I have been visiting Simba twice a day in his home while his owners travel. He is a young male tabby with light green eyes and fabulous whiskers. He loves company and is always at the front door when I arrive, eager to play. It’s been a sunny week so we usually head to the back garden that is surrounded by a thicket of tall black bamboo. This is a stroke of luck for Simba as bamboo is his favourite toy. I pick up a discarded stalk and swish it around the floor in front of me and Simba immediately leaps into action, chasing the bamboo around and my legs, jumping over my feet. He leaps on the end catching it under his large paws until he eventually breaks a piece off. Gathering it in his mouth Simba carries it to the foot of the large bamboo plants and guards it. We quickly develop a routine, first we play, then I give him a brush, cheeks are his particular favourite and he drops to the ground and purrs with pleasure. Then he follows me over to his bowl for breakfast.
When the hot weather inevitably gives way to rain we spend our evenings inside. Simba sits next to me on the floor or the sofa and with two paws on my leg, I stroke him while he steps over and around me, eventually settling into a curled up position on my lap.