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SimonSimon was feral when he was brought to the shelter. He was born on the streets with no human contact and, though still just a kitten, it was believed he’d never acclimate to life as a companion animal. Simon was slated for euthanasia when Amanda found him and took him home.

With a lifetime of experience caring for rescue animals, Amanda was Simon’s best chance at growing up to become a loving and trusting house cat. Still, she had her work cut out for her. It was over a month before Simon would come out from hiding when she was in the room, and still longer before he let her touch him.

When I first met Amanda and Simon and heard about Simon’s journey I was inspired by his affection for her and the level of trust they had built. Still, the trust that Amanda placed in me to care for him in her absence was not readily shared by Simon.

For the better part of the first week I put everything I know about cats to the test. I was careful never to approach him head on or to make eye contact with him. Every move I made was slow and controlled and quiet. I gave him the space he wanted and allowed him to be near me without forcing him to interact with me.

Today Simon and I had a breakthrough. As I sat reading to him, Simon plopped down on my lap and put his head in my hand. Moments later he was purring like a motorcycle engine. Simon had finally said “Cuddle”, and I was elated to oblige.