Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Thursday night we had a big scare.  Probably the worst one we’ve ever had with one of our pets.  One of our cats, Milo, found himself what he thought was a clever hiding spot, but got himself banged up pretty good in a random accident.  We are pathologically careful about our pets’ safety, but we did not see this coming.

Rushed him to the vet for an emergency exam.  X-rays and physical exam all looked fine, but his breathing was labored and he was in obvious pain.  We took him home with instruction to keep him under close observation and if his breathing worsened at all, to take him to the 24-hour emergency clinic right away.

milo crate At home, we set him up in a dog crate as a temporary hospital ward, pulled a futon mattress up next to it, and I, along with Lowell and our other cat, River, spent a mostly sleepless night watching Milo’s every breath.  Around midnight, Milo got comfortable enough to sleep, but we kept our vigil.

Milo is the coolest cat ever.  You will never meet a friendlier, more outgoing and affectionate cat, and he is pretty much unflappable.  He greets everyone who walks in the door.  He is ever-present – if you sit down, he is in your lap.  When you crawl in to bed, he jumps up next to you.  As you try to type on the computer, he parades back and forth in front of the screen.  He does not take “no” for an answer.  He has converted non-animal-lovers into Milo fans.  He loves everybody. 

And his purr.  His purr can be heard from across the room.  It has woken me up from a dead sleep on numerous occasions.  And it almost never stops.

At the vet Thursday as we sat waiting for the x-rays to be taken, we could overhear the sounds of distress coming from a neighboring exam room.  Another family pet, another accident, another emergency visit, though this one sounded as though it was having the dreaded, heartbreaking outcome we all fear.  Lowell and I held each other and waited for Milo’s return, hoping and praying that this was not his day, that he was not going to go like this.

Because Milo is so omnipresent, his presence can also be easy to take for granted.  He’s just always there, like a part of your own body.  Suddenly I couldn’t imagine what a hole he would leave in our home and hearts.  I couldn’t bear to think how our second cat, River, would cope.  The two adore each other and are constant companions.  If River loses track of Milo for even a brief lapse of time, he starts a frenzied, howling search through the house until he locates him again.  Milo just had to be OK – what would we do without him?

Friday morning, Milo awoke looking bright-eyed and happy.  He groomed himself, ate his breakfast, and as he started rubbing against the bars of his crate, I heard that sweet motor start up again.  I told Lowell that I had good news – Milo’s purr-er was not broken. 

Happily, Milo appears to have made a full recovery.  One day I know it will be that day that we dread, but I am much relieved that right now, Milo seems to still have eight lives left. 

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