April is definitely a special month in my household. Both of my “babies” celebrate birthdays! My sweet black cat, Jinx, turned 5 on April 1. And today, April 15, my youngest kiddo, Milo, turns the Big 1!
I found Milo through Craigslist last year, when I was searching for a companion for Jinx. The young Army couple, who adopted him from the local animal shelter, felt guilty that they couldn’t spend much time with him. I had not set out to get a kitten. I thought an older male cat would be the best match for Jinx. But once Jessica sent me a pic of the lil’ guy, I was in love!
“We’re not sure if he can meow,” the uniformed husband apologized as they handed him to me.
My heart fluttered. Was this kitten mute?
“We’ve only heard him bark like a dog,” he elaborated.
I was intrigued. A cat that barks like a dog? How cool! However, I never did witness such a phenomenon. I don’t know why he never meowed for them. He was always quite vocal with me.
Milo’s original name was “Scat.” I gave him his new name because of the “M” mark on his forehead. Adorable though he was, he was a little tyrant when he first came to live here. He chased poor Jinx away with all the spitfire and chutzpa a skinny, tiny, 5-month-old kitten could muster. He countered my loving, gentle words with hisses and growls. I tried not to let it faze me, continuing to speak to him in a calm, cool voice. For starters, I kept him isolated in the spare bedroom in my apartment so he wouldn’t get overwhelmed by so many new surroundings.
On the third morning he was here, a transformation took place. When I opened the bedroom door, the tiny kitten came running to me. Astonished and delighted, I scooped him up in my arms. It was like a scene out of a movie. All that was missing was the theme from “Chariots of Fire” playing in the background.
Milo has grown into a big, brawny, happy, healthy cat. He still has his kitten-like playfulness. I used to get annoyed at how “clingy” he was, always underfoot if I were standing and perennially attached to my shoulder if I was sitting down. Now that he is more independent, I find myself missing the constant cat cuddles. As I type this, he is lying, docile as can be, at my feet. From my focal point, he looks like a tiger-striped slipper that’s missing its mate. So cute!
Happy birthday, Milo.