Farewell, My Friend

Farewell, My Friend

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.

The bedraggled cat which arrived at work.
The bedraggled cat which arrived at work.

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.

A yawning (or, perhaps, roaring) Leo.
A yawning (or, perhaps, roaring) Leo.

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!

Tartan Stag Natural Duvet getting the Leo Cat seal of approval.

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!

Leo's first Christmas amongst the wrapping paper.
Leo’s first Christmas amongst the wrapping paper.

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.

Leo sitting in the bin!
Leo sitting in the bin!

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.

Leo, fast asleep.
Leo, fast asleep.

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.

22 comments

  1. jill says:

    NIkki…so very sad for you,but you have a wonderful story to tell….some brilliant pictures,and some amazing memories.
    Sleep well lovely boy xx

  2. Jo says:

    Awww, bless him. I’m so sorry for your loss, they do leave big holes in our lives when they’re no longer there. You have some wonderful memories of Leo, I enjoyed hearing some of them, and the photo of him sat in the bin made me chuckle. Sending you lots of hugs. xx

  3. Jeanna says:

    I miss him from your sweet story too. What a beautiful boy he was and what a wonderful new home he had. I know the turn around and half eaten sandwich scene very well. I’m sorry you lost him but it sounds as if he brought you great joy while he was here.

  4. Hi Nikki,

    As you know, I am not the biggest cat fan in the world, but even I couldn’t have stood by and watched a bedraggled and abandoned animal left to fend for itself, so Leo probably counted himself extremely grateful to have been rescued and cared for so lovingly by you and your family, for so many years.

    It sounds as though he returned you kindness in bucket loads, so you were obviously good for one another. The fact that he passed away surrounded by those who loved him, should be a massive comfort and your lovely post, a fitting tribute 🙂

    Yvonne
    xx

  5. Nikki, I am sorry to hear of the passing of your faithful furry friend. It does sound like Leo was a real character and left you with some lovely memories. Condolences from me and my furry feline friend, Bonnie.

  6. Debbie says:

    Hi Nikki, what a beautiful looking cat Leo was. Reading any story like this always makes me remember pets we’ve lost. The memories are happy, but it still pulls the heartstrings. Leo was lucky to have found you as an owner and I’m sure he’s up there Mika, doing what cats do.

    Big hugs.

    xx

  7. Anca says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is very hard. Hugs xx. His story is beautiful, thank you for sharing it with us. You gave him a loving home and he was happy while making you happy.

  8. Tracy Terry says:

    So very, very sad to be reading this. Such a lovely tribute, perfect given I believe Leo was quite the character.

    On another note. Thank you so much for your February greetings. Ashamed I have not thanked you before, various family circumstances have meant my mind has been somewhat preoccupied.

  9. Leta says:

    Such a beautiful and sad story. Leo sounds like a wonderful cat and I’m sure it brought a lot of smiles and love to the house. I am a huge cat lover, so this post almost made me cry… Sending love to you! x

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

  10. jeanie says:

    Oh Nicki-Ann, I’m so sorry to hear this and I know how deep that hole in your heart must be these days. I loved your writing and your memories. I remember writing about when my Marmelade Gypsy passed and the tears were pouring down my face and onto the keyboard as I typed. I have a feeling you probably shed more than a few yourself for this beautiful — no, handsome — boy who brought such love and joy into your life. Thank you for sharing his story. It’s as beautiful as he is.

  11. Jayne Hill says:

    Nikki, came to visit and say thank you for commenting at Bag End. I know this happened a while ago but you have written the most wonderful eulogy for Leo. He clearly was a very special chap, certainly one of those special four-paws who leave the most dreadful hole in your heart.

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