01/2009 Pet of the Month: Millie

millie-in-blanketThis bio comes from Millie’s owner, Mark:

Mildred (Millie) appeared at my house in upstate New York about 17 years ago as a young teen cat. Apparently my other two rescued cats had tipped her off that I was a soft touch. She jumped right up into my lap and started purring when I went outside to check on the new visitor. Even today, she is shameless as she continues to offer this friendly welcome to all who come within her reach. So the feline population at my house soon expanded to three. From the outset, Millie was deferential to Minnie, my oldest cat, and to OK, the second in command, but she made it evident that she was only biding her time until she could take over.

After Minnie and OK had lived out their lives, she did just that. But before committing to a strong bond with me, she tested my allegiance by cashing in on several of her nine lives. Early on she developed a loud, hacking cough that turned out to be chronic feline asthma requiring several vaporizer treatments and a lifelong maintenance dosage of prednisone. Soon after that she came running at full speed back to the house when I called her and tripped as she hit the porch step, fracturing her jaw in two places and breaking a tooth. During that trauma, she suffered cardiac arrest under anesthesia while having wires removed from her jaw. She was revived, but she had to take medication for heart arrhythmia for a while thereafter. Then, a few years later, she arrived at the door yowling and almost blinded, smelling exactly like the skunk she had gotten too nosey with. After many washings and a lot more yowling for having to endure such indignities, she was finally rid of the smell and her eyesight was not damaged.

Although she had never been in the car for more than a 20-minute ride to the vet, she behaved like a seasoned traveler when I drove us from upstate NY in a move to Austin. She rode for four days atop luggage and boxes watching the scenery out the rear window of the car and dutifully going to sleep quickly and quietly in motels along the way. She has adjusted well to Austin although old age is beginning to catch up with her. Kidney failure is slowing her down, but she sits patiently for her twice-daily subcutaneous IV intake of fluids to boost her kidney functions. She has become more dependent on me to anticipate her needs; however, she is keeping up her side of the bargain by eating well and staying close so that I can keep a close eye on her.

She is not as playful, energetic, or stubbornly independent as she was in her prime, but she has made up for that by becoming more affectionate and obedient. We have been sharing lots of quality time together these days, frequently going outside in the warm afternoons so that she can enjoy the warmth and the smells of her old territory. (She is sitting in my lap now as I write this and purring, which I take as sign that she likes what she is reading.) When I am lying down and she crawls up on my chest to rest her head on my cheek, I know how much I want to keep her around so long as she is comfortable and not in pain. So far, with the help of Emily, who is her caretaker at home when I have to be away, we are maintaining a comfortable life style for her. Millie has been my pal for a great many years, and I cannot imagine what my day will be like without her nearby. Hopefully, I will have a while yet to share her company before that time comes.

millie-at-birdbath

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About Emily Strong

behavior consultant. veterinary technician. crazy parrot lady. lifelong animal lover. cellist. yogi. hula hooper. horse rider. swimmer. singer. reader. writer. dreamer. music lover. amateur gardener. nutrition enthusiast. eternal student. language lover. aspiring polyglot. tattoo canvas. water drinker. overthinker. bountiful laugher. overenthusiast. attention deficit meditator.
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