TRIBUTE TO A SPECIAL FRIEND
I would never call Leo a "cat" - he felt he was a very short human.
Leo adopted us in the springtime. We later found out he had left a very nice family (with 3 children and 2 other cats). Leo was always the little entrepreneur who felt his prospects were better at our house. His "I'm numero uno" attitude, which would have normally been obnoxious, was charming on him.
Leo was always a free spirit at heart, but he had the good sense to know that a warm, loving home was pretty nice too! When he was younger, I can't count the nights I was out late at night with my flashlight, calling for him. Finally, two little eyes would show up in the light and he'd meow for several minutes, telling me about his adventures and wondering why Mom was so worried.
Leo was a great hunter and our designated "PCO" (Pest Control Officer). He struck fear in the hearts of mice and chipmunks for a large radius around our house. He'd love for us to go to the door and praise him when he had a mouse in his mouth.
Leo was a "man's man" and he adored his Daddy. He loved to "help" John in his workshop and to sit and discuss things with him. It wasn't unusual to find Leo walking down the road (unaware we were watching him) talking to himself. One of his very favorite things to do was to take walks with his Daddy or me (if his first choice, his Dad, was not around or busy). He would pad along with you, occasionally stopping to check and sniff the area. If you were walking too fast, he would serpentine in front of you to slow you down.
Leo was very smart, sometimes a little too smart for his own good. He and our other kitty Frosty figured out how to snag the catnip bag in the pantry and have a party. Leo felt he was a regular party guest on one New Year's Eve and that the plate of cold cuts we put out on the table was for all guests. He was caught snagging a piece of liverwurst off the plate.
Leo was not a "cuddler" but could be such a sweetheart. He had a wonderful mellow disposition. You could hear him purring several rooms away. He loved people food, with a special taste for a good (very) rare steak and good barbecue. Leo loved an occasional potato chip or corn chip. But his very favorite was cantaloupe!
With Leo, you had to be careful about opening doors or Leo would be outside or in the closet! No paper bag or empty box was safe.
Leo was funny with other animals too. We feed the deer in the winter and often he would go sit by a corn pile and be Mr. Big Shot and not let them eat. Then one day a big buck came along and he was glad to "high tail" it back to Daddy. A neighbor used to have exotic animals and frequently her peacocks would escape. Leo felt it was his duty to "herd" those silly birds back home.
There are so many things about my baby I hardly know where to start. He was a big, soft, lovable guy, who had an enormous love of life. He kept it till the very end. When he couldn't walk anymore, I carried him to all his favorite places. When he crossed the Rainbow Bridge, we put some of his fur in his favorite spots. The rest of him is here with us in a blue soapstone box with a picture of a bear catching a salmon in a mountain stream. He would have approved, I think.
There is a huge empty hole in our home and my tears fall when I see his favorite chair empty or don't hear his chattering or see a "golden streak" come flying by. My only comfort is that his spirit is now truly free - that he can bound around Heaven with no fences or no stern "no's". For that I am happy.
For all the pain, I would never give up the years he brought so much sunshine and laughter into our lives. We love you, "Big Guy" and you will be in our hearts forever.
Kitty hugs and kisses,