What a terrible noise! They’re disrupting my tranquil afternoon, again!” Leo thought, closing his eyes and covering his ears with his paws. “Can’t an old cat enjoy his favorite place to nap in peace?”
With some difficulty, Leo stood up. He stretched and yawned on the windowsill where he liked to snooze. Recently, Leo’s family had unceremoniously converted the room where Leo’s favorite napping spot was into a music room. They had arranged chairs in a circle and someone was always practicing on one of the various musical instruments that were scattered around the room. He already hated the violin the most.
It actually wasn’t new that his family was playing music. There was even a dedicated music room in the house. But it was strange that they were now practicing in the living room.
Leo’s family had started being joined regularly by music-making strangers. Leo usually likes visitors, but these people didn’t notice him at all. It was like he was invisible to them! They went straight to the chairs and became completely engrossed in their music.
Generally, Leo didn’t mind human-made music. But this cacophony of sound could hardly be called music at all. There was no harmony. It was unbearable!
The noises that were coming from the new music room reminded Leo of the cat concerts that occasionally took place at night in the neighbor’s yard. Leo would cautiously, but in the perfect safety of his family’s home, look down from his windowsill and think of how very glad he was not to be involved in the scary hissing and mewing of the neighborhood cats.
He imagined the stray cats were fighting for their territory. Maybe they were making new friendships? Leo wasn’t sure. Fortunately, he was never involved. In any case, they made similar noises to the violin that was being played.
Leo instinctively arched his back and shook the tension from his body. This always caused him to lose a lot of his fur, but he didn’t care. A big cloud of fur drifted throughout the room, sticking to the armchairs, the carpet and the musical instruments.
Leo’s family hated when his fur went everywhere. Just the other day, Leo overheard his mom looking frantically for a lint brush and yelling, “You’d think we have a lion in the house with the way Leo is shedding!”
She had continued complaining, “You can’t leave the house without brushing yourself off first. Has anyone seen the lint brush?” After another few minutes of searching, she exclaimed, “That’s it! I’m adding ten lint brushes to my Christmas wish list this year!”
Leo wondered why his family didn’t like his beautiful fur.
Leo led a nice life with his family and he appreciated it very much. But this new band practice in his favorite room was just too much! He decided he needed to defend his territory. Like the cats in the yard. He wanted his family and their guests to see how much they were disturbing him.
The next time the room was full of people tuning their musical instruments, Leo took action. He couldn’t stand by and let this go on!
He began to rub himself against the guests’ legs. This was how he usually charmed visitors but today he had another motive. As he moved around and between people’s legs, he left behind more and more little tufts of fur.
It didn’t take long for someone to notice. “Leo! What are you doing? Can’t you see we’re busy making music?”
A woman began to sneeze repeatedly and a man kept looking down at his leg. The trumpet player even said that their instrument sounded clogged. But none of them stopped playing music.
So Leo started singing along really loudly. He worried the music would drown out his voice, but then one of the musicians yelled, “What’s wrong with your cat? It’s impossible to concentrate in here.”
His family apologized for his behavior. “He’s not usually like this. I don’t know what’s going on with him today,” said Leo’s mom.
Leo was relieved they were defending him. He figured it was a good sign.
Often when his family was very busy, they would lose track of time. Sometimes they would even miss his fixed meal times, which were otherwise very strictly observed.
Leo wandered over to his bowl now, nudging it with his paw to show that it was dinner time. The bowl tipped over, causing a loud crash as it hit the tile floor. “Thank goodness it was empty,” Leo thought. He was normally very careful.
But even the crash of the food bowl only caught one of the guest’s attention. And only for a moment.
“How am I going to get them to stop?” thought Leo.
He could find another spot to rest quite easily. There were plenty of rooms in the house. But Leo didn’t want to give up his favorite room that easily.
He had another idea. The plants in the house have high value. They are a cherished source of pride to Leo’s family.
Sometimes Leo was even a little jealous of the palm tree, olive tree and all the lemon trees because they were regularly tended to, pruned and checked for bug infestations. His father even spoke to them; “It’s nice that you feel so comfortable with us. Are you getting enough shade?”
Sometimes Leo wanted to scream, “They’re just plants! You should be taking care of me!”
He wondered now whether if he nibbled at one of the plants he could bring an end to this concert.
Leo walked over to a small tree that didn’t smell too bad. He was also quite hungry now so it was almost tempting. He jumped up onto the ledge of the plant’s pot to get a better look at the leaves. Just as he was about to extend his paw to grab a branch, he lost his balance and the big pot toppled over. Leo leaped from the falling pot and grabbed hold of the chandelier across the room like a circus performer.
No one could ignore that! Everyone dropped their instruments at once and jumped into action. Meanwhile, Leo dangled from the chandelier. But the room was quiet at last.
Broken pieces of pot and soil were scattered across the floor. The guests looked between the cat still clinging to the chandelier and the mess on the floor in disbelief.
“Surely, they’ll help me down from here,” Leo thought. But he had never seen his family so upset.
“LEEEEOOO!!!!!! What has gotten into you today?” his dad yelled, struggling to compose himself. “My beautiful little tree! I’ve been growing it for years…”
One of the guests suggested getting the cat down before the ceiling collapsed.
Everything happened very quickly. Someone grabbed Leo and took him straight outside to the terrace and slammed the door shut. Leo sat there petrified. This was not how he had imagined this going. He was a very well-behaved cat. He had never spent the night outside before. “How could they…?” he wondered.
Instinctively, Leo knew that no amount of begging and scratching at the door would help now. He had really disappointed his family. Leo thought of the upcoming cat concert tonight in the yard. The human concert didn’t seem so bad now.
“I wish I had let them have that room. What if they never let me in again?” Leo worried.
Leo walked over to the gazebo and hid under a blanket to wait. After what felt like an eternity, the gazebo door creaked open. “I hope it’s not the other cats,” Leo worried. But then he heard a familiar voice. “Where are you, Leo?” his mom said. He was so relieved. His family must love him a lot. He was quite sure of that now.