I like the cat photograph - neat composition, very "natural" setting. I wouldn't worry about the leaves. Black is difficult to photograph, so you've lost some details. Also, the cat appears to be "in shadow".
Regarding the dog photograph, it is a great "candid" but the lighting is still a bit "off" and the dog is slightly blurry. Did you use a flash for either image?
"Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of ther universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made." - Caras