Leo The Boss
From early childhood, I always swore that no male would ever boss me around, but I hadn't reckoned with Leo!
I first met him when he was about three months old, an innocent looking ball of fluff searching for his mother in our back yard.
A few months earlier a group of hungry cats had attached themselves to my mother after her much loved companion, Tom had died. We later learned they belonged to the next-door neighbours who didn't want them, but couldn't be bothered to call in an animal rescue charity. Eventually, with the neighbour's permission, my mother called the Cat's Protection League, but one of the cats, Queenie, was already heavily pregnant by then.
She returned to the neighbour to have her kittens and two months later, the lady from Cats Protection called to re home the kittens and take Queenie to be spayed. The neighbour's told her "Don't bring the mother back, but leave the ginger kitten as my daughter's friend wants him".
I was in love with Queenie by then, and my mother said she was to come back to us, where she quickly made herself at home. We thought no more of the kitten, until the day he came looking for his mother.
In retrospect, I think she'd been visiting him, as she was still feeding him. It seemed a pity to separate mother and baby, so we allowed him in, to sit under the table with Queenie. He was a very placid, cuddly kitten, not at all destructive. A friend, with psychic abilities, pronounced him to have "a placid soul".
Weeks passed, and every day I expected his new owner to knock on the door and demand him. I started to dread her appearance, but assumed she was on holiday and had asked her friend to keep the kitten until she returned. One day I saw the neighbour in the street who said " What's the phone number of the cat charity? My daughter's friend has changed her mind about the kitten and I want to get rid of him."
I quickly said, "I'll take him". And went indoors to announce the news.
My first priority was to find a name for my latest cat, whom I'd been calling "Baby" I Already had a cat called Ginger, so considered "Tiger", but a less tigerish kitten was hard to imagine, then being a Trek fan, I thought about "Spock" as his ears seemed very large, but as the kitten grew, the ears appeared smaller. One night, he rolled over; I noticed his underside had a spotted pattern like a leopard, while his fur was a tawny lion hue. Leo seemed the ideal name, a short name for a little cat.
Leo is still very much the "baby", as he's a small cat and his fur never lost its kitten softness, but as he grew older, he developed a decidedly bossy streak. His mother is rather a humble sort of cat, so he certainly didn't inherit the trait from her.
As a kitten, his sister Josephine terrorised him, now he terrorises Josephine, chasing her round the furniture. He sees his rightful seat as on my lap, and woe betides if I need to get up, as he cries pitifully.
He sleeps on my bed at night, and when he wants to get up, instead of simply mewing to go out, he insists on getting into bed with me, and nibbling my wrists, all the while purring loudly. He then has to given a cat treat, when I sleepily crawl out of bed. If it's raining outside, after about half an hour I'm rudely awakened again, by a loud mewing and scratching at the door, indicating that his lordship desires to come back to bed.
When I have my breakfast, Leo sits on the chair arm, waiting for the leftover milk from my cornflakes. If I linger too long, he tries to stick his head on the bowl. If I try to read the newspaper, Leo insists on sitting on it. When I put out the light to go to bed, Leo hides behind the settee, and then jumps on the windowsill and watches me trying in vain to catch him!
He's fascinated by my computer and likes to tap moving images on the screen. If I visit a chatroom, Leo insists in joining in the conversation by mewing loudly, much to the amusement of the other chatters!
He is sitting on my lap as I write now. I'd like a cup of tea, but must await his gracious permission. Now, I'd never let a man treat me like that!
On a more serious note, he's a wonderful companion, who was there to comfort me, the night my mother died. When I come in, he rushes to greet me, rolling over with delight. He makes me laugh for hours playing with his catnip mouse. He waits patiently for crumbs of sponge cake and then daintily washes his whiskers. I love to feel his warm presence on my lap and stroke his soft fur.
Your gentle purr brings blissful calm
As on my lap you sleep,
A soothing sound, the soul's sweet balm.
Your gentle purr brings blissful calm.
We keep each other safe from harm,
When to my side you leap:
Your gentle purr brings blissful calm
As on, my lap you sleep.
Leo might be the boss, but only because I love him enough to let him be!
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