Xiao Mao and Leo.
Xiao Mao, whose name translates to Little Cat*, joined us in November of 2010. He’s now about three years old. My cat Clyde had died the previous month, and our neighborhood vets (whom we referred to as “The Koreans”) gave him to us soon after. They could tell how devastated we were about Clyde. Xiao Mao had grown-up with five dogs, so we were pretty sure that he’d get along with Leo… which is important, since Leo wants to investigate and then befriend any type of animal he encounters. Xiao Mao had been described over the phone as being female. I had further pictured him being, well, flat-faced and skinny. Nothing against female flat-faced skinny cats, but they just ain’t my cup of tea. When I met him, and found he was anything but, I was ecstatic. Big-boned and right about the same size as my beloved Blue (who died a bit over seven years ago).
Leo, dear Leo, is coming-up on seven years old. My ex-wife and I had been babysitting Leo’s mother (who was pregnant with Leo at the time) whilst Blue was dying of cancer. I’ve always been a big dog person, but the ex liked Leo’s mom a lot, so I agreed to get him. His name comes from Leo the Lion. ShihTzu means “Lion Dog” in Chinese, so the lion reference was fitting. There have been some wonderful animals in my life over the years, but Leo is at the top of the list. Just a truly wonderful soul.
Their friendship has grown over their time together into what you see below. They also take turns chasing each other through the house. (Leo’s had this trip lately about wanting to “dominate” the cat, to which Xiao Mao has politely reminded him that retractable claws are there for a reason.)
In any event, I feel extremely fortunate to be sharing the apartment with my wife and the two boys.
btw, it looks like a third cat might be joining us next week… more if it happens.
*his formal name is Mao Zhu Xi, which mean Chairman Cat, and is, of course, a play on Mao (translates to “feather”), which has the same pinyin but a different tone.