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Leo - Was He or Wasn't He a Feral Cat?
Leo, "LOOK AT ME I'M NOT A FERAL CAT"
Feral Cat Round Up!
Luckily Sonny, my now husband was a custodian for a condominium development was there when animal control came to rounded up dozens of feral cats and put them in cages.was not the one who had brought Leo into this household that already had a dog and a cat. Sonny is the one who found Leo. . Leo was not a feral cat which he tried to convey to the handlers. HE clawed, meowed and threw his body against the cage walls so they would take another look at him and realize they were making a mistake. He did look like he could easily pass for a feral cat because of the condition he was in."skin and bones", flea infested with a hunk of his ear missing and his orange coat was matted and dirty. One of the tenants pointed out that this was not a feral cat.and Sonny agreed. The tenant made a deal with my husband. Adopt him and she would split the neutering charge.
Leo was welcomed, but this didn't come from all residents of the home; the young Hairless Haired Chinese Crested Powder Puff, only a puppy, was delighted with her new playmate. The resident orange tabby, a Himalayan mix and himself a stray was not thrilled, he hissed and chased the newcomer under a sofa where Leo took up residence for a few weeks. He did not want to be petted, held or have contact with Sonny or the other animals. He simply wanted to be fed, to use the litter box and to be left alone.
By the time I arrived almost a year later. Leo was a changed tabby. His orange coat was long and silky. He has beautiful amber colored eyes, now wide and bright, and he had begun to allow my husband to pet him. When I arrived, Leo jumped up on the sofa plunked down beside me and stared. I had owned several cats, or more precisely several cats had owned me, but I had never had a cat that so calmly looked me over as if he had to decide if we would be friends. It did not take long for Leo and me to bond. I love to pet him as much as he loves being petted. Leo meows whenever he wants anything; I quickly learned Leo’s lingo, and I did his bidding. If he wanted treats or simply for me to sit down so he could lie next to me and purr, I understood and complied.
It isn't often that feral cats are fortunate enough like Leo; you hear of cat colonies where feral cats are trapped neutered and people take care of them by offering them food, but these cats seldom become house cats and because they roam the neighborhood are often a nuisance. There is an on-going debate if people should be allowed to have cat colonies in residental area.
Because I write as well as teach writing, I am frequently at my computer. One day Leo jumped up on my desk. He looked around for a place to roost. I had window shelves full of African Violets. He stared at me and meowed. I moved the flowers, put down a blanket and Leo settled into his spot. He now sits there by the hour staring at me, purring and occasionally taking catnaps. He also likes to lie on my keyboard if he feels he isn’t receiving enough attention. And Leo follows me everywhere. I look up often from my work to talk to him; it is a two-way conversation.
“You are so beautiful. How could anyone abandon you? You will always be my friend.” Leo not only meows as loudly as a motor running, he buries his head in my lap and stares at me adoringly. He seems to be saying. “It doesn’t matter that I was abandoned; I am yours.” Perhaps he is saying I am his.
My husband and I share our California King Size bed with our four animals. Every night is a race to see which part of the bed each pet will claim. Leo does not like to part of this ritual. He prefers one-on-one contact. He will jump off the bed in a huff while others burrow in their chosen places. However, when I awake in the middle of the night Leo is asleep on the pillow between my husband and me. In the morning he wakes me, as he is perched on the pillow above my head purring loudly.
I have made string toys for him that he loves. I tell him that his reflexes are very good. This is a very happy time in my life. In my golden years I have found the love of my life and we cherish each day we share. And I have found my feline soul mate. Leo will never have to worry about abandonment again. He and his fellow feline now look like twins. Each was a stray. Each is a beautiful orange longhaired loving cat. Friends have brought other friends to our home to see our twin cats, who are now best “buds”.
Rusty and my husband have a special bond, but Leo is the feline “love of my life”. I am deeply committed to my husband, and I am deeply committed to the twenty-pound ball of orange fur that is my best friend.