Once introduced as a hippie journalist who believes a dance party can solve any problem. Reporting from Pakistan, Mississippi, Arkansas and Standing Rock. Mostly at VICE. Feminist. Travel notes & photography from Iceland, Mexico, Italy & around. Sometimes talking about music & stuff that would interest Gen-X -cusp- millennials.

In Loving Memory of Simon Franco


Simon Franco was born to a half-feral teen mom on the mean streets of Jackson, Mississippi in early April of 2002. In May of 2002, he relocated to a rural cottage near Oxford, to live with Cheree, who would become his primary caretaker and longtime Person.

Simon loved wet food, soft beds, the backs of sofas, backyards, damp bathtubs, sun-patches, puzzle feeders and Feliway plug-ins. His hobbies included watching wildlife through windows, drinking from faucets and toilets, eating house plants, getting brushed, curling up in the crook of a human limb, sleeping on a warm stomach, licking his Person and purring loudly.

In Simon's early adulthood, he also loved a stuffed poodle named Cheri (per its tag), which incidentally sounds like Cheree, his Person’s name. He would carry Cheri in his mouth, until the day Cheri shared his carrier during his first cross-country flight. After that day, he wanted nothing more to do with Cheri. (Luckily, he was still fond of Cheree.)

Simon was always impeccably groomed, with neat black stripes, tiny velvet paws and a perfect pink nose. He was also very well-traveled—by plane, car and subway. Throughout his life, he resided in Oxford, Madison, Starkville, Louisville, Jackson and Brandon, Mississippi; in Boston, Massachusetts; in Los Angeles, California; in Manhattan and Brooklyn; in Little Rock, Arkansas, and in New Orleans, Louisiana.

He made friends in many of these locations, including his roommate Monica Canfield-Lenfest (from 2004-2005), and a couple of his Person’s significant others, who have been out of his life for a long time but gave him many snuggles and helped ferry him to the vet.

He hated his carrier and always soiled himself when he traveled in it, which is why, whenever possible, he roamed free in cars and was carried in-arms to veterinary offices.

Simon has been called ornery, but truthfully, he was just a big fan of consent. He was particular about who touched him, when and how. He was an early riser and a night owl, but spent many daylight hours napping. He was also a good hunter and stayed on top of the roaches that haunted his perpetually old living spaces.

Simon would sometimes play with mice, but he was merciful and never killed or even visibly injured them. He would simply herd them into a position where his Person could scoop them into a cup and deposit them outside. He could be playful and was enticed by a wiggling string, even in his later years.

Simon wasn’t a pushover. On more than one occasion, he has attacked a friend play-wrestling or otherwise making sudden movements toward his Person. He didn’t like chaos and would often strike with vicious teeth if there was too much chaos in his vicinity. He was tolerant of dogs and would mostly agree to sniff and be sniffed, share human beds, and mutually ignore each other—although on rare occasions, he would acquiesce to touch noses. However, the first time he met his future roommate, Booger (canine), he shut him in a bathroom while their Persons were at brunch.

Simon & Cheree 2004.png

Simon was territorial and disliked other cats, except as a very young kitten, when he befriended his first feline roommate, Fatso. He tussled with a later feline roommate, Diablo, and bore a permanent tiny tear on his ear as a souvenir of their time together.

Simon had his teeth cleaned once, at the age of 14. It was a seminal moment in his life, as it marked only the second time he’d experienced anesthesia. (The first was the day he sacrificed his balls for the greater good of felinity).


Simon was sassy, wise and sometimes very zen. He expressed his anger, anxiety and displeasure (sometimes by leaving an unwelcome surprise on the bed he shared with his Person), but mostly he was very forgiving. His Person was young and capricious during their first years together, and Simon had to deal with many relocations, new human and animal housemates, and long periods without his primary caretaker. He was also very brave. It never took him longer than a few minutes to get acclimated to a new apartment or motel room.

Simon was an incredibly loyal, faithful, comforting and ever-present companion to his Person for nearly 17 years. He made her laugh and saw her through the deaths of loved ones, breakups, job stresses, life stresses, part of undergraduate school and all of graduate school. As one of the best parts of her day-to-day life, he was deeply loved and will be enormously missed.

Simon passed on January 5, 2019, after a 2-week battle with renal lymphoma, only a month after a veterinarian complimented him on having “great lean muscle mass” for his age.

Preceding him in death are pack members Booger Bear Bukowski and Diablo Triplett. He is survived by Yoda (canine), Buddy (canine), Rebel (canine), his Person, Cheree Franco, his part-time caretaker, Carl Franco, and his former part-time caretakers, Jackie Mason Franco and Jayson “Ming Donkey” Triplett.