Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Coming to Terms with Leona

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Coming to Terms with Leona

Article excerpt

My New Year's resolution was easy. I'm determined to learn how to deal with Leona. It's the most complex, difficult, frustrating management job I ever tackled, and I have been far from successful.

No matter what I do, it doesn't please Leona. I have tried flattering her; speaking to her in warm, loving tones; stroking her; catering to her needs; giving her presents; providing a pleasant, warm home; serving her the best cuisine; protecting her from worldly violence, and acquiring the best medical attention -- all while strictly avoiding any kind of harassment.

I have given her endless opportunities to make friends amid the beauty of flower gardens. I have read books and watched videos to learn how to please her. I even have scrubbed floors, vacuumed carpets and cleaned bathroom facilities for her. To all this and more, Leona turns her back on me and walks away. She ignores my efforts, and she often clearly expresses her irritation -- trying my patience by deliberately leaving a mess where she knows I want to present a tidy appearance. Leona, you see, is a cat -- an independent, frustrating, self- centered, irritating, patience-trying, infuriating female feline. She can shift gears in minutes from expressing remarkable intelligence to playing dumb. She knows exactly how to turn on her warm, furry and quite delightful "poor me" charm just in time to bring me to my knees after raising my temperature to a boil. Actually, Leona is my wife's cat, and that probably explains why she ignores my presence, much less my attentions. She is so loyal to my wife, Mickey, that she follows Mickey where ever she goes -- upstairs, downstairs, outside, inside, to the table, to bed and up again. She either sleeps next to Mickey or she sits on a bookcase overlooking her during the night -- hovering over her in a sort of protective way that is remindful of a watch dog. That's really a sham, because Leona dives under the bed at the first sign of thunder or any other unusual noise, but I assume her intentions are noble. I suppose all that probably is the result of Mickey's long- standing association with cats. While I rarely was around them during by boyhood, she had numerous cats as a girl in a small eastern Oklahoma town. She has a mutual understanding with them, while I am an outsider in the feline world -- even to cats who have lived inside our home. My introduction to these unfathomable but often delightful creatures involved a tiny tom cat brought home by a daughter who named him Leo as in "Leo in the Lion." Leo soon lived up to his name, growing into the role of "King of the Neighborhood." While Leo became my wife's cat, I could understand him. Leo flat ruled his turf. He quickly made peace with our gentle peace-loving springer spaniel dog and then challenged every other four-legged creature that dared to set foot on our yard. …

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