Thursday, December 8, 2011

Leo the famous barge cat needs a new home

You may remember this story that we reported on back on July 2... when two East Village residents were walking through East River Park and noticed an abandoned cat on the off-shore industrial area opposite the East River Environmental Learning Center.

It became a big story... after a group of volunteers rescued the cat, now named Leo. Now, one of its owners, Robert, writes in with the news that Leo needs a new home. And here's why:

Leo has been happy for months in our little one bedroom apartment in the east village, and I'm happy to say we've saved his life. ... He's now house trained and healthy with a lovely coat of fur — unlike when we found him when he was malnourished and covered in engine grease from where he'd been hiding.

So why are we looking for a new home for Leo? Well, unfortunately, we recently had our cat from the UK (we're a British couple living here) shipped over to New York to join us. He's a docile and relaxed fluff ball called Willow, and although lovable to everyone that meets him, Leo doesn't like him one bit.

In fact, Leo hates on him. It has now been 3 months and the two of them can't get on. Leo is a wonderful cat but we've come to the realization that Leo is only happy alone. He's very territorial and becomes aggressive around new cats. We are now separating the two and Leo is crying the house down and desperate to be let out of the kitchen (his favorite room with his bed), which we can't do with Willow in the room. They have now had no less than 6 fights, each more severe than the last and it's heartbreaking. I want to keep Leo and I want him and Willow to get on but they won’t.

We have been to every pet store, advice network, and generally good cat person we know and we have tried everything people have recommend. Nothing worked. We’re now completely out of options, other than to find Leo a new loving home.

Some facts about Leo:
• Leo's estimated age is 2 years old, but we suspect he’s only just there because he’s a young boy.
• He may have been mistreated (how else did he end up on a barge) or he may have been feral. I'm not sure it's the latter because he instantly knew how to use the litter, eat from his bowl, and generally make his way around the home.
• He is house trained.
• He can become agitated but generally he’s a lovely cat with a good demeanor.
• He has been trained to only scratch his scratching post


Here is a contact email

Previously on EV Grieve:
This cat is stranded off East River Park


Roger_Paw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I'd gladly take Leo too, but I already have two cats. I had one for 3 years before I adopted another one and brought it home. The two get along famously. You never can be too sure how cats will respond to one another. Good for these people to have rescued Leo in the first place. Would you prefer that they left him to die on the barge?

Lisa said...

He looks like a complete doll, but I already have a male cat. Sigh... poor Leo.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Roger Paw. It is silly to ship your UK cat here and give Leo the boot. And if this couple moves back to the UK, are they going to ship Willow again? Obviously Willow was not homeless before he came to the US, so why not just leave him in the UK? I have had my cat for 16 years and cannot imagine putting her through such shenanigans. Poor Leo. He is a cutie pie.

Anonymous said...

Wow, way to be judgmental asses. They saved the cat's life under the assumption he could be socialized to the cat they already owned. They tried for _three months_. They've done the right thing time and again, and it didn't work out. You're really going to condemn them for shipping their beloved cat from the UK? If I moved to Tibet, the first thing I'd bring with me would be my cat.

Grieve, your blog really attracts some grouchy, bitter assholes.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to add some context to this. I understand that people may think it was silly or inconsiderate to bring another cat over from the UK, but our plan was always to bring Willow over from the UK. Willow was staying with family until we had a home and could afford to have him moved. Also, our family also moved from the UK, meaning Willow was going to be homeless if we didn't stick to the plan of having him move over. No one could take Leo and due to the state of him at the time he would have certainly be put down by the AC&C. As someone also said, we were never to know how they would react together, it's like people - sometimes they just don't get on no matter what you try. I truly hope we can find someone that will look after him.

Marty Wombacher said...

I'm going to print this out and post it up at work. Let's find Leo a new home!

LvV said...

10:53, I would also take my cat with me wherever I went, but if for some reason I couldn't take my cat with me, but intended to get her at some point, I wouldn't adopt another in the interim. I just can't imagine how terrible it is for Leo, to finally have a home and a family and now that family is going to give him up. Although I do understand that the family is in a tough situation. People get very emotional about animals (I guess that is "judgmental"), but it doesn't mean they are assholes, grouchy, bitter, etc.

Anonymous said...

Leo's "foster parents" sound nice but have now upended two cats' lives. Willow has probably been in major upheaval since being separated from her/his parents when they moved to the UK and is now having a tough time acclimating to NY. She'll be ok but I'm sure she went through incredible stress lately.

It's Leo I'm worried about. He will have his life upended yet again but for the worse; from a warm home to a now uncertain, erratic future.

I hope he has a good future lined up for him. Please do keep us posted.

Tariq said...

@LvV, "I wouldn't adopt another in the interim"

It's not like these guys went out and adopted some cat until they got their other cat to come here. They RESCUED a cat that was stranded on a barge. That is a very kind thing for them to do and like they said the people looking after their first cat can no longer do so. It is just an unfortunate situation but if you think about it there is really only two options. Give up their first cat for adoption or give up the new cat for adoption. Either way it seems that they have done all they can to make things work.

Melanie said...

Leo is so cute--seems he's been using up his 9 lives lately. Let's find him a good home.
@Marty--great idea!!

Matt Tarbox said...

Matt uk
I have recently spent a week with rob clo Leo and willow and believe me no two people could love a cat more than they love Leo they had no choice but to bring willow to the us and to be fair until the two cats were brought together how was they to know they wouldn't get on. To anyone who thinks they were stupid I ask " what would you have done?" they are not the sort of people who could have walked past that barge that day they are doing the best they can in an impossible situation I know I have seen it for myself so maybe instead of being so judgemental ( Roger ) your time would be better spent helping them . Leo is a great cat and is great on a one to one basis he would make a great companion for someone believe me if I didn't live in the uk and own a dog I would have him in a heartbeat please less criticism and more help.

Goggla said...

What a heart-breaking situation. I'd take him, but I already have a "Leo" of my own. Will ask around...there's got to be someone out there who needs Leo in their life.

Anonymous said...

Have the adoptive parents tried using Rescue Remedy in the cats' water? Also there is a spray called Feliway that is a hormone that relaxes cats. I have 5 cats at home, and my vet recommended using both of these when we were having trouble with 2 of them. It worked, took a few weeks, but all's well with the menagerie now.

Anonymous said...

Hey, everybody, stop attacking these people. They went out of their way to save this cat's life, and they tried to make it work. And now they are trying to find him a new home. It's not like they are putting him out on the street. Let's focus on spreading the word because I think if everyone tells a friend, we'll find someone who would love to adopt this guy. The point is: We have to help find him a new home. Let's do it. Let's find him a forever home where he can be the sole kitty and live out the rest of his life safe and happy!

Anonymous said...

How strange, earlier today I sent what I though was a supportive and informative comment, appreciating that there were some generous-hearted people and two wonderful cats in a tough spot because of a failed introduction between the two cats and offering some suggestions about the stages of doing a good introduction and how lengthy and careful a process some cats need it to be......but it hasn't appeared???
For anyone contemplating an introduction between two territorial animals please consider:
1] doing it at the cat's pace
2] learning lots and lots about it first, before embarking on what will be a life changing event for the animals.
Not saying Leo is or isn't a cat who might have reacted differently, but his wonderful and obviously caring owners may be among the many who optimistically underestimated the complexity and length of time required.
....and just wishing good luck to a plucky little survivor.

EV Grieve said...

@ anon 4:27

Sorry — never saw that previous comment. Thanks for reposting.

LvV said...

I apologize if my previous comment seemed like I was attacking Willow's parents. They are obviously good people to have rescued Leo in the first place. It's just an all-around terrible situation and I am a cat lady! In fact my childhood cat was also rescued from the docks (and he was a cute little orange bugger just like Leo). I'm sure if we all try we can find Leo a home. I even left a message for my Mom about him. She loves orange boy cats.

Anyway, sorry if I came off as rude.

Anonymous said...

has he been neutered?

c.o. moed said...

Hi- My Private Coney here and I will repost both on my blog and my facebook. Leo sounds wonderful. I have a puss already. Otherwise, I'd take that baby! We both grew up on the East River!

Anonymous said...

maybe they need another cat at thr YIPPIE CAFE who has some manners

Big Gay Ice Cream Man said...

Good luck, Leo. I hope his foster parents can find him good digs. He's got a helluva back story.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Found you through C. O. Moeds site and have posted your plea for help. If I wasn't so allergic to the kittie babies I would take him myself.

Anonymous said...

Cats are rather solitary and territorial animals, so you have to work hard to socialize them to each other (but it can be done!).

1. Separate litter boxes, food bowls and water bowls (each cat has its own).
2. Feliway (plug-in pheramone).
3. Lots of playtime using fishing-pole type toy. Cats start to associate each other with "good times."
4. If possible separate cats when not home--let them get used to each other's smell through closed doors.

And, all right, *kind of" thinking about taking on Leo...will get back to you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the support and advice. We've tried all of the above but still no joy. Someone asked if he was neutered, he is and we have all of his adoption papers, test results etc. Please drop me an email if you want to adopt Leo. Thank you again.