A year! A whole year! I cannot believe it’s been a whole year since we picked up Leo from Chrystal in Illinois! That was such a wonderful day! I was in kitty heaven!
Weeks earlier, I’d finally got in contact with Chrystal and told her how very much I wanted the little feral kitten named Leo the Chinese Lion. His adorable shy scared little gray face had caught my attention the minute she showed up in her blog. He was among the first of his siblings to be captured, a feral family living near Chrystal’s mother-in-law’s house.
Leo on the left
Big mean two-legs! Leave me 'n my sissy alone!
It took a week for her to capture all six of the little fluffballs and their mom. But they worked tirelessly and got the job done! Mom was too feral to be tamed, so she was neutered and released and a neighbor promised to continue to feed her.
As I said, Leo was one of the first to be grabbed, along with who I assume to be Glitter. Then Tuxie, who was renamed Trixie when she was adopted by Amy of Amy and the House of Cats (who seems to have disappeared, anyone know what’s happened to her?) Then Spritz and Mitts. They thought they had them all, but low and behold, Cashmere was trapped in a garage and cried and was discovered.
Leo on the far right, one sister must have been down below.
We're fine right here, close the door and don't come in!
These were some seriously feral little kittens! It took a long time to tame them. But they sure turned out sweet! Leo is a snuggler, loves to be touching me whether it’s a chin over my ankle or laying on my stomach or hanging over my shoulder doing his scarf imitation.
I had started reading Chrystal’s blog, Daily Dose of Dogs (AKA Cats With Your Coffee)
about a month before the great feral kitten capture. I loved the way she wrote and went back and read every post in her archives. I’m a little obsessive like that... I have to read it all!
I fell in love with Leo the Chinese Lion before he had a name, before he was anything other than a hissing ball of gray fluff. That face, oh so scared and oh so cute! I had always wanted a gray cat and for one reason or another, I always had to give them to someone else when they were born to my kitties.
Then I got Star when she was two and for a long time she was my baby, especially after the other three elder kitties we had went over the Rainbow Bridge. Over the years, Star switched her allegiance over to Greg... Unfair! I finally had a gray kittie and she preferred him!! Boo! (Can you tell that I was a little jealous?)
So I watched the little solid gray feral kitten that Chrystal had and dreamed. Then he got that name! Leo! I’m a Leo, my cat loving gramma, to whom I’d given one of my rare gray kitties, was a Leo. And I had just lost her. It still hurts my heart that she’s gone. Anyway, we always said we loved kitties because we were Leos and we played cards with a Leo deck that we wouldn’t let non-Leos use (as a joke). And they went and named that little gray fluffball Leo!
Leo The Chinese Lion getting his name
Ok, the name's cool, but I'm still not exactly sure about you people..
Fate? Meant to be? I told Greg about the kitten every time he was mentioned and showed him every picture and told him wouldn’t it be great if only we lived closer. You could have knocked me over with a feather the day he told me we could make a trip to get him if I wanted!
Little Leo the Chinese Lion
It's ok, I know I'm cute. You don't have to squee. unless you wanna..
If I wanted? IF???? Seriously! I got serious about contacting Chrystal then. I’d tried before, just to see, even though I didn’t think it would work. But now, now I was on a mission AND her mail finally came through! She’d been emailing me but it never arrived until after Greg said we could get him for sure!
Once the decision was made and Chrystal approved of our adoption, everything just fell into place. Greg’s boss let him have a few days off, a kennel was borrowed, a van was borrowed, a hotel was booked and we were off!
I was so excited all the way there! We went the night before so we could get him early in the day and have the rest of the day to drive back home. It was 8 hours each way, not a horribly huge trip, but not a short one either.
I think I remember emailing Chrystal once we got to the hotel, letting her know we were there and that we’d see her the next day. I don’t know how I slept at all! I was on pins and needles until I got a call from Chrystal that they were there! But they couldn’t get to the hotel because they seriously hid the entrance and I think there was construction. (we had trouble the night before too)
Leo in Chrystal's carrier on his way to me
I don't know where we're going.. hope it's some place good..
I want to tell you.. I have never checked out of a hotel so fast in my life! Seriously! AND I had to complain before we left! Here, let me take an aside to explain why... Three times, not once, not twice, but three times! Someone from the hotel opened the door to our room WITHOUT knocking, WITHOUT announcing themselves WHILE we had a do not disturb sign out.. I will never stay there again I’ll tell you that much! But I digress..
We checked out and we heading to the gas station where Chrystal was within 15 minutes! And at that very second, at this very busy gas station, the parking spot right next to Chrystal opened up and we pulled right in!
First things first, I had to hug the woman who was making my gray kitty dreams come true! She was then ready to transfer the kitty, but I knew, just knew that once I got him every other thought in my head would flea, so I stopped her so I could hand over a few goodies for the rest of the kitties back at her house!
Now it was time! Now I’d get my hands on my baby boy. Chrystal handed her carrier with Leo in it to us, we shut the van so there would be no mishaps, and I opened the carrier. Looking back at me were two huge scardy cat eyes. There was no way he was coming out of that carrier on his own. So I gently reached in and pulled him out into my arms.
People, he melted into my chest. Just melted. I just wanted to sit there and hold him and never put him down. All that floofy goodness that I’d been waiting for was in my arms. Yes, I was very misty-eyed.
I knew Chrystal was waiting, so I reluctantly put him into my carrier and we gave her back hers. More hugs and well wishes and we were on our way home with my baby!
Leo rode half the trip in the kennel and half the trip on my shoulder. I got a crick in my neck from how hard he was leaning into me! Did I care? No! I had my baby!
Leo in the kennel on our way home
Well, this isn't what I was expecting..
Ok, let’s talk about the ‘baby’ part.. He was about 9 months old, I figured he’d be in the kitty teenager size, not kittenish, but not full grown. I figured he’d be about Star’s size if not a little smaller. She weighs around 6 pounds. Leo, my baby, was at least half again bigger! And SO long! He was a giant baby! And not done growing since now he’s easily twice Star’s size! I love every ounce of him!
Leo on the right, Star on the left, about a month after he arrived. See the size difference, it's even greater now! And he doesn't try to get that close to her any more, more's the pity.
I just wanna be friends.. I'm gonna poke her in the butt...
I cannot thank Chrystal enough for giving me my big baby boy. I cannot imagine our house without him. I cannot thank her enough for saving that scared feral little kitten and his sisters. She’s done amazing things, Chrystal has.
When I think of all the kitties she’s saved, the sick, feral, frightened, abused, abandoned, neglected kitties, I realize again how very special she is. How wonderful the work she does is. How desperately she is needed. How much she needs more homes for kitties, more funds to care for the ones she has. All I can do, on this, Leo’s Gotcha Day, is beg each and every one of you to please help. Please adopt, please donate, please purchase a brick for Winnie’s Wish Walkway. Please, help Chrystal and the cathouse cats.
Ok, now that you’ve endured my long gotcha day story and shameless plug for adopting kitties, lets let the party begin!
It's muh Gotcha Day! Time ta Par-tay!!
Kitties, rush on over for Tuna, Temptations, Niptinis and Toy-palosa!
Thank you to Ann at Zoolatry for the new header and wallpaper!