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Leo The Lion


On Friday the 16th of November (be good if it were Friday the 13th wouldn't it) a cat started meowing in our driveway. This was most strange. It was one of the clan from the neighbourhood who frequent our yard. This cat has been here for years, very timid, only see a flash of him and he's gone. He's a pale fawn/orangey type colour, fluffy and large. I nicknamed him Puss in boots years ago. So Puss in boots was making a racket. I don't know this cat very well, but it struck me as mighty out of character. I went outside and he kept meowing. I slowly approached him, he backed away, but not completely. Instead of fleeing over the fence and into obscurity, as per our established arrangement, he backed off to keep a comfortable distance between us, but kept himself visible. I went back inside and kept an eye on him.

That night, for the entire night, he meowed at our front door. Both of us tried, intermittently over the evening, to let him inside. But he'd only trot away from us, then stop and resume meowing. We left a bowl of water out for him.

I thought he must have kitty dementia, as they tend to get 'lost' in the dark and generally do out of character things, like meow at strangers. (Grew up with a hoard of cats and a stinky household I did, not fun.)

The next morning he was still at our front door. My husband successfully let him inside. Long story short he's still here. It's like he adopted us. No signs of kitty dementia, as far as I can tell. He just suddenly likes us. Maybe out of necessity, because he's hungry? I don't know.

I always assumed he's male because, and I know this is a hot topic among cat people, but I believe you can tell the genders apart. It's all in the neck and skull structure, of this I am convinced. Take it from someone who grew up with a million bloody cats.

No one knows who Puss in boots belongs to. If he's missing, or for how long. All our immediate neighbours have seen him in or around their yards. I checked Gumtree for lost pet ads, couldn't find his picture or description.

A few days later I took him to a vet to have him scanned. No microchip, I find this very odd as it turns out he's a Norwegian Forest Cat, a pricey posh breed, if you please. Vet reckons he's between seven and ten years. I thought he weighed a tonne but the vet said he was underweight and undernourished. He treated him for fleas/worms, and he was to go back for another weigh in at a later date. I wasn't taking much in, was flummoxed by him being 'underweight'. He's flippin HUGE! But it explained his protruding back bone, you could feel his spine under all the fur.

We never had any cats as large as this when I was a kid. Nor any cats that eat like dogs. This takes some getting used to.

Ghost time! After about a week of him living here we were watching TV one night, the cat was laying on his back in front of the TV, because he's a dog that way. We were discussing what his name might be and saying random names to see if he'd respond. Given his age we began saying kid type names like Shrek, Spongebob, Twilight, Edward, things that were popular when he would've been a kitten. He has a rather fetching 'mane', believe it or not. So husband said 'Leo the lion', wouldn't you know it the cat looked up from his belly up, lay about position. After saying Leo a few times, it was clear he responded to this name. Or maybe 'Theo', something sounding like this, at least. We've settled on Leo.

Earlier that day and during the days leading up to this, we both kept smelling a phantom smell. It was cosmetics. You know the way cosmetics used to smell? Think back to your older relatives, that unmistakable 'traditional' cosmetics smell. This was very strong in the house at various times. We think it's tied in with the cat arriving. Maybe his previous owner? An elderly lady who passed away perhaps?

Back to that night, naming the cat. We were pretty pleased with ourselves finding a name, odds are his actual name. The cosmetics smell had returned while this was going on. Maybe half an hour had passed since nailing the Leo name. I felt a really strong presence enter the room, I felt like I knew exactly where they were, how and where they were moving around. It was intense, without saying anything I turned to my husband and he was frozen in place with a quizzical look, much like me. I mouthed 'Who the f--- is that?', he shrugged back clueless. You know when you've got ghosts frequenting your home, you get to know them by vibe? Well this vibe was unfamiliar, but super strong.

Leo was making cat smiley eyes in the direction of where I thought the presence was moving around. Cat people, you know cat smiley eyes right? When they squint at you in appreciation, usually while relaxing by the fire or on your knee. Anyway, cat smiley eyes Leo was making in the direction of this invisible presence. I thought/felt the presence to be a person, whoever it was I thought bent over to pat Leo on the head. Leo closed his eyes the way cats do when you pat their head while they're relaxed. This timed in with when I thought/felt the person was bending over to touch him. Then it was like the person left, moment passed, couldn't 'feel' them here any more. Leo put his head on the floor and drifted off to sleep.

My husband said a couple seconds before I turned around he 'felt' someone enter the room. I felt the same thing. We both felt the direction they moved and how they bent over the cat. We've done this sort of thing with other spirits. But this felt different somehow, the immediacy and strong vibe they gave off. We assume it's a woman because of the cosmetics smell.

Since that night we haven't smelt cosmetics. My husband feels the same presence return at various times. I've felt it one other time only. It was about a week ago, when we were going to bed. I was in the bedroom and Leo was asleep on the couch. I felt the same strong presence, and had the sense of direction around where Leo was.

For the first nights he was here Leo wanted to sleep on our bed, practically cried at the bedroom door for the first few nights, poor thing. I don't have a problem letting pets sleep on your bed if you're single. But if you're a couple, kick the damn pets out of the bedroom for goodness sake.

We got him a cat bed, actually it's a dog bed, because the cat ones are too small for him. But he prefers the couch. Gotta love cats. My husband says he feels the presence mostly around bedtime. He thinks this person might have a goodnight routine with the cat. He also felt it very strong when he got home one night. I wasn't home at the time. He thinks this person might be visiting the cat when we're not around.

I thought I saw someone in the armchair last week, just a glimpse in the dark, as I walked by. They had curly short hair, but that's all I saw. I did a double take but only saw armchair. It might have been my imagination making sense of the dark.

At some point someone obviously loved Leo. He's got a sweet nature, he's house trained, neutered, likely slept on someone's bed, loves being brushed, loves any kind of attention.

Back in November, when he first came inside, he had a patch of fur on the top of his head which was shorter than the rest. He'd probably been in a cat fight at some point. His coat was dry and a bit brittle, his gums were pale, and he looked like he'd been living rough. He was also very on edge and clingy. He could wake up and fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Now he's much calmer, less clingy, settled into a sleeping, eating and playing routine.

About a month into him being with us I abandoned searching Gumtree for lost ads after this happened. One evening I got home and flopped on the couch. I was pretty tired. Leo jumped on the back of the couch and did that meow/purr thing in my ear. This gave me an almighty fright and I leapt up immediately with a gasp. This scared Leo, he ran to the front door. I went after him saying 'Leo, it's okay, you just scared me, it's okay.' I said this in a soft, reassuring tone. I stretched my hand out to pat him when I got to the door, but he cowered and flinched, looking at me with his eyelids flickering. I think he thought I was going to hit him. Neither of us would ever hit an animal.

I didn't know what to do. But I backed away a couple steps and crouched down to his level. He got over his fear reaction pretty fast and was back to normal within the next five minutes. But this has stuck with me ever since. I've never seen a cat do that before. I was disgusted, angry. I felt a lot of things, still do. In that moment I realised I had no idea who I'd be handing him back to, if I found someone looking for him. Also why has he been living rough, a posh breed like that.

Going over everything now I think the presence we felt that night we named him was likely his original owner, who loved him. When this person, (woman?) passed away, her family either abandoned the cat and he lived rough, or took the cat in and mistreated him. Well, that's the present theory anyway.

On a lighter note I've been learning about Norwegian Forest Cats and it amuses me greatly to call him by his native name Skogkatt. How good is that word?! Skogkatt, it's his second name now.

Thanks for reading.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Tweed, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Tweed (35 stories) (2501 posts)
1 year ago (2023-05-18)
Hi Ken, aww it was nice to reread this. There was a time when we first named Leo I would call him Steveo, just for giggles.

Leo passed away a couple of weeks ago, total downer.

He was such a brilliant friend. Truly a great cat.
KenS80 (1 stories) (42 posts)
1 year ago (2023-05-17)
I was amused Tweed with your calling out SpongeBob, and other kids choice names to the cat. Leo sounds perfect and matches my star sign so I approve. (+_+)
This post caught my eye when I clicked through looking for a post to read. I'm glad I read this. Your sense of humour is enlightening to say the least.
Mhannerism (2 stories) (82 posts)
5 years ago (2019-03-19)
It's such a wonderful story I can't help but log in to compliment the story.β™₯️
My family loves cats too we adopted Maria and Clara because they stay at our grotto. At first they were just visiting hoping we'd feed them and then they decided to live with us haha it just bums me sometimes that they couldn't sleep inside our home because we have two dogs. They wouldn't chase the cats but there are times that they're feeling territorial or just in the mood to play with the cats. But the cats are too assuming they must have thought our dogs would tear their flesh. Lol

Oh! I remember my grandma's late neighbor, she used to have soooo many cats, like more than ten. When she passed away, one of her cats travelled to her burial ground on foot and lied down on her lapida (stone tablet where her name was carved/written) and died. It was heartbreaking to hear.

The former owner of Leo must have loved him so much she couldn't bear to leave him without finding him a loving shelter. I'm just so happy with this story it made me talkative.😣
expathistorical (2 stories) (1 posts)
5 years ago (2019-03-06)
😊 😊 SkogKatt reminds me of my Frankie. Also a little Lion, possibly forest cat, a rescue who jumps if you startle him and absolutely loves fuss and love. Frank didn't come with a ghost though.
sushantkar (16 stories) (533 posts)
5 years ago (2019-03-03)
Good Evening Tweed!

Very touching experience you have shared with us. The experience shared by you gives the imagination power to dive into the sea of ​​thoughts of human emotions, which is very pleasant. You have shared a real treat with us.
Whenever I get an opportunity like this to read a great experience, it helps my mind flowing into the source of those feelings which also helps me relieving all suffering.

Tweed (35 stories) (2501 posts)
5 years ago (2019-03-01)
Breaghboo, sorry I missed your comment somehow! You're right some cats do land on their feet. We're happy he chose us, feel kind of honoured in a way.
Welcome to YGS, or welcome to commenting, I guess!
Tweed (35 stories) (2501 posts)
5 years ago (2019-03-01)
Hi MysticFracnce, glad you know the smell I mean. It's hard to describe. Nice to see you're still visiting YGS.

Cuddlebear, I thought of meow too. Maybe there's a secret cat language we humans stumble on occasionally. With the exception of a couple ex boyfriends pets, and living vicariously through family pets over the years, technically Leo is my first pet as an actual adult human person. The other day I forgot to feed him at the regular time. He went bananas at me for about an hour before I realised why. Pet ownership responsibilities, I suck at this! There are days the cosmetics smell person, I'm sure, would not approve.

MaybeADreamer, nice to see you're still around YGS! Makes you wonder how many hauntings could be pet related. A lot of pets out there out living their owners. I'd do the same too.

Val, lol I wish you could feel the weight of them through the screen. Like holding a dog, still can't get used to it. Saying skogkatt is addictive. We call him our Viking warrior now too because he acts like a big tough guy when someone's at the door. Tail swishing side to side "let me at em" attitude. He calms down when it's someone he knows. Maybe this is from living rough. Might have a touch of feral about him. Or maybe it's the breed, or just him being territorial, the way cats are.

Augusta, you and your husband are both weirdos lol!
Seriously though your comment darn near made me well up. The love and loss we experience with pets equals that of people. Absolute fact. I still get teary thinking about our old family cat, the last of the hoard, who passed a couple of years ago. I can't wrap my mind around having an animal destroyed because no one wants it. That will never make sense, there will always be someone out there wanting an animal friend. Bless you for rescuing Peanut. ❀
AugustaM (7 stories) (996 posts)
5 years ago (2019-03-01)
Hah! Neither my husband nor I can sleep without at least one of our two cats in the bed! Different strokes:) And if we tried to keep them out of the room, they'd just open the door and waltz right in anyway - terribly clever they are with those little hands in soite if a distinct lack of thumbs;-)

Our last baby, Peanut (its been almost 2 years now and I STILL miss her... And am tearing up as I type this... And just realized I typed 'lost' above not 'last') was in a situation similar to what you describe. Her last three owners had all been elderly - when the first passed, her best friend took her, then when she passed, the ex husband of the first woman took her, then he fell ill and made what he knew would be his last trip to the hospital. He had loved her and meant well but knew little of feline nutrition (her diet consisted of Cheetos and whatever cat food was on sale at Food Lion) and her life with him must have been traumatic as his condition caused him to require frequent calls to emergency services and all those men rushing in at odd hours of the night and his distress must have terrified her. Well when it became clear that he was not coming home, his kids decided they didn't want her and planned to have her destroyed. My mother, his nurse at the assisted living facility, offered to take her but they refused. So we stole her and I never regretted for a moment that we did. She was the sweetest most wonderful creature I have ever had the privilege to have in my life. In the first few months we had her, when I would move quickly to pet her, particularly about the head and face, she would flinch in terror as if I meant to slap her - it absolutely broke my heart to see! I never knew her first 2 owners but if they taught her that, I hope they were ashamed of themselves. After 6 months with us, she never flinched again - she would stick her beautiful little face up towards your hand whenever she saw it coming near her. I think her previous owner came to check on her too - I saw her looking at him a few times in the beginning. ❀
valkricry (49 stories) (3275 posts) mod
5 years ago (2019-03-01)
Oh,Tweed,I love this! I googled Norwegian Forest Cats, as I wasn't sure what they look like. Wow! Impressive looking beasties, aren't they? I also like their other name; granskogskatte. I agree skogkatt, feels delightful to say on the tongue. Ha-ha, I said it outloud and Kirby (my furball) just gave me the oddest look. πŸ˜†
It's possible he was hesitant to enter at first, because of a 'trust' issue, couple that with his reaction, and I think you could be on to something.
Breaghboo (2 stories) (15 posts)
5 years ago (2019-02-28)
Hi Tweed. I've been reading on this site for years but first time I've joined and posted a comment. Sounds like Leo decided he wanted a proper home again after sleeping rough for a while and chose you. Cats are smart! A couple of the rescue cats we've had over the years definitely chose us! And how lovely he has a deceased loved one looking after him. Bet she's delighted with where he's ended up too. Some lucky cats do land on their feet!
MaybeADreamer (4 stories) (58 posts)
5 years ago (2019-02-28)
Hi Tweed - lovely story thanks for sharing.

I too have a stray cat that I feed & care for. I believe the previous owner of Leo was just keeping an eye on him. I would if it was me LOL xx
Cuddlebear (4 stories) (173 posts)
5 years ago (2019-02-28)
Tweed - darn if I hadn't taken note of the both names ending in "O", nice catch. Meoo?

Since Garbo all of our pets have had names associated with movies or TV (except our current dog - Sadie Mae). Perhaps our next cat should be Harlow...
MysticFrance (5 stories) (95 posts)
5 years ago (2019-02-28)
Hi Tweed! You're back! I always love your stories! Happy that Leo found you and your husband. His previous owner must be an old lady. I imagine the smell of cosmetics you're saying. My grandma used to live with us. I'm not a cat person, but I love this story and how Leo chose you.

Tweed (35 stories) (2501 posts)
5 years ago (2019-02-27)
Cuddlebear, lol gotta stamp out those conspiracy theories before they take hold!
I like the idea of a cat named Garbo. Interesting how both cats respond to two syllable words ending in an "o" sound. Huh, something to ponder.
Cuddlebear (4 stories) (173 posts)
5 years ago (2019-02-26)
Tweed ~ What a wonderful story thank you for sharing!

Your naming of Leo reminds me of my naming of a cat - Garbo. My kid sister got a cat from her husband as a wedding present (don't ask and yes the cat outlasted the marriage). When their first born came around, she was allergic to cats - so Cuddlebear gets a cat. They had named the cat Spice but she took no notice of her name. While talking to my mother about old movies I mentioned Garbo. At the mention of the name the Cat came into the galley and looked at me. After hanging up the phone I went into another room and said "Garbo" once again the cat came into the room and looked at me. I performed this experiment several times with the same results. Ever after the cat was known as Garbo. Before the suggestion is made - Greta Garbo was alive both when the cat was born and later when she was named.
Tweed (35 stories) (2501 posts)
5 years ago (2019-02-26)
Lady Glow, the votey thing, it hates me. I've been awol for how long? Yet it's giving me the finger.
Anyhoo, I loved your comment and it made me think. You're right this ghost is probably trying to relay something to us. Thanks for your cool words!

Jan, a friend of mine has a Himalayan named Claudia, but I call her Pusheen. They are lovely cats! Sorry you had to give yours up. I get cat allergies too, but it's manageable.
I'll have to think about the cosmetics smell. It may just be how she identities herself. Funeral makeup, wow! My inner goth is applauding! I don't think that stuff has a smell. When I was a kid in all those funeral homes I don't remember there ever being any smell. But maybe that's all changed. Interesting thought, thanks!
msforgetmenott (17 stories) (316 posts)
5 years ago (2019-02-25)
Hi Tweed,

The memory of the blend of perfumes, powder and aftershave, much like when entering a crowded elevator.

The kind of cat you described was new to me, but I was soon finding a lot about it in the internet. I want one! I am very much a cat person, but my man has allergies to the extreme. I found this out when I had to give up my pure Himalayan, it was very heartbreaking. Yet we have a small dog thirteen pounds that is glued to his lap, and not one sneeze. Go figure.

We had a cat come to our back door, wanting in like it was his home. We let him onto our breezeway, gave him food as it was starving, and made him a bed out there. Then we noticed the fleas... Then we noticed he was getting fatter, um... Could he be a she... Instinctively she had looked for shelter. This story ends well, we found homes for all her kittens and Mom too.

We soon had the breezeway walled and insulated, a sunny warm room, but critters were unable to enter, unless invited.

I would say, your cat might have found his new home, with a little help. But it does not explain why you smelled the overpowering smell of pancake makeup.

Oh Tweed I have an awful thought, could the smell have been from funeral makeup? That is an awful thought!

lady-glow (16 stories) (3159 posts)
5 years ago (2019-02-25)
Hello Tweed - the first thing that came to my mind when reading about the "cosmetic smell", was the smell of the lacquer Mom used to apply to her hair back in the 60's.

It seems like someone, other than Mr Tweed and you, has been looking after Leo, perhaps they were observing all the households in the neighborhood and decided that yours was the best suited to become Leo's forever home, then told him to knock on your door.
I wonder if this person has been telling you Leo's story and they put in your mind the thought of a second caregiver mistreating the cat.

I'm sure that the bond between Leo and his previous master was very strong and they couldn't bear the thought of him being homeless.

I'm glad you found each other.πŸ’œ

Thanks for sharing such a beautiful experience.

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