Leo can be the pill to end all pills. He knows he's not supposed to get on the counter (or go behind the stove, or open the cabinets, or chew on the mouse cable...), but if he decides you're not paying enough attention to him he will, like a neglected child, do every one of these forbidden things over and over, just to get yelled at/squirted with water or compressed air/beaned with a pen/etc. Even though he's never missed a meal in his life, I think he's pretty sure that we would forget to feed him if he didn't remind us, his plaintive (read: annoying) cries ringing through our small apartment, frequently before dawn. He'll chew on pretty much anything, knock items off tables or counters, jump in and out of the laundry basket, and dart for the closet every time it's opened (though he's been doing that less, lately); his mission in life seems to be making as much of a pest of himself as possible.
And yet...he is without doubt the most affectionate cat I've ever known. It doesn't take much at all to get him purring like a deisel tractor. Dumb as a post, but sweet as all get-out.
I had a somewhat discouraging day at work today, so I was grumpy and exhausted when I got home. The cats came out of the bedroom to greet me, as they always do, Loki looking for Tom behind me, Leo squinting and stretching as he slunk his way across the floor. I grabbed a snack and sat down on the couch to unwind, and there was Leo right up next to me, head-butting me and rubbing ecstatically against my arm, purring all the while. He eventually settled, half in my lap, for a little afternoon cuddle.
And slowly, the stress of my day melted away, put on a shelf somewhere until tomorrow (yes, I will mix metaphors however I please, and you will like it!). Amazing what the little furball can do to my mood - infuriate me beyond compare when he's mewling and knocking things off the nightstand at 5:00 on a Saturday morning, or de-grumpify me on a crummy Monday afternoon with his soft, warm body, his purrs, and his little head butting up against me (cat hugs, you know).
Now, if you'll excuse me, it seems the little bastard/angel wants to play fetch, so I think I shall oblige him a while.