On March 26th we celebrated Leo's 11th Gotcha day! I didn't forget it, I just haven't posted about it yet. (We will steal the laptop back from daddy more often if we can..) But we remembered and he got a special treat and many extra snuggles that day!
And I owe it all to Chrystal of Daily Dose of Dogs (AKA Cats With Your Coffee)! She is a private rescuer who took in a family of 6 little feral kittens last October, one of which is Leo. She’s an amazing woman with a heart as big as all outdoors! If you want to read about Leo from his very beginning, check out her blog. Leo’s story starts in the archives on October 8th.
That is the day I first set eyes on Leo, even before he had a name. I saw that little grey face with the huge scared eyes and my heart melted. I looked for mention (and pictures!) of him over the next few months and I shared the stories with my husband, Greg. I kept telling him that if we lived closer I’d want to try to adopt him. Of course, neither of us thought our older kitty, Star, would accept another kitty even if we did live closer. So I tried to content myself with pipe dreams of that fuzzy little baby.
I would joke with Greg about trying to contact Chrystal to ask about Leo, and we’d laugh because it seemed such a far fetched thing. Then something odd began happening. Greg started talking like maybe it didn’t have to be a joke or pipe dream. Then I started thinking he was the crazy one. Didn’t he know how far away this kitty was? He knew I was a little jealous that Star was HIS kitty. I’ve always loved cats and always had one or more. But this kitty, an only kitty for many years, slowly had transferred from being my kitty, to being his. She loves him deeply and completely.
If I’m holding Star and Greg comes in, she leaves me for him. If he’s sleeping, she will let me pet her as she lays on my book. But if Greg so much as shifts a finger, she rushes over to him to see if he will pet her! I’m only good enough for her if he’s not around. Yes, I think it’s funny, but I want a cuddly cat too!
So back to Leo. I tried to contact Chrystal a few times and heard nothing. Then one day I got an email saying she’d been trying to contact me! I have no idea why I didn’t get her e-mails, I’d even checked my spam folder several times. Whatever the reason, we got in contact with each other finally and I told her how much I would love to have Leo. We e-mailed back and forth a few times and it just became more and more obvious that this could really happen! Greg even decided to ask for a few days off so we didn’t have to wait for vacation to go get the kitty!
Fast forward to two and a half weeks ago and we loaded up my mom’s van with a kitty carrier, kennel, and gifts for the special woman about to make my dreams come true! Saturday as we prepared to check out of our hotel we got a call, Chrystal and Leo were there! If we hadn’t had trouble with the hotel doors and keys and manager we’d have been at the gas station to meet them in, I swear, 3 minutes! I was that excited! I don’t know how long it actually took, probably no more than 15 minutes that felt like an hour, but we pulled into the gas station and looked around for a car with someone looking for us.
We pulled into the just vacated spot next to Chrystal and I was beside myself with excitement! I had to slow down enough to give her the things I’d brought for her and her kitties because I knew once I got my hands on Leo I’d totally forget what I wanted to say! Still, we quickly got to the main event, the transfer of Leo The Chinese Lion! She handed us her carrier, and I asked Greg to get in the back of the van with me in case he got out and ran around and I couldn’t catch him. I was prepared for the worst.
I needn’t have worried. I opened the carrier and he sat there looking at me with huge gold eyes. I reached in to get him out, not an easy task, but I finally pulled him into my arms and he melted into my chest! This was not going to be one of those don’t-touch-me kitties! I wanted to just sit there and hold him, but Chrystal was waiting, so I reluctantly put him into the carrier. Chrystal had suggested the carrier rather than the kennel right away so he would feel enclosed and safe. He went to the back of the carrier and huddled.
We gave Chrystal back her carrier and after hugs and well wishes, we headed out for out 8 hour drive home. Was it excitement, I wonder, that had Greg get on the highway in the wrong direction? I don’t know, but I, for one, thought it was too funny! If you know Greg, you know that this kind of thing rarely ever happens to him, so when it does, I gotta tease! Love you Greg!
We got turned around at the first exit and about 20 minutes into our drive, I just couldn’t take it any more. I had to get him out of the carrier and into my arms. It was a lot harder to get him out of my carrier because it has a rim and he’s a very strong boy! But I got him out and he immediately crawled up to my shoulder, snuggling under my neck and leaning into my head. Ok, I thought, this is good for a minute.. But I can’t see him! I could, however, pet him, and I did. Eventually he started purring, but he refused to move from my shoulder!
Nothing I could do would entice him down. Sure, I could move him, put him in my arms, but within seconds he would climb back up to his spot. Stubborn! But at least I was holding him. He spent about half the trip on my shoulder, and half in the kennel. I don’t think he was fond of the kennel at all!
You can see the box I put in the kennel in the picture. I put it in there to give him a hidey hole to duck into, somewhere to feel safe and cozy.. Do you notice something? Like how it’s WAY too small for him! I never expected him to be so huge! I figured six months old; he’s going to be half grown, a teen kitty. But wow, he’s bigger than my Star who’s about 14! Given the size of his feet, regardless of the extra toes, I think he’s still got some growing to do, he’s gonna be a very big fluffy boy!
We arrived home fairly late. But I think I’ll tell the story of his first night and the following days in another post as this is running a lot longer than I intended for my first post! There are many more wonderful tales to come, including how I just knew Leo was meant to be mine.