Willy and Simba's New Rules

Casey Hatfield-Chiotti

South Jordan, Utah-based social worker Wendy Collins has been drawn to cats all her life. When she lost two beloved Domestic Shorthairs, she knew she would eventually find another feline companion. Wendy set her mind on a Lynx Point Siamese, a beautiful, intelligent breed with the piercing blue eyes of a Siamese and the striped coat of a Canadian Lynx. Collins happened upon an ad for two young Lynx Point Siamese in the local newspaper's classified section. The owner had trouble keeping up with the energetic cats and wanted to find them a more suitable home.

Collins adopted the two brothers and named them Willy and Simba. Willy, a chocolate Lynx Point, and Simba, a lilac-hued version, immediately brought a lot of excitement and entertainment into her home. "You can totally tell they have personalities and responses to things. I live alone, and they're great companions. They're my kids," says Collins.

In the past, Collins had adopted cats when they were just a few weeks old. She knew Willy and Simba were older, but she didn't know how old. A veterinarian told her they were 7 months. Collins believes during their young lives, they had been left to their own devices with no training. She recalls when she went to adopt them, the owners could only find one cat and later called when they found the other one a short while later.

While sweet as could be, they were a bit unruly. They had bad habits like jumping on counters and chewing plastic containers. "They're very different from a Domestic Shorthair. They're very smart, and Simba requires a high degree of stimulation. If he doesn't get it, he will get into trouble," says Wendy.

Active Simba frequently tears around the house; he also scratches furniture. Willy is more shy and nervous. Collins says his nervousness has gotten worse over time, and he likes to chew plastic bags and containers, bury things and bat all the water out of his water dish. "They each have their quirks," says Wendy.

She's worked tirelessly to engage the cats and establish some structure. Likening her house to a "cat palace," Wendy has purchased many items to make Willy feel safe and to help keep Simba's energy funneled in the right direction, including cat towers, a cat exercise wheel and multiple cat scratchers. But the issues still crop up.

After a year when hardly anyone came over due to the pandemic, Wendy says Willy and Simba are increasingly nervous around new people. "When the doorbell rings, they completely freak. Willy runs and hides," says Wendy. She's also begun traveling again for work, but she hates to leave; she doesn't want to cause them further stress. Pandemic-related changes have triggered insecurity in pets, just like in people.

Some solutions include keeping cats entertained, ensuring they have their territory, working on clicker training and removing certain objects the cat is preoccupied with. Wendy also began using the Comfort Zone Calming Pheromone Collar to help with Willy and Simba's more undesirable behaviors. The collar emits a drug-free vapor that mimics the pheromones a cat releases to indicate the area is safe and secure. (It's kind of like sending a signal in the cats' language to let them know they are safe and can relax.) She immediately noticed the cats were calmer and even more cuddly and happier than before. The brothers are incredibly bonded and can frequently be found snuggled together on the couch.

"They like the collar. Willy and Simba are more affectionate; they roll around in bliss. It makes them calmer and more relaxed."

Wendy hates to think of what would have happened if Willy and Simba had been separated. "They're sweet and very loving to each other. They always sleep together and play together."

Not all their challenging behaviors have disappeared, but life in the Collins household has become more manageable. With the help of the Comfort Zone Calming Pheromone Collar, Willy and Simba's most endearing quality—their tight bond—is as strong as ever.