Cat! Now that I have your attention

Happy Independence Day! I’m spending mine still in isolation, working.

I don’t really have much of an update on my weight loss — still at 24 pounds. But I did go for a jog/walk today, even though it’s about 34538958 degrees out there.

So, today, I thought I would do a little tribute to my sweet kitty. If you do not know, I had to put my cat Leo down a couple weeks ago. Back in April, he got really sick. I took him to the vet and was told it was his liver. The exact condition could not be pinpointed due to the pandemic and lack of access to the right equipment. The vet gave me meds to give Leo, and he seemed to be getting better, then he just totally deteriorated in one day. I just didn’t have a choice anymore. He was suffering. So I had to say goodbye to my best friend of 16 years.

But that one day does not define the entire 16 years I had him. I remember I had just moved to my first apartment to work my first job after college. I wanted a cat, but I thought, “Well, I’ll wait a month to be sure I can afford a cat.” Two days later, I had a cat, because CAT! I have this issue of getting an idea in my head that I can’t get out until I do that thing. At the time, I didn’t know it was a problem I had. Now, after buying a house and having 10 pets (stories for another day), I realize that I don’t think things through sometimes. But I sure don’t regret this spontaneous decision.

Anyhoo, I got that “get a cat now” bug, and I went to the animal shelter in Lynchburg, Va. (I lived in Forest, Va., just outside the city, and I worked at the News & Advance newspaper there.) Well, the animal shelter wanted a ton of information, proof of residency with mail that had been sent to me at my address. I did not have any mail since I had just moved there, and I didn’t want to go all the way home and all the way back to the shelter, which would probably have been closed by the time I did all that.

Well, it worked out, because I went to PetSmart instead, and they had animals for adoption from a different shelter. I was choosing between two kitties, one of them Leo, when Leo stuck his widdle paw out the cage and pawed at me, and MY GOD THAT WAS THE CUTEST THING. He did that his entire life. I knew he was the one right then, and on Aug. 9, 2004, I adopted Leo. I named him within a couple days. I chose the name because my birthday is Aug. 7. He was a birthday present to myself (I’m a Leo, if you didn’t figure that out), and he was orange and fuzzy.

Leo was with me through my first job, moving back home for a couple months to Bristol, Va., then moving to Johnson City, Tenn., then moving to Beaufort, S.C., then back again to Bristol, Va. He was there for all my highs and lows, for all my celebrations and losses, for all my boredom and sleepless nights.

It has been so quiet here without him. I miss him with all my heart and soul. Maybe I’ll get another cat one day, but I don’t know. Leo and I knew each other so well for not speaking the same language. I knew his meows of hunger, of playtime, of wanting pets. He had a certain meow that was “Follow me,” and he would lead me to whatever he was trying to tell me, whether it was “for the love of god, clean out my litterbox” or “my toy is under the couch” or “food bowl EMPTY.” This blog post is dedicated to you, Leo. I will never forget you.

Quick note: Look! I figured out how to add a photo! Thanks to my mom for the suggestion of signing off with the Frazzled Daisy photo I had picked for this blog. (Fun fact: I grew this daisy myself!)

By the Frazzled Daisy

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