Simba, the Ranch Cat
On our ranch, some visitors were less corporeal than others. Simba the cat was made more of spirit than blood and fur.
At our dry, scratchy piece of land, Simba was one of many surprises that taught us to hope. She appeared at our ranch house from out of nowhere one day, and as shown in the photo, liked to sit regally on a hefty corner post of our yard fence. From there she had a good view of the goats grazing in the pasture and of our new barn. For a cat gone feral in that wild place, she had an uncanny ability and need to communicate with us. She searched us out, it seemed, to introduce herself and to make us welcome, though she was perfectly able to sustain herself on a wild diet. She was a central Texas version of Joy Adamson’s Born Free lioness; our Simba different and remarkable for the fact that we had not raised her!
Simba definitely made us her family: she liked to chase after the pickup truck and to follow us around when we went on walks. As we walked along one afternoon when she was fully pregnant, she began meowing plaintively and jumped into my arms, obviously wanting me to carry her. A minute later, her water broke; it was time for me to act as midwife. We fixed her a cardboard box on the porch where she gave birth and raised three kittens. We were still commuting out on weekends at that period, and she and the kittens managed just fine, though we did have to save her young from a hungry possum one night.
The possum was a smelly harbinger of other less desirable and even dangerous guests.
Read more at A Texas Ranching Adventure.