Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Remembering Milo the Rescue Kitten, by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

It's cloudy out there this morning, and I hear thunder rolling. It will be a rainy day.

I'm remembering a stormy day two years ago, when I was in Cebu.  In fact, there was a typhoon that fell hard over the night. Through the rain and wind I heard the small mewling of a kitten.  All night the kitten cried, and in the morning it's cry had gotten weak but it was still crying. I called Vidal who works for me and asked him to investigate.  His report was this: a cat had given birth to three kittens next door, and my cruel neighbor packed the mother cat and its kittens in a box and threw them out across the street, right next to an electric pole.  The mother cat had carried (one at a time) two kittens to safety, but she left the third one that had been crying nonstop through the night and that morning.

I told Vidal to cover up the kitten with boards so it wouldn't get too wet, but not to touch it because if the mother caught the scent of something alien, she might not want to have anything to do with the kitten.  Vidal did as I asked, and we waited for the mother to return.

No mother.

I went to the evening Mass at the Cathedral and when I got back the kitten was still crying, but it was very weak now.  I told Vidal the mother had abandoned it.  He asked if we should take it in.  I told him I would be returning to the States in a couple of days but if he wanted to take care of it, I would buy whatever the kitten needed.  He said he'd take care of it.

So he picked up the wet, bedraggled, and very weak kitten and brought it in to safety.  I googled a kitten formula, and ran off to buy evaporated milk, eye droppers, baby bottles, and yogurt, which helps settle the newborn kitten's stomach.

The kitten's eyes were still closed and it was clearly the runt, with crooked bones, and not particularly attractive.  But it was a kitten and I think nature has provided for all to respond to the distressing cries of the young.

But the truth is that when I left I basically wrote off the kitten: it's chances of survival were nil. To our surprise the little one was a fierce fighter and not only survived but grew handsome and strong and very attached to Vidal.  He had asked me if he ought to tie up the kitten so it wouldn't run away but I thought that would have been cruel and said no.  I told him we'd get him fixed in six months and the cat shouldn't feel the need to be running around then.

This we did -- brought him to an expensive veteranarian to be fixed and to get his shots.  I sent from the US sacks and cans of cat food, and Advantage and Frontline to prevent fleas. He was raised as an American cat!
Initially we thought the kitten was female and named it Milagros, as a  homage to the miracle (milagro) that saved him.  But later it became apparent Milagros was a boy, so he was renamed Milo.

I will truncate the story because it makes me sad.  I learned from the US that one day when Milo was over a year old and was marked to live, that he had disappeared.  Vidal said he went crazy looking for him; at every sound he jumped thinking it was Milo.

I told him that it's possible that because Milo was a good looking cat that someone kidnapped him.  The other possibilities were too gruesome to discuss, although we all thought of them too.

Anyway, this gloomy Wednesday in Makati, as the thunder rumbles, I'm remembering Milo and hope he's out there somewhere, enjoying being someone's pet.

This one's for you, Milo!

tags: cats, kittens, pets, family, Cecilia Brainard

No comments: