gladly pay each year. Not only does it protect my own pets should they ever become lost, it funds saving the lives of less fortunate animals, providing them a second chance for a happy future.
Thanks to licensing fees and donations from the public, our city-run shelters can do far more than just shelter. These funds support valuable programs such as adoption, spay/neuter and emergency medical care for homeless pets like Simba.
Simba may have lost an eye, but he’s gained far more. He’s got an entire shelter cheering him on every paw-step of the way, starting with his foster mom.
“Losing an eye hasn’t held him back one bit,” said Michelle. “We’ve only had a few tumbles off the kitchen counter while mastering single-sided vision. He’s a one-eyed wonder!”
When you’ve got the love and encouragement of good friends, you discover great things about yourself that were there all along. Remember, “Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn’t already have.”
Simba (ID#A668466) is a roughly five year-old domestic long-hair Persian mix in the care of Toronto Animal Services’ East Region branch, 821 Progress Avenue, 416-338-7539. He may have been named after the Lion King, but Simba doesn’t need to reign over an entire kingdom to be happy. If he can rule your heart, and kitchen counter, he’ll be squeaking for joy!
*At the time of this article, Simba was still in post-op foster care. If your heart and kitchen counter are in need of a King, don’t hesitate to call the shelter to find out his adoption status!