They call me Milo now but my name used to be Claude Van Damme. Probably due to my good looks and physical prowess. After all I am an orange tabby! My mom had grey hair and glasses and called me Claudie. Every morning I gave her a hug around the neck and she gave me hugs and pets and treats all day long. My dad had a beard and called me Damme-cat and daily attempted to pet me with a rolled up newspaper. It all started when I accidentally broke one of his prized Jim Beam bottles. We lived in Elko, Nevada, a town of 16,000 people, mostly gold miners, truckers and cowboys and the people that serviced them.
All was well for my first two years of life. Then one morning when I gave mom her morning hug she didn’t hug me back, she just lay there. I didn’t know what to do so I hid under the bed. Soon there were lots of people in the house and they took mom away and I never saw her again. The next day I was put in a crate and soon found myself in a cage at the Elko Animal Shelter. There were a number of us there: five or six other cats and a few very noisy dogs. They were very kind to me but I missed my mom and my sofa. Some days later a nice lady showed up, smiled a lot and then put a bunch of us in crates, loaded us into a car a=nd away we went.
When I got out of the car things were a lot different: instead of hot and dry it was cold and damp. The people were very nice to me but I was back in a cage. A lady in a white coat came by, checked me over and gave me a needle. When I woke up I realized that a small part of my anatomy was no longer present. That was the bad news, the good news was that I was no longer in a cage but in a small room with a sofa, carpet, TV and a big window. Now things were looking up! I didn’t know it but I was at the San Francisco SPCA adoption center! That same night a nice young lady came into the room, sat down on the sofa and started petting me. She wasn’t my old mom but she was very pretty and her hugs were just as nice so I turned on the charm and sure enough the next day she took me home and called me Milo. Her name is Stefanie and she became my new mom and she lives with her husband Rich who became my new dad. I returned to my old habits of giving her a hug every morning and she gave me pets and hugs all day. Rich liked me too and there’s not been one rolled up newspaper since I arrived! What a life; I had a bed, a sofa, carpets, toys and great parents. I was in kitty heaven!
For two years life was grand. Then one day last May I couldn’t pee. I tried two or three times in the box, out of the box and on the carpet. Mom saw my distress and whisked me off to Especially Cats Veterinary Hospital. It turned out that my problem was caused by bladder stones. When I woke up I found my tummy shaved and lots of stitches down the middle. Seems that the only way to clean out all the stones was to open up my bladder. We went home but I really felt lousy; no appetite, didn’t want to play and peeing was possible but difficult. One night, a week later I couldn’t pee at all so we were off to the All Animals Emergency Hospital on 9th Ave. They greased up my tummy and did an ultrasound and found a large blood clot in my bladder. Another surgery was not recommended so the plan was to put a urinary catheter up into my bladder so that I could pee and wait for the clot to dissolve. No one explained this to me so I, of course and in spite of the plastic collars, took out the catheters as quickly as they put them in. And then, of course, I couldn’t pee at all. I never did make that connection. After the third catheter mom and the folks at Especially Cats Hospital decided that I needed a major do-over. They call it a perineal urethrostomy; it’s a big surgery that gets rid of all my make plumbing thus allowing the clot and any other stones to easily pass. I had my surgery and I was feeling much better but after four days in the hospital and no mom I was beginning to accept the idea that maybe Especially Cats clinic was my new home. Little did I know that while I was having my problems Stefanie was having her own. First she totaled her car and then had to head off to Baltimore to visit her very ill grandfather.
To further complicate matters the Asiana plane crash at SFO occurred while Stefanie was en-route home and so she was diverted to Denver while I languished at the hospital. Several days later she finally returned to San Francisco, collected me from the hospital and we went home. Life has returned to normal. We trade hugs every morning and all my systems are working just fine. I understand that I am now a very expensive cat and owe my life to the folks at Especially Cats Veterinary Hospital, to my mom, and to San Francisco Aid for Animals for a grant that helped pay for my surgery.