Musing on food and cooking ...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Leo, 1995-2008

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.


FranIAm said...

Oh my... My heart is breaking for you GG.

I am a blogfriend of Boxer's.

Please know that you have my every good thought and wish. Having had the same experience, I can think of few things that are harder than the loss of our feline loves.

Peace to you.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. A friend of five felines who share our home, I'd be very sad if any of them were no longer with us.


Anonymous said...

I will miss my kitty hugs from Leo when I come to stay with you. He is in a better place, and I know that this is harder than hell for you, but you'll always remember, as you called him, "Your cat with little brain", with fondness.
Take care.

Little Merry Sunshine said...


What a beautiful tribute to Leo. I feel like I knew him from reading your beautiful prose. My heart goes out to you tonight. And Betsey and Ross send their kitty love too.


Brave Sir Robin said...


What a beautiful and fitting tribute. I'm sure he knew exactly how you felt about him.



teryn said...

A lovely memorial.

You and Pele are in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...


Wow what a tribute. I am so very sad for you. But thankfully his pain is over. I know that if anything were to happen to our three I would be heart broken and can only imagine how I would handle it. I so wish that you were around the corner so I could go and give you a great big hug and Kate could give you one of her special smiles.

Let us know if we can do anything, sending you all our love.