Leo “Boo” Cat
2005 – 2018
Leo, affectionately known as “Boo”, passed away unexpectedly at home on the evening of Tuesday, 3rd April, leaving a great big fluffy hole in our hearts.
In September 2005, a bedraggled, long-haired young cat, sporting a sparkly pink collar, came bounding over to me through the long grass beside the company where I worked. She didn’t seem to have a care in the world and was a friendly thing. My work break over, I left her outside and went back to my office. A little later, I was down in reception and it was mentioned that this young cat was hanging around outside. We invited her in and she promptly made herself at home on the sofa, as if she had lived there all her life. The pink sparkly collar was hanging off and her fur was matted, poor thing. I found the number of a local cat charity and gave them a call. They would collect the cat and, if nobody claimed it, they’d find it a home.
A month later, a man from the cat charity came to pick up some print work and asked for me. The cat was still with them, they hadn’t managed to trace its original owners. Also, “she” was a he and they’d named him Leo because he was half Maine Coon and looked like a little lion. I’d fallen in love with Leo from the moment I’d seen him and I hadn’t stopped thinking about him since. The next day I gave them a call, I’d like to give him a home, although I wasn’t sure what my other cat, Mika, was going to think of that.
After a brief home check by the charity, I collected Leo from the barn which had been his temporary home for the month. He was hiding from his fosterers, but when I looked up I could see him peering at me from the beam above. He soon came down and we were on our way home, leaving his fosterers in tears (yes, he’d melted their hearts too). He was quiet until we were halfway home and he started meowing, probably wondering where he was going as it certainly wasn’t back to where I’d found him (although having a company cat certainly would have made work more fun!).
Leo settled in at home straight away, much to the annoyance of my Mika cat. Mika did not like this invader taking over his territory, not one bit, and he was upset with me too. It took him two weeks to finally accept that Leo was staying and to forgive me for bringing this long-haired stranger into his house.
Leo had a larger than life personality. If he wanted something he certainly let you know. He had simple needs, most often he was letting you know he wanted to be brushed (by sitting and staring whilst you tried to watch TV) or to be fed (again by sitting and staring), but if you didn’t get the message a series of meows or a swift claw to the leg was administered!). Doors were banged upon if he wanted them open. He had the loudest purr ever, was so loving and loved cuddles.
He had a sixth sense for when I was trying to write blog posts… Within minutes of opening a new document and starting to type, Leo would march over, stretch a paw to my leg and sit on my knee, whether the laptop had been moved or not! He would then settle down on my belly and purr for Britain. Mission accomplished!
In an attempt to stop me getting up and abandoning him to go to work for the day, he would lie on my chest and would be most put out when, at the very last moment, I had to move him to get out of bed. He would also lie on my chest when he knew I wasn’t well. Although, he would get quite easily offended by a cough and would flounce off in a huff.
He walked like a catwalk model, crossing his paws as he walked. He was gorgeous and didn’t he know it!
For Leo’s first Christmas he didn’t need a present, he delighted in playing in everyone else’s leftover wrapping paper. A cardboard box? He’d claim it before you’d finished taking out whatever was in it.
He’d find the funniest of places to sit too. One time we found him sat in something we used as a bin. He didn’t care, he was having fun!
My Dad learnt the valuable lesson of not leaving food on its own when Leo was about. He was making a sandwich in the kitchen when the phone rang. By the time he’d got back to the half-made sandwich Leo was munching on the slices of ham! Telling Leo off for being on the kitchen side, Dad started slicing more ham for his sandwich. The phone rang again. Had Dad learnt his lesson? No, he’d left the ham unattended. He returned to the kitchen to find Leo on the floor, this time with the joint of ham!
He wasn’t the type of cat to let having most of his teeth removed get him down. Told by the vet to relax and be quiet after his operation, Leo wasn’t having any of it. He jumped down off the bed and wandered about the house like a drunk man wobbling from side to side.
When Mika passed away, we thought Leo might get lonely as he’d spent most of his life with another cat. It turned out that he wasn’t too happy when young Silky showed up in his life. He relented and let her stay, but she’d be reprimanded with a bop on the head with his chunky paw as he walked by, just to show her who was top cat in this house.
In his later years, Leo hadn’t been 100%, but he took it all in his stride. Medication mashed up in his food was promptly wolfed down and another portion demanded pretty soon afterwards. He still ran around the place, chasing Silky if he fancied scaring her or “killing” a favourite toy. He definitely took advantage of being spoilt.
So, late on Tuesday evening, it came as a shock as Leo quickly took a turn for the worst and passed away before we could get him to the vets. Heart disease is common in Maine Coons and Leo’s heart had obviously given all the love it could give.
Rest easy, my friend. You’ll be sorely missed.