Sleepy Little Milo

Our precious little brown boy. He came to us a mess; he was underweight, only had half the hair he should have had, and was sneezing out bloody goo. It took a while to stabilize him, and his sinuses have always been a mess, though they got better. Our long running fear was always a respiratory infection of some sort, and that if he ever went off food we would be hooped since he has always been the pickiest eater I’ve ever encountered.

But he flourished with us and we’ve helped him have a happy life. When he arrived he was a year and a half old and had lived in a cage his whole life. He didn’t even know how to jump up on the couch. A cat, and he’d never jumped.

I was in a dark personal place in my life when he came along and connected himself to me. We became each other’s stability and he alleviated some of the depression I was battling.

I don’t believe in reincarnation, but he almost makes me. I think he was a monkey in another life. For a cat that didn’t know how to jump it didn’t take long before he was literally everywhere and on top of everything; at one point his and Loki’s bed was on top of the armoire in the bedroom when they discovered that they could get there from the window ledge.

He came with other problems. He has never been completely trustworthy where the litterbox is concerned. Probably another leftover from his days before we rescued him. Some time in the first couple of years we had him, he peed on the bed and I flew into a rage. I yelled so loudly at him and I smacked him. He was terrified of me and he hid under a piece of furniture. I lay on the floor in front and cried and cried and apologized and cried some more. I have never allowed myself to become angry at him again. We found a way to coexist and have spent the last 12 years with a plastic sheet on the bed when we are not sleeping. It’s been a small concession to make.

He is a Havana Brown, basically a brown siamese with yellow-green eyes, and he demonstrates his heritage in his voice. He looks at you with an expression that says that he is thinking heavily about everything. He is the smartest cat I’ve ever encountered, and he problem solves.

He loved moving here to the new home, it has a fireplace and it was almost impossible keeping him at a safe distance from the flame. He would sneak into the side and singe his tail every season.

Being brown, he has always been terribly difficult to photograph, so I have fewer good photos of him than I wish I had.

This isn’t a very coherent post, I am just trying to cope by writing a random string of words.

A couple of months ago he looked odd. I thought he was eating well and getting pudgy, but then I realized the pudge wasn’t even, he had a bulge on his left side. He was still eating and drinking, he was still playful and didn’t show any discomfort. We thought the worst and Kirk took him in to visit the vet expecting a cancer diagnosis.

We didn’t get that, instead he was diagnosed with a large hernia and was sent immediately to the emergency clinic for a life saving operation. It cost a fortune, but it was the right thing to do, and I wouldn’t make the choice any differently if we were there again. He bounced back quickly and healed exceptionally well.

It’s been a longer life than we expected him to have, which is a testament to how tough this wheezy, snotty little guy is. We thought we’d be lucky to have him in our lives for ten years, he turned fourteen in February.

But it appears his time is running out.

A few weeks ago Kirk went out of town for work and Milo went off his food. I thought it was just a protest, and when Kirk came back Milo started eating fairly well again. He’s always been on and off food, he’s always been finicky. But this was different. He started to lick the food but not eat much. He seemed hungry, but then turned away. He’s had issues with constipation and a high fibre food helped resolve that, but going off that food also brought problems there back again. We weighed him, his weight was down since April, almost a pound.

And then last week I noticed a smaller bulge on his right side. Another hernia? We took him in on Tuesday for an x-ray that showed no hernia, but had other concerning hints at bigger problems.

The blood work came back fairly positive, but with some anemia. Could we come in for a quick ultrasound this afternoon.

That visit to the vet this afternoon resulted in very sad news.

We are being referred to an internal medicine specialist downtown for a more detailed ultrasound and a more experienced eye.

“Dr. Ford?” I asked?

“Yes”, she said.

“She sees our other cat, Loki, we are well acquainted”.

Loki is a bit of a miracle cat. Three years on and he is still with us, his mystery disease is being managed with immunosuppressants that have slowed the attacks by his immune system against his own red blood cells.

I also know in my heart that this is not going to result in an extension for Milo the way it has with Loki. I understand what I saw in that ultrasound today, having a formal education in physiology has upsides and downsides, and while there is a slim chance it could be something else, it’s a very slim hope. The follow-up scan will likely only be confirmatory.

This little cat has brought so much joy into our lives. Part cat, part dog, part monkey. He has always been larger than life.

For now we just keep loving him and making him comfortable.

Our hearts are breaking 😢

118 Photos in 2018 – 30. My Precious