Meet Leo

As of the week after Thanksgiving, we are now the proud humans of another cat. Yes, for those counting, this makes four. Yes, I know I am well on my way to crazy cat lady status. But I swear, four is it. Really.

He's gorgeous, with thick, fluffy orange and white fur and the biggest, darkest green eyes you've ever seen. He's also sweet, and affectionate, and is absolutely fascinated by the giant box in the living room that shows moving pictures. Every night he plops down on the rug in front of it and watches television right along with the humans. Sometimes he falls asleep, though. You can't ever really tell when the impulse to nap will hit.

I had seen him around the neighborhood a couple of times, skittering under cars parked in my neighbor's driveway. One night in mid-October I came home to find him sitting outside my garage, with a look on his face that said, What took you so long? He looked hungry, and scared, so I brought him a bowl of cat food and left it outside. After about ten minutes he realized I wasn't going to throw a rock at him and so, tentatively, he made his way over, eventually purring and allowing me to pet that luxurious, thick fur. After a while I went inside, and he went his own way as well.

A few days later I walked into the kitchen to find this:

Now, I tell you, who can resist that face? I tried, believe me. The LOML said, "You can't be serious. We have three cats already. I know he's pretty and all, but come on, baby. He's a stray. He's probably infested with fleas, and mites, and who knows what." Logically, I knew he was right. So, I put out a bowl of food again, and left him out.

And he returned, of course. That cat chow business is much tastier and easier to catch than birds and mice. He came back, each and every day, to stare in the window just like that. Sometimes he'd come at night too, just sitting there, not meowing, just watching, just waiting.

And of course, bit by bit, day by day, my heart melted. Finally, on Thanksgiving Day, after he'd been sitting there for most of the afternoon, the LOML looked at me and said, "Yeah, ok, I know, he's going to be our new cat. He is pretty cute." I named him Ginger Cat, tentatively, for I loved the warm color of his coat, and we didn't know his sex at the time.

The next day, I bundled him up in the cat carrier and took him to the vet. Turns out he is a boy, neutered, and so possibly belonging to someone at one time. No tags, no microchip, just a ragged ear long-healed, which indicated he'd been on his own a good while. About two years old. In reasonably good health, minus the usual flea and mite issues and a slight ear infection, which was easily cleared up.

The first few days inside he was nervous, as can be expected, hiding from the other cats who COULD NOT BELIEVE I HAD THE NERVE TO BRING ANOTHER CAT IN HERE, hissing at him whenever an opportunity presented itself. Over time, though, as cats do, they got too lazy not to get along, so they began to accept him, and everything chilled out.

We originally named him Morris, because he looked so much like that famous television cat. Somehow, though, it just didn't fit. He didn't have a Morris personality. He wasn't aloof, or grumpy in the least. He was sweet, affectionate, and loved to play. He's a big boy, though, and his coloring and features seemed somehow more leonine than most house cats, so....Leo it became.

These days, Leo has adapted nicely to an indoor life. He spends a lot of his time doing this:

And alot of this:

And some of this:
And nowadays, when I open the door to the backyard, and I look behind me to make sure none of the cats get out, Leo is sitting there, in the middle of the kitchen floor, staring at me with a look that seems to say, Outside? No, thank you, human, I'm fine right here.

And so, four cats.

In related news, here is the downside to becoming so emotionally attached to your pets - when it's time to say goodbye. Neil Gaiman's cat Zoe is dying, and he wrote a beautiful blog post tribute to her here. Having lost two cats a couple of years ago, I can relate. Saying farewell is so hard.

22 January 2010


L. 'Ailina Laranang said...

I wouldn't have been able to resist that face either.

Leo looks a lot like my Cleo and my mother's Punkin'. My daughter did some research and is convinced our cats are Maine Coons, but I'm not certain about that.

Leo's markings are identical to Cleo's and Punkin's, but your cat is sporting a short coat, where ours are long-hairs. He's a doll, to be sure!

(And if you're interested, here's a link to a photo of Cleo:

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Carinthia said...

Cleo is beautiful! And wow, you're right, they do share an awfully close resemblance. I wonder about that Maine Coon connection, for though Leo's coat looks shorter than Cleo's, it's certainly longer than my other DSH kitties.

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