This is Simon, The Road Gallery mascot. He personally vets all our artists and he is a really tough critic. Any emerging artists in NYC hoping to join the gallery will have to get through Simon first.
Although we don’t know too much about his early kitten days, we can fill in the story from about 11 months old. Simon, then Slim, was living with his buddy in Staten Island with a family that didn’t treat them too well. During the winter of 2007, a report came into the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement (HLE) division that two cats had been abandoned. When the agent turned up at the location, he saw two bedraggled, shivering, terrified cats tied up by their necks to a building grate, left in the bitter cold with no shelter. When the agent interviewed their owner, she denied tying them up but claimed Child Protection Services told her that the cats had made her apartment an unclean environment for her seven children. Without hesitation, the agent seized the cats and took them straight to the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in Manhattan where they were evaluated and treated.
Fast forward a few weeks later. My partner Eric and I decided we wanted to adopt a cat, having both grown up with animals. We made our way to the ASPCA on an equally cold and blustery Saturday morning, managing our expectations that we might not find the right pet on that first visit. In fact, we toured the whole of the cat adoption facility without landing on a new pet pal. We agreed to call it a day but as we were leaving Eric noticed a white, black and grey cat playing with one of the volunteers. We went to take a closer look. Simon clearly knew how to get himself adopted and pulled out all his best tricks. He rolled onto his back, cocked his head and locked eyes with us. We were sold!
The ASPCA advised us to keep Simon in one room initially as he adapted to his new environment. They told us to anticipate that he would hide under the bed for the first few days. Not our little Simon. As soon as we opened the carrying case, he jumped out, tail straight up in the air and started to explore his new surroundings. Within fifteen minutes he had climbed onto the bed and given us his trademark head rub.
Simon is now seven and continues to bring us joy and laughter every day. He is playful, curious and affectionate in equal measures and very, very cheeky. He is always one step ahead of us and we have to give into the humiliation of being outsmarted by our cat on a daily basis. We often tell him how lucky he is to be living with us but he doesn’t seem to care – his naughty antics prevail. We could not have asked for a better pet and we are so glad we could provide a loving home for this little guy who didn’t have the best start in life.