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Lessons from Leo

In this blog I’ll share with you how Leo has been helping me to practice what I preach!

You may or may not know that my first cat (as a grown up) was my baby girl Pickle. She was a big part of my origin story and is why Naturally Cats is here today.

She inspired me to learn and train in several complementary and alternative treatment options to support her health. She was a very poorly cat.

I’ll be sharing more about our journey together in my new book – coming soon.

What I wanted to share with you today is how Leo is my current teacher and the hard lessons he is teaching me.  

Let me share with you a little bit about Leo. He is my current rescue cat. He was waiting at the centre for over 3 months as they were having trouble re-homing him. He’s black and the top of his left ear has been cut off as he was part of a Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) programme. He wasn’t returned, he was taken to the rescue centre.

Black cats are notoriously hard to rehome thanks to history and the myths about black cats (sigh). Also, a lot of people didn’t view him as a ‘perfect’. Add to that the fact that he was always hiding. Being feral, he hadn’t been socialised with humans when he was younger, so he was very afraid.

Put this type of cat into a rescue situation and it’s far from ideal. I basically had to convince the centre manager that I was the right cat mum for Leo (the centre named him Leat after where they found him).

I shared my business, my experience with Pickle and my qualifications and finally we were allowed to bring him home.

I’m not going to share too much more here (I’ll save that for the book!) Let’s just say that we have all been finding our feet together over the last 2 years. I don’t think I was quite ready to have another cat when we got him, my heart was broken from saying goodbye to my baby girl, but Leo has helped me to heal.

He has helped me to love again, to open my heart and to connect with another cat. That’s one of the big, overall lessons he has taught me. It is safe to love.

But more recently he has taught me to live my truth.

What does that mean?

Leo is a hybrid cat. By that I mean he has access to outside, but we control that access. We keep him in when there is no daylight. We back onto local woods and have many wild animals around here so we keep him in at night.

Recently during the sunny weather, he has been going out more which is good for him – not so much for us. He is bringing us ‘gifts’.

I’m not going to go into detail about them and I don’t want to start a debate about the pros and cons of indoor v outdoor cats. What I can tell you is that as a vegan, animal lover and nature enthusiast I have struggled.

With the live ‘gifts’ and the deceased ones. It’s been hard.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because this in the lesson Leo has been teaching me.

I talk about #givingcatsavoice

On social media I am constantly showing up and sharing images, thoughts and reminders for people to accept their cat the way it is. I wasn’t doing that.

I was thinking about how I could stop Leo bringing me ‘gifts’. I want to save the world. I want to protect it and save it. I can’t do that all the time in every way I think I can.

I have a pet cat. My cat is a hunter. A carnivore. I’m a vegan and total tree hugger!

I took some time to look at myself.

To see why and where I had an issue, and I had a lightbulb moment.

It’s a lesson from Leo.

Basically, about practising what I preach! I can’t say to people ‘don’t get annoyed that your cat is scratching the sofa it’s a normal cat behaviour’ and then be upset with Leo who is also demonstrating a normal cat behaviour.

I can’t pick and choose which bits of him I accept and agree with. That’s not how love works.

It’s a constant struggle

I won’t lie. This isn’t something I’ve fixed or that I’ve nailed, but I am trying.

Trying to be accepting and loving of Leo and his natural behaviours (and save as many live ‘gifts’ as I can!)

This has been a tough blog to write, I’ll be honest. But it’s important. To show you that I am human, I am a cat mum that has troubles just like you.

I may be qualified in cat behaviour and other things – but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have struggles with my own cat.

Leo is amazing. He is teaching me so much. Some people think we are owners of cats – not me. I am the student and Leo is the teacher.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

#givingcatsavoice

Thank you for reading, we hope you’ve enjoyed the blog.

Get in touch with us on social media or email and let us know what you’re struggling with, in terms of cat behaviour.

We’d love to hear from you.

Julie-Anne and Leo xx

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