Goodbye Milo (aka Mileeshko, Gato, Gatito, Gatissimo)
You became mine after a co-worker at Bloomingdale’s found you stuck on a roof as a kitten. Always the adventurer, even as a little guy. They knew I was looking for a cat and asked me if I wanted you. You were such a cute little squirly guy, how could I say no?
I brought you back to my studio apartment- too small for a cat with such a big personality but I tried to make it work. You were never happy as an indoor cat for those 3 or 4 years- you let me know with savage attacks and attempted (and sometimes successful) escapes by way of pushing out the screens of our second-story apartment windows. You followed me around constantly, even into the shower where you would stand at the back of the tub, squinting while the water hit your face. You would threaten to knock over lamps when you wanted food and I was asleep, yet somehow you never actually did. You would also wake me up by running full speed over my body, or licking my face. You liked to eat everything. Not remotely picky and I appreciated that.
You became a much more happy and well-adjusted cat after I moved to Highland Park and was able to let you outside. After your first surgery your voice changed- I also loved your throaty vocalizations and gulps and burps. Weirdo. There was a brief time when Olaf the Grey entered the scene, and you weren’t stoked about that but somehow made it work.
You transitioned from living with just me, to living with my husband- from the beautiful beginning to the destructive and heartbreaking end. So many days filled with tears and you were my only comfort.
Friendly at the weirdest moments, and lashing out at even weirder moments, you made me feel like I was in a long-term dysfunctional relationship for 11 years, but I loved you and couldn’t imagine anyone else putting up with you. I made a deal with my ex to get rid of you, but I never could. And you lasted longer than he did.
In more recent history, you disappeared for 6 months and then were found by a stranger who called my number that was etched on your ID tag. I picked you up and that whole time you were lost, you were no more than 1/4 mile away from me. Long after I thought you were dead and gone you were found! That seemed like some kind of miracle. You stayed indoors to recuperate and didn’t seem to mind so much this time around. After you healed up you were back to outdoors, and being my part time gardening companion, and guard cat.
The night before you were attacked you meowed at the door and I let you come inside and sleep beside me on the sofa. Not something I usually do but you seemed to want to be inside, and I just wanted your companionship. You stayed curled up with me for several hours. I will try to remember you like that- sweet and sleepy beside me.
You were a fighter, but unfortunately the coyotes were bigger than you. You gave them a run for their money but they did too much damage to you, old man. I got to see you go and was able to try to comfort you as you drifted away- instead of wondering if you might reappear in my life again 6 months down the road. I have had loss in my life but have never gotten to say goodbye to someone or something dying in front of me, or had to make a decision to let someone go.
Thank you for letting me be your person.