Musing on food and cooking ...
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Leo, aka Leo-kins, passed away peacefully tonight, after a nearly four year battle against an undiagnosable gastrointestinal illness that resisted all forms of treatment. He faced his illness with great braveness and general good humor, remaining loving until the very end.
Leo was born in early winter, the only offspring of a teen mom who stopped feeding him not long after his birth. He survived due to the loving ministrations of a dairy farmer near Boyceville, WI, until he was adopted by me in late December of 1995.
He was originally adopted to be a companion to Pele the Empress, who initially hated him and attempted to kill him on multiple occasions through application of feline crushing.
Eventually, she got over her jealousy and became his staunch protector and cuddle friend.
Leo lived his early years in the city of Chicago, and nearly became the center of a custody dispute with a roommate who was angry that he was moving with me to northern Wisconsin, following her stay and eventual release from a psychiatric facility.
Throughout his life, Leo remained strictly an indoor kitty. In his life, he escaped to the outdoors three times. The first, while he was living as a foster kitty with his grandma Shirley. The second involved an ill-advised wandering onto a second story roof in the middle of January. The last time he escaped, he hid under the neighbor's front porch and had to be rescued via utilization of a long-handled rake.
Leo was a well-traveled kitty, living in three states and multiple cities. He flew on an airplane, took more rides in a car than can be counted, and charmed passengers on the T.
His favorite hobbies involved snuggling, eating houseplants and flowers, chasing bugs, and talking with the divine. His favorite foods included brats boiled in beer, tuna, popcorn (butter, no salt) and milk.
I think the most important thing I can say about Leo is that he was simple. His heart was so big, it hardly left room for a brain. And it didn't matter. He loved fiercely and indiscriminately. He had a special fondness for wounded individuals. He always knew when you needed a head butt and a hug. He greeted me everyday, when I came home from work. I will so miss his sweet innocence, and I can only hope that someday, my heart will stop breaking.