Leopold. I adopted Leo when I was 15. My brother had just left for college and I wanted a pet. He was the only kitten left at the ASPCA in Manhattan. We had seen other kittens at other adoption centers, but Leo was the one.
Leo was full of energy in his cell. We looked at the other cats up for adoption, but we kept going back to Leo. Leo probably didn’t care. He was more interested into getting up over the fence of his cell and falling onto a more mature cat snoozing next door. I’m serious! At one point he climbed his fence that separated their cells, was hanging upside down from the top, and was just about to land on the older cat when the attendant caught him.
He meowed in his cardboard crate in the cab all the way home. I felt sorry for both Leo and the cab driver. Then he skulked around the apartment, head low, tail lower while he sniffed out his new surroundings. He never meowed after that unless he was on the way to the vet!
As I said, he was a very active kitten. We played a little roughly with him only because well, he was cute and we found the ferocity with which he “played” very endearing. We actually used to play tag. He would chase me out of the bathroom and “tag” me on the ankle, I would chase him into the bathroom and “tag” him on his head. He so wanted to catch the shiny bell on the really long string that he would wind up panting with exhaustion afterward. Once dad had a pile of maps on the floor. Poldy came running down the hall, leapt onto the map and went skiing across the floor. And he did it over and over again.
Leo bit. Not hard, at least, well, most of the time he didn’t bite hard. He got mom once bad enough she had to go to the emergency room. It took some time for her to forgive him. He bit me once hard enough and I chased him around the apartment with a water sprayer. The following morning he approached so tentatively it was comical.
He never scratched, though. He did not ruin furniture. He actually loved his scratching post, especially when it was liberally covered in cat nip. Oh my did he ever look stoned when he was on the nip. When he did “scratch” it was so subtle, on the sofa, that it became clear he just wanted our attention. “Scritch. Scratch. Scratch.” He wanted his treats. Once, while using his scratching post, his nail got caught in one of the carpet loops. Dad was working at home that day, busily giving some poor receptionist a hard time about something or other when he turned around to find Poldy waiting for him patiently, his leg still stuck to the scratching post–which he had dragged in all the way from the living room.
He was no lap cat. He didn’t meow unless he was at the vet’s. But he liked being in our company, and often joined us on the couch as we watched television. He especially liked to sit on the newspaper on the couch. He also liked sitting on the newspaper (or my textbooks) on the kitchen table. And of course it was always on the page I happened to be reading or working on at the time. Poldy often liked to sleep at the foot of the bed, but more often he would wedge himself between my feet–which made rolling over a bit complicated. That’s when I learned to sleep with my feet sticking out of the covers.
If you couldn’t tell, Leo was a marmalade colored cat. He blended in well with the hardwood floors, especially in full sunlight.
One evening, long after Leo had left us for better pastures, I mistook a piece of kraft paper that was on the floor for Leopold. It was just the right size and almost the right color in that light.
I miss you, Poldy.