In 1993, I worked third shift at a local grocery store. One September morning, I came home from work and found that a stray cat had moved into my porch, along with her three kittens. When I walked in, the mother fled, the two little girls hid under the steps, and the little boy came straight to me, crying. For nearly two decades, that small yellow cat would be the center of my life, and the inspiration behind the character bearing his name. He gave me so much in life, it only seems fitting that I give him the only measure of immortality in my power to grant. And I can't help but to think this strange coincidence, his name matching the name of the publisher who ultimately gave me my first opportunity, is somehow a gesture of gratitude, a cosmic sign that our life together meant as much to him as it did to me.
Leo was with me for more than 19 years. In the final years of his life, he had gone blind, developed arthritis, but continued to spend most of every day in my lap. He died on December 23, 2012. Ironically, I was offered my first publication contract from Leo Publishing, on what would have been (thereabouts) his 20th birthday. I love you Leo, and always will.