I last saw the two of them nine years ago. I wondered if they would remember me.
They didn’t. Not at first, anyway.
Niko – the younger but *much longer* black and white cat – hid himself right away. He immediately ran under the couch. And whenever he came into my daughter’s little apartment, he hid as soon as he saw me.
Leo – the gorgeous orange-haired kitty – didn’t hide, because as you know, alphas are fearless. But he didn’t come to me either. He looked my way, acknowledged my presence, and then wandered off to clean himself.
Leo was a cat that Angie and her then boyfriend rescued from the wilderness of a place near Tofino. There was a big parking lot, and behind that was an immense forest. They found him on the edge of the forest on a cold day during a rain and windstorm. The poor little guy was freezing, and his hair was all matted up. So they knew he’d been out there for a while.
Niko was a brother they got for him, just to keep him company – I think this happened just a few months after Leo’s rescue.
Leo’s muted tolerance of me lasted maybe a day. Being an intelligent feline, he must have noticed the loving energy between my daughter and myself, and found it acceptable, because he then adopted me.
I know this because it didn’t take too much time at all for him to allow me to pet him, and scratch him under the chin (his favourite). I also took to talking to him very quietly. It was constant drone of affection and praise. I’m certain he paid attention.
Both are outdoor cats who *hate* staying inside after about 3:00 in the morning. I know this because every morning around that time, Niko would whine and beg to be let out. He’d give a little meow and then stop, and then just as soon as we fell back to sleep he’d whine again. Angie (my daughter) would sternly tell him “no, Niko! I’m not letting you out now. Go back to bed.”
Strangely enough, he’d listen, and we’d all fall back asleep.
By the way, this happened *every* *single* *night* while I was there. Angela figured it’s because the New Guy (me) was there, and he thought he could con me into letting him out.
My daughter’s place is quite small. Her bed is in a loft above the living space, and she climbs a ladder to get there. I slept on a fold-out couch in her living room. As far as I can tell, neither of us snore, so we didn’t irritate each other. A plus, for sure.
But…Niko remained afraid of me for some reason, so I wondered if he’d ever warm up.
The third night I was there, after Niko shied from me yet again, Leo jumped up on the couch and laid next to me, looking directly at his brother while I commenced petting him.
Niko took notice. There was communication between them, I swear it.
A short while afterward, Niko came close to me and allowed me to pet him. I felt victorious, and Angie was pleased, too.
And then, as the days went on, I noticed something else.
Whenever I pet Leo, he would close his eyes and then start purring. This was amazing, particularly for a furry lad who was used to being the dominant alpha in the place. This guy, who usually never lets his guard down, had done so with me.
One night, Niko came down and crawled into bed with me. When I began petting him, he climbed right on top of me. I don’t know how long he stayed there because I fell asleep.
Slowly but surely, both lads wormed their way into my heart. I didn’t realize how much they had done so until it was time for me to leave and come back home to Toronto.
Before we left for our drive to the city, Angie had me give them one of those moist treats they love so much. As I opened the cans and they crowded around me, I felt my throat close. Angie asked me if I was okay. I nodded.
If Angie was the cake to my two week stay with her, Leo and Niko had to be the icing.