Simon Teakettle: 1987 - 2006

Posted 08.29.06

Death is inevitable, a part of life, as I remind myself, wiping away the tears.

Simon gave me plenty of warning, declining dramatically in the past few months, preparing me to lose him. And to the end I respected what I knew were his wishes, to die at home, not at the office of the vet he hated.

It wasn't this particular veterinarian, a gentle man who was taken aback by this particularly feisty eleven pounds of amazing fury. Simon had insisted, from the first time I picked him up, that he would not allow strangers to handle him, barely accepted tiny tentative pats from those he knew, and bonded only, exclusively, with me.


He was adopted from the Gatineau SPCA to fit the existing "mug shot" which had appeared in various magazines and newspapers as well as on the stationery of our company, Simon Teakettle Ink. Simon Teakettle had become Canada's most famous cat. For twenty-five years Simon Teakettle's name was mentioned on CBC radio, by hosts such as Peter Gzowski, Bill Richardson, Shelagh Rogers, Arthur Black, and Jurgen Gothe.

Simon the Younger was born in a barn, technically a "feral" kitten, but exhibiting some Siamese traits and with the small body of an Oriental rather than the usual domestic shorthair.

All black like his predecessor, he was able to carry on the surname of "the classy cat in the black fur tuxedo" even though his throat bore a white ascot.

Never shy in front of a camera, Simon appeared in a 2002 segment of Animal Planet, where he demonstrated his ability to understand more than three dozen words and expressions.

He learned quickly not to touch a treat until he had performed the desired action, and would touch it with one paw, then the other, as well as touch various objects, such as a ball, a mouse, or a snake (his favorite toy). He could sit and catch his bear in his paws, walk on a leash, and watch the squirrels playing in the back yard without chasing them.

He figured out very early that if he sat quietly, preferably just out of sight, he could watch the birds at the feeders and they wouldn't fly away.

Simon was a champion for responsible pet ownership. He had been neutered, licensed, and micro-chipped, stayed on his own property, and was not allowed on tables or certain pieces of furniture. He allowed his nails to be clipped and also used several scratching boards, sparing carpets and upholstery.

Simon appeared in many anthologies, the latest being The Magic of Animals: Living Happier &am;; Healthier with Pets, by Dr. Wendy Di Rodio, 2005, and For the Love of Cats, edited by Dena Harris, 2006.

He was, in every sense, a remarkable cat.

Simon Teakettle the Younger was 19, the equivalent of 93 human years. His legacy will carry on with the adoption of Simon Teakettle the Third.

But not yet. First I have some grieving to do. *** Photos of Simon are in the Photo Gallery on the company website: www.SimonTeakettle.com.

Barbara Floria Graham is the author of the 20th anniversary edition of Five Fast Steps to Better Writing and Mewsings/Musings. Her website: www.SimonTeakettle.com

Copyright © 2006 Barbara Floria Graham/Log Cabin Chronicles/08.06