Posted: Aug 15, 2013 6:00 AM
 
Lisa Kirkpatrick Mueller never knew her kitten would turn out to be a talented gymnast. In Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can’t Believe My Cat Did That!, Lisa shares a story that will give cat lovers all the ammunition they need to make their case for having a cat.

Written by Lisa Kirkpatrick Mueller, published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can't Believe My Cat Did That!

Play is the beginning of knowledge.
—Author unknown

When I adopted Leo J. as a 6-week-old kitten, I could never have imagined that I was adopting a world-class gymnast. Named Leo for his leopard-spotted coat, my little friend would amaze me in ways I didn't know possible.

One hot summer afternoon, the UPS driver pulled up to our home and dropped off a large cardboard box. My mother had ordered my father a pair of tennis shoes, and she told me to leave the box close to my father's favorite spot on the couch for him to open later that evening.

My father opened the large shipping box to find the shoebox inside, and shoved the larger box to the side in his eagerness to try out his new shoes. After strutting around the living room for a little while, Dad came back to discard the boxes.

He crumpled up the tissue paper from the shoebox, and the packing paper from the shipping box, and placed both inside the large brown shipping box.

After closing the top of the box and shimmying the paper inside, Dad noticed something unusual. My little Leo, who had been aloof during the fashion show of my dad's new shoes, now began to wiggle his hind haunches as if preparing to pounce. Noticing this slight movement, Dad shimmied the box — which was right in front of him — again.

Instead of doing a normal cat thing and trying to jump inside the box, Leo jumped just before reaching the box, did a somersault over the top of the box, and landed on his back in my father's arms!

What happened next was something that my father, mother and I could never have predicted. Leo J. took off in a gallop, heading straight for my father and the box. Instead of doing a normal cat thing and trying to jump inside the box, Leo jumped just before reaching the box, did a somersault over the top of the box, and landed on his back in my father's arms!

This cat had not only managed to catch all of us off guard, he had calculated his trajectory path, velocity, height and mass perfectly to pull off this most amazing stunt!

Seeing this most bizarre sight, my dad insisted on trying his set-up one more time. Again, Leo wiggled those hind haunches, took off in a gallop for my father and somersaulted perfectly over the box and into my father's arms. It is from this athletic stunt that Leo J. has earned his reputation as a world-class gymnast.

*****

Cats sure can surprise us! And Leo J. was no disappointment in Lisa's home. Have you ever seen a cat do something like a somersault through the air? For a fun weekly pet story fix, sign up for our "Pet Lovers" email newsletter. Or pick up your copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can't Believe My Cat Did That! today.

Reprinted with permission from Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC © 2012. In order to protect the rights of the copyright holder, no portion of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent. All rights reserved.

More about pets

Family outings that include your dog
Chicken Soup for the Soul: It's Not Always About the Dog
How to help kids cope when pets die

Topics: