Leo Costa
6/9/2009 - 12/5/2020Leo was the cat that broke all the rules.

She was the cat that could turn the most staunch cat-hater into her best friend. She was the life of the party, and the nurse of everyone's hungover corpses the next morning. Our love was something I never thought I could experience, especially after being away from my childhood Calico, Lupe, as I went to college and she entered her senior years. In some weird way, it almost felt like Lupe handpicked Leo to take care of me. That time was extremely lonely, and months before Lupe's passing, my life brought my across this runty little Brown/Grey Mackerel Tabby with a broken tail and a biting problem with kids.

I wasn't sure I was ready for her, but I was 1000% sure she wasn't going to the pound. She came home with me that day, 9 months old, uncertain, hiding behind a mattress for the weekend...but it was the beginning of a love I never thought I'd know or deserve. Leo was equal parts my furdaughter and my guardian - she was always there to watch over me while I struggled a constant battle with mental health. Sometimes, when things were the bleakest, the only thought that kept me going is "well I can't do that to Leo".

The hole she left in my life and in my heart is immense. She was always there to greet me at the door, waiting to get picked up and held like a child greeting their parent when they return home for the day. I was fortunate enough to have spent the better part of every night for the last 10 and half years going to bed with her in my arms, stretched across as my little spoon. I couldn't even shower or sit on the toilet without a guest, because she just decided that the best place to be was wherever I was at that exact time. Whether it was sitting on my lap, or the printer, or the desk, it didn't matter. Wherever I was, that was the place she most wanted to be.

And even when the pain of her absence, not getting to hold her every night, not getting greeted everytime I enter the house, and not having her purring by my side, helping drown out the negative thoughts...when all of that gets too much, I try and remind myself that it only hurts so bad because she was an incredible soul. When I think about it, I try and focus on how lucky I am to have been her dad. Of all the cats, in all the world, in every dimension or parallel universe, I was the fortunate soul that got to be her dad for 10 years.

11 years of your beautiful soul on this earth wasn't enough. But 50 or 100 wouldn't have been either. I miss you more than I could ever express. I miss you sitting on the toilet seat while I brush my teeth and I miss you laying next to me while I sleep. My Stinky Girl. My Queen of Hearts. How lucky I was to have been your everything and for you to have been mine. For all the miles we've traveled together with you riding shotgun as my co-pilot. For all the times we have had. For all the people that were lucky enough to meet you. For all of the hearts on different continents who are a little more empty than they were before, knowing that you won't be there to wake them up by being weird next time they stay over.

The only thing that makes this okay is knowing that I was lucky enough to be your dad <3 Rest easy my sweet girl, and say hi to Mom, and Lupe, and Hogan and Kate.
Joe CostaChicago, IllinoisDecember 31, 2020
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The best cat I never got to meet. R.I.P. you absolute legend. We all love you and miss you and are thankful you walked among us. You were too good for this world young queen.Sean Boutwell - January 15, 2021

My heart aches that I never got to give you scritchies in person, but I’ll forever treasure the sweet videos and photos that your dad shared of you. He loves you so much. Thank you for cheering me up when I lost my own fluffy buddy, Boo. I hope y’all get to meet and get up to some trouble together.

Auntie B
Auntie B - January 15, 2021
Miss Leo, you truly were the Queen of Hearts. You stole the hearts of everyone you met, including mine, but were the embodiment of a heart-cat to your daddy, Joe. I could tell that you had him wrapped around your little paw and that your royal decrees, the best blanket, food or spot on the sofa, were always met with love. I will never forget how you let your love be known forever with a simple sign of "I love you" shown with your pawprints <3. You have touched the lives of people across the country and your love will never be forgotten.Maura Lehmann - January 11, 2021

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