I’m Jim Hicks. I wrote for Floppycats.com about our magnificent seal bicolor Ragdoll Frito Pie, who almost lived to this 16th year and included in his story were a few words about Milo. This is Milo’s story … well, it’s about his life with us so far. It’s a short story; at the time I wrote this he’s only sixteen weeks old!
After Frito passed away I knew I wanted another Ragdoll and soon. Like a lot of things in life, a right turn here, a left turn there and Milo wouldn’t be with us. The TV program ‘Too Cute’ with its rambunctious kittens convinced me that an older kitten or younger cat would be a better option. When I was looking for Texas catteries, I found one in Houston that had a young retired queen. She was beautiful and the pattern I was looking for … a mitted cat. But that didn’t work out because communication broke down between me and the breeder (she didn’t return phone calls and stopped responding to emails). I thought that cat was long gone and I was right for the wrong reason. The breeder finally responded weeks afterward. The young cat passed away. I found another couple of breeders – one within an hour’s drive and the other in North Texas. The local breeder had two older sister kittens (9 months old) and a 1.5 year old male cat. It sounded promising and I wanted to see the cats in person, but again communication broke down – she stopped responding to email. Finally, I contacted the breeder in North Texas. The cattery is Toskharags and it’s located near the town of Aubrey. The breeder is Christine Reed and unlike the other breeders I dealt with she responded to emails and we talked on the phone. Her kittens were less than 10 weeks old and she didn’t have any available older cats. I wanted a cat soon so we were going the kitten route. She promptly sent photos of her available kittens. The one that caught my attention was the kitten who we would later name Milo, but my wife thought he was not attractive, so I picked one of Milo’s brothers. I drove to Aubrey a couple weeks later to see the kittens. Christine met me at the door and showed me in. The kittens were kept in a large room. I had planned on spending an hour or so with Christine and the kittens but that turned into three hours. I spent a lot of time talking to her and photographing the kittens. She told me that Milo was the best socialized kitten of his litter and it showed. There was something appealing about this little guy with the white triangle on the tip on his nose and the white diamond shaped blaze on his forehead. Christine told me another family would be visiting later that day. I had put a deposit on Milo’s brother prior to driving to Aubrey. On the way back home to Austin I called Christine and told her that I switched my deposit to Milo.
Two weeks later and I went back to Aubrey, this time to pick up the little guy. Milo was thirteen weeks old. Christine’s kittens were dealing with pink eye, but he had progressed well enough that she let him go home with me. She gave me the rest of his pink eye medications and a blue baby blanket to put in the carrier. He burrowed under the blanket. Poor thing probably had never been in a car before and we had a long 4 hour drive home. About halfway home he peeked to see the outside world – a good sign.
It took him a couple of days to get used to his new home. He’d never seen stairs before, but he quickly figured them out. He hops up and down them like a bunny rabbit – it makes me smile thinking about it.
I had converted our guest bathroom to his temporary ‘safe’ room, complete with cat tree, litter box, toys and food & water. He’s a small guy. It would be another couple of weeks before we would even attempt to let him sleep on our bed overnight.
We’ve had a couple of unexpected hiccups with Milo. I’ve taken him to the emergency vet clinic a couple of times. First, was his soft stool that included a bit of bloody mucus. I read online that it could be due to stress brought on by changes in diet and life. Well, Milo had both. But it also could have been caused by a parasite and that’s why we went to the emergency vet. The 2nd emergency vet visit was brought on by a large nasty looking scab on his left rear foot. I missed it when I picked him up and his regular vet missed it when she examined him. I figured it had to be looked at by a vet and so back we went. Long story short, after meds and time Milo is 100% healthy. No pink eye, the toe scab is gone and he’s pooping just fine. And he’s growing like a weed, just as I had hoped.
But Milo has had a couple of non-physical issues crop up and I’m currently dealing with them. Whenever he thinks no one is around he hides under the bed. The other issue is he suckles himself. I’m having some success treating this by using Bitter Apple on the areas he licks. I’m hoping these are merely phases and that he will outgrow them. My wife and I will love him no matter what.
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He’s extremely playful and has tons of energy. The toys he loves to play with are the Da Bird and something I came up with on a lark – wadded up paper towels into a shape of a ball about the size of a golf ball secured by painters’ tape. Cheap and effective – I can’t ask for more. He also has a bit of daredevil in him. But as he’s living, he’s learning. If there is a safer way to do something, he eventually figures it out.
I have to keep my eye on him or at least have him in mind. He darts between our feet. He’s a tripping hazard. I’m not concerned about me; I’m concerned about him. I have to do a double take before I close a door because I could accidentally close the door on him. The thought of that happening makes me cringe! For his safety and my sanity I want him to grow up fast. And he will.
He’s a lap cat – something Frito almost never was. Milo likes to be around me a lot. I hope that is not a sign of dependence. I love that he wants to be around me but on the other hand I don’t want him to be too dependent on me that it causes stress when we’re not home.
It’s been 15 + years since we’ve had a kitten and it’s been an adjustment. Due to our age, Milo will likely be the last kitten we have. I want him to make it to at least 18 years. By then I’ll be in my mid-70s. With the time we have together all I want for him is a great life.
I have a long memory of raising two kittens into adulthood and a long life. I know full well the pluses and minuses of raising a kitten. Putting the minor negatives aside, it’s a joy to have him with us at this young age so we can see firsthand his transformation from kitten to cat, especially since he’s a Ragdoll – his physical appearance will change dramatically. He’s our boy and a very special one at that.
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