Christine’s prompt this week is shown above. I’m not sure if it’ a dog, a cat, or some other animal, but he reminds me of our dear departed Milton.
Mary got in her mind once that she wanted a purebred cat, and started researching the different breeds. We immediately ruled out Persians, because they’re practically impossible to keep brushed to the level they need to be, and we could just picture one all matted up and miserable. So she looked at cats that have very little hair, and the Devon Rex popped up. They have very short and curly hair, and are practically hypoallergenic because they don’t have the guard hair that most people are allergic to. The breed was described as having the personality of a dog, a monkey, and a three-year-old child, and that sealed the deal.
There was a breeder in the Atlanta area, so we scheduled an appointment and went over and saw what she had. One in particular gave us a lot of attention, and the breeder told us she had been returned by a woman who couldn’t understand why you shouldn’t let a cat walk on a damp floor that had been washed with Pine-Sol, and that the woman had taken the cat to the emergency clinic several times to be treated for phenol poisoning. We got a weird vibe from the breeder (more so from her husband) and decided to take the cat, whose name was Connie (short for "Coconut Curl").
Connie was with us for a few months, and seemed to be especially fond of me. She would come and lie by me in bed. She was like a little furnace, but after a couple of months I noticed that she was no longer very warm. She seemed to be fading, and we took her to the vet, who did what she could to rehabilitate Connie, but she called one morning and told us that Connie had passed away in the night.
I contacted the breeder with the sad news (mostly because we had paid a lot of money), and she thanked us profusely for having taken her and said that we were moved to the top of the list for a kitten when someone had a litter. Within a month, we had a kitten, which we named Milton, after the economist Milton Friedman.
Milton was a very sweet boy, and as advertised was like a puppy who would come when Mary called. He had this habit of jumping on the back of whoever was scooping the litter box, which earned him the nickname "Doot." He spent most of his time snuggled up to Mary, at least until we brought another kitten named Max into the clowder. Milton and Max were fast friends and soon spent most of their time snuggled together in this storage crate we had.
Devon Rexes, because of their fur, are not especially susceptible to hairballs, so it was quite a surprise when he coughed up a huge hairball one day. It turns out that he had been grooming Max.
We had Milton for a good 12 years before he developed some sort of problem that made his face swell up. The vet couldn’t do anything, so we had to say goodbye and send him on his way to the Rainbow Bridge.
We were, of course, heartbroken, but we weren’t about to replace him. Not because of the expense, but because he was irreplaceable.