Six months have passed since Russia invaded Ukraine. Since then, millions of people have fled the country, taking their pets with them. When the war broke out, Jennifer Shyshkina, a dancer, knew she had to flee with her beloved kitten Simba. Before the war, the two were inseparable, and their bond only grew stronger as Shyshkina packed a bag and took Simba to start over in the south of France.
In the fall of 2021, Shyshkina rescued the cat. Since then, Simba has been a source of comfort in her darkest hours. “Simba was the biggest sweetheart and support in my life from the beginning,” she writes. This boy has helped me cope mentally with the end of a four-year relationship and the start of the war. I couldn’t be more grateful.”
Shyshkina shares photos and videos from the beginning of 2022 in which they were forced into a bomb shelter after explosions began in Kyiv. They were able to flee by car after a long journey out of the city and into another part of Ukraine. The journey continued into Bulgaria before coming to an end after two days in France.
When the couple arrived in Aix-en-Provence, they began to settle in and are still there today. Simba transitioned from an indoor-only cat in Ukraine to an outdoor-loving cat in France. Shyshkina bought him a harness and a leash, and the two go on walks together where the kitty can roll around in the dirt, greet horses, and bop along in the fields.
The curious and adorable kitty made the trauma of war bearable. “All this time, Simba was by my side,” Shyshkina says in a video. “I adore this cat more than anything else.” With everything going on in my country, I’m just glad that Simba and I have each other.”
Jennifer Shyshkina, a dancer, knew she had to flee with her beloved kitten Simba when Russia invaded Ukraine.
The two were inseparable before the conflict, and their bond only deepened as Shyshkina packed a bag and took Simba to start over in the South of France.
The two now reside in Aix-en-Provence. Simba went from being an indoor-only cat in Ukraine to become an outdoor-loving feline in France.