My earliest cat memory goes back to primary school. During a sleepover, we found a cat with her litter in my friend’s garden. We stole two kittens and kept them overnight. I chose a black kitten and named him Daffy. My friend suggested that I hide him in my backpack and bring him home with me, but my conscious wouldn’t allow it. We returned them to their mother the next day. Feeling disappointed, I confessed everything to my mother. Surprisingly, she never judged me. She shared compassion because she too loved cats. Later on, a few cats marked my life: Mamie Choupette the wild cat from my aunt, Panther and Charlie.
I have always been a “cat person” and always dreamed of a pet, but my lack of stability refrained me from it. Came spring 2014 and I met B. We discussed life goals and a pet was in the picture... except that B is allergic to cats! We settled on a labrador and I buried my dream of becoming a cat-mom. We haven’t welcomed a dog yet because of our lifestyle (two full-time corporate jobs) but we agreed that our future lab would be either brown or black. Meanwhile, I built on the side a list of potential pet names.
Charlie changed everything. Last summer, her owners went traveling for a month and couldn’t find a cat sitter so we volunteered for the job. Surprisingly, B had no allergic reaction to her. When Charlie returned to her home, she left a void in our lives. I would often complain about how I missed her presence. B also felt the same and eventually suggested last October that we get our own cat. I couldn’t believe it, it was very unexpected… a miracle!
In November 2018, a colleague advised me to browse on animal shelter websites. I would spend some time online every evening hunting for “the” cat. We agreed on adopting an adult cat. In my mind, our cat would be black just like Panther or orange with stripes like Charlie. Animals come in and out of shelters rapidly, you can’t reserve them therefore you have to meet them face-to-face and decide on the spot. Eventually, we visited an animal shelter. We met Wessel an 8 y.o. gluttonous black cat with a diet issue, and we were interested in adopting him. We reached out to Naomi, an employee from the shelter, to learn more about him. After a short interview, she instead introduced us to two brother and sister kittens fresh out of quarantine: Joy and Semmy. One was cuddly and black, the other one resembled a tiger and was very playful. I fell in love and was ready to take them home immediately. B was worried and wanted to think about it overnight… two baby cats was a lot to deal with, more work than anticipated. They were gone within the hour, we lost our chance and I was really disappointed.
On the first day of December, we returned to the shelter. This time prepared and early, before the doors open. We also brought along with us our friend Jules, who adopted Charlie from the same shelter. While waiting outside, we saw a cat with the most beautiful sea-green eyes and with no tail. He was approaching us, but I was determined to consider all options. Wessel was still around, he hadn’t found an owner yet. Eventually we met Kevin, the “greeting” cat. B and Jules liked him immediately, he was extremely friendly. B told us with confidence “I like this one, I want him”. His instinct was strong and clear, whilst mine wasn’t. I was hesitant; there was a cat in that same room a week earlier who wasn’t very warm. Was it the same cat? Was he bipolar? We asked a lot of questions and the employee confirmed to us that it was a different cat. They didn’t know much about Kevin’s history, he was approximately 4 years old and didn’t do well with other cats and kids below 16 years old. I was divided but agreed nervously to take him because other visitors were already in line to meet him. It was now or never.
Kevin was a pleasant cat. He went into his cat box without a fight and he was calm during the entire car ride. Once we arrived home, he hid all afternoon under the couch. B and I went out for a movie to give him some space and when we returned home, he was exploring his news space and greeting us. We introduced him to his litter and food. He shortly felt at home. The next day, he was cuddling with us.
We renamed him Milo. Milo has the loveliest personality. He is extremely affectionate, never attacks us or scratches our furniture. When he wants to express himself, he “talks” to us or scratches his pole. He never holds any grudge against us. Without his tail, we can’t interpret his behavior but we’ve come to understand his three different meows: I am hungry, I want to play, I want to cuddle with you. His only weakness is food! He frequently begs for food, as if he hadn’t eaten in weeks – probable trauma from his past. When we cook or eat dinner, he is often around meowing for a bite. Because of his short tail, he doesn’t have the same balancing skills as other cats and is sometimes clumsy. Although we want to let him enjoy the outdoors, we were advised to keep him inside.
Every day, I look forward to come home and pet him. I wonder how I could ever hesitate about adopting him. Taking care of a pet feels like “parenting” yet it is an opportunity to share more love. We read about cats, care and worry about him. I once panicked when he ran outside the front door, afraid that he would never come back. We are constantly concerned about his health. He occasionally coughs strangely and the veterinarian hasn’t identity the cause behind this yet, we are still running some checks. We also recently discovered that he has some crystals and he is bound to diet-food for life.
Milo is truly the best Christmas gifts we have received. We are so grateful to have him in our lives and to be his cat-parents. He brings us so much joy, we can’t imagine not having him in our lives!
Ps: you can find a few video snaps in this Instagram story