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27 February 2013


Russ Steele


Sorry to hear about Leo. It was a great privilege to be inspected by Leo and declared safe to visit his domain.

Ellen Steele

Thank you, George for a beautiful post. We will miss Leo greatly, and he will live in our memories as the very special fellow that he was, a grand gentleman.
I attended one of Van Cliburn's concerts, as a teenager, in New Haven, Connecticut. I was very impressed with his talent, and found myself sitting on the edge of my seat, rapt attention to his music.
Thank you for your wonderful writing. You bring the reader in, with your keen descriptive words. We so appreciate your blog !

Sini Fernandez

Daddy, so sorry to hear about Leo. He was a good kitty. Love you, Sini

Teine Kenney

Thank you for posting this loving memory of Leo. He was such a good cat and part of our family. Hard to believe he is gone. love, teine

Dixie Redfearn

We also had a wonderful kitty named Leo who was with us 16 years. Our Leo was a hunter, a tortoiseshell, and a big lover. I still miss him. Thanks for the nice tribute to your Leo.


It certainly is the rare and special kitty that survives outside in rural Nevada County, and I understand your loss. After finding our Nevada County house and moving out of the rental house that was our temporary abode after I took a job here, my wife started lobbying to get a cat, but I was concerned that feeding a cat would just be an indirect feeding the large local population of coyotes whose choral announcements were regular, nearby and loud.

However, there was a semi-feral cat, an orange and tan tabby, that seemed to be living in the area that would not get close to anyone. Asking neighbors, it was thought to be a former housekitty of folks who rented our house and moved out, abandoning the cat, many months before we bought. I decided if we were going to "have" a cat, it might as well be one that had already figured out how to eat without being eaten, so, one week that had Teri and our kindergartener visiting grandparents, I set out to lure the Cat into the house. Canned tuna out on the entryway was the first lure. "Pounce" was another. The animal eventually came in to the house with the door left open, and no attempt made to close it in. Later, when the door would be closed, it would be opened for him (a neutered male) and he became satisfied he wasn't trapped. He warmed up to the idea of being a kept (on his terms) cat again and Teri and Joey were delighted.

Most days you couldn't keep Richard P. Feynkatt (we follow the "Back to the Future" convention of naming pets for famous physicists) indoors if you tried, but if he didn't come in by dusk, it'd be morning before you saw him. When the coyotes started looking for breakfast, Feynkitty would be in one of his defensible and difficult to access hiding spots, including the roof, and would not budge even with a clear shot to the door until mid the next morning. He'd also stay indoors for a week at a time if he sensed there were critters in the area that he really didn't want to mess with, including both a bobcat and a bear... in fact, one evening he strolled up to the sliding glass door only to be nose to nose, with only glass separating them, with a bear. Never saw that cat scream and move faster than he did to retreat to the room down the hall.

A couple days after Teri died, at home with hospice care, Feynkitty walked out of the bedroom where she had spent most of the previous month and plaintively cried "miao, miao, miao, miao, miao, miao", obviously upset. While cats sometimes seem as if they don't really care if you live or die, that isn't necessarily the case.

Feynkitty is also missed. Wild critters never caught him and while Joey was off to Berkeley, Feynkitty's kidneys gave out from old age; it was time. He continues to be honored in our household as we continue to use his supermarket club cards.

George Rebane

Thank you for adding remembrances of your own special critters that found their way into your hearts and families - most appropriate.


Ah its the furry ones who capture our hearts, sorry about your loss George

we've always had a motley crew here in mendo-land - currently have one semi feral tabby who adopted us that seems to personally remember when they were worshiped and expresses his displeasure when not adored to his satisfaction (who also stalks the turkeys and deer!) - we recently adopted a "Doxi-something" rescue after loosing Wife's Bichon of 14 years just before the holidays and funny is that the other two canine's (older Tibetan Spaniel who is *The*Queen*Of*The*Universe* and son's Siberian Husky - almost post puppy) who view the cat as something they would like to taste the cat and Doxi get along like siblings

Russ Steele

We had a rag doll siamese male, Solomon, who survived for 23 years on Banner Mountain. He had a cat door and could come and go as he desired. He often brought in dead birds, baby rabbits, lizards and a few snakes and left them on the floor for us to step on in the dark. We were surprised that he survived the Coyotes, Bobcats and a Mountain Lyon that hung around the neighborhood harvesting our deer herd. My mother often reported Solomon hunting in her vegetable garden about 800 feet over the hill from our house. We have no idea how he survived. We closed the cat door when he went blind in his last three years, but his hearing was excellent. He lived down stairs, but when he heard us moving around he came to the top of the stairs and ask for his breakfast of dry kibbles. He slept on the chair at my computer desk in the basement. One morning before going to work, I made a quick stop at the compute to check my e-mail and sat on the chair. When I got to work my Secretary followed me in to my office and closed the door. I thought that was strange, my door was always open. She asked if I was seeking to establish a new fashion trend. Looking puzzled, she said look at the back of your slacks. On the butt of my dark blue wool slacks was a perfect ring of white cat hair. Ellen put a towel on the chair which I removed before sitting down from that day forward. It was Solomon’s chair, I was just borrowing it.

Michael Anderson

Great stories from everyone. George, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Leo sounds like one of a kind, certainly having mastered two completely different terrains. And at nineteen years, that's one hell of an achievement.

We also have bobcats, bears, coyotes, and mountain lions in our neighborhood here near where Highway 49 and Old Downieville Highway meet. Ella showed up at our house about 6 years ago, skin and bones and near death. Like Greg, we also used a can of tuna to start the turn-around. She is now sitting at the small of my back, between butt and chairback...a better warmer would be difficult to find. Talk about symbiosis.

She is a ferocious hunter, and has eliminated our Norway and roof rats, as well as the mouse population. I especially enjoy that she likes to share the gizzards with us, little treats on the door mats. Yum. Ella also loves to mess with gophers, moles, & voles. Our lawn used to be a travesty. No longer.

Regarding coyotes, which are the biggest problem around here as Greg so correctly indicates, I think a feral-cat-cum-domesticant is the best way to go. They know how to survive. I used to freak out when our coyote parties were in the driveway and Ella was still outside, but no longer. She knows what to do. I happened to catch the action one time when a coyote was actively hunting her down...she leaped onto the front porch with the coyote in hot pursuit, then launched into the air to the gazebo to the roof, in about 3 seconds. It was clear that this was something Ella had done many times.

My only concern is that Ella is so territorial that she challenges the bobcats. They are twice as big as she is, and so far they defer to her when she chases them off. But someday I fear the big tom will turn around, say "seriously?" and give her a lethal swat. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Choose your next Nevada County kitty wisely, George. Maybe wait for a stray to visit you some afternoon. Those are the best.

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