|Laurel & Millie visiting in bed - something they never did!|
Brent is allergic to cats but while Millie was with us, he saw what a lovely addition she was to our family and told me that he would get allergy shots so that I could get my own kitten.
Millie was a huge hit in NYC - without her help, we believe Kristen wouldn't have been able to stay there and she made friends with everyone who came to visit her. In fact, she paid particular attention to people who weren't fond of cats, winning any number of them over.
Kristen (and Millie) moved into a different apartment the day she graduated from AMDA (American Musical and Dramatics Academy) with two roommates. Brent, Devin and I were there with our cat, Maggie, for graduation and to help them move. While we were watching their Showcase Performance the evening of graduation, the usher came to tell us that their new apartment building was on fire. Of course, our first concern was the two cats and thankfully, someone had gotten Maggie and Millie out of the building. As it turned out, their building was not on fire but rather one right behind them - it was a huge 12-alarm arson fire and of course, we weren't allowed back in the building until early the next morning. We spent the night in a Barnes and Nobel and McDonalds.
Kristen got a job acting in a children's theater tour right after school. She was gone for four months and her room mate took care of Millie. Unfortunately, her room mate wasn't into cleaning so she didn't change the litter box and used roach spray all over everything: fresh fruit and clean dishes on the counter as well as Millie's water and food bowl. When Kristen was finished with the tour, she discovered that Millie was having neurological problems - the vet confirmed that she was being poisoned (in fact, everyone was - just Millie was the smallest). Although we took the roach spray away from her roommate, it was apparent that we couldn't trust her to take care of Millie when Kristen was gone, so when she got a job and had to leave, we made arrangements to pick Millie up and fly home with her. After Millie made several trips back and forth, Kristen got a job about two weeks after taking her back and when the job lasted almost a year, we suggested that Millie stay permanently with us. She has been here ever since.
I never expected Millie to grow old - she always seemed delicate and I didn't think the poison had helped. She vomited with hair balls and we had to be careful about leaving clothes on our tub. Because the litter box had gotten so dirty when Kristen was on tour, Millie had started urinating outside it; something that is very difficult to correct. Thankfully, she usually used the shower as the alternative and we could just rinse it out. Around the Holidays last year, we realized that Millie was losing weight quite rapidly and was vomiting even more than usual. We were used to her vomiting with the hair balls so at first, we didn't find it too alarming. We also knew that going to see the vet was going to be traumatic and tried to weigh the benefits versus that trauma. By the beginning of February, we realized that Millie wasn't going to get better on her own and that we couldn't feed her enough for her to gain weight. We also had an idea that something bad was wrong with her. That was confirmed with the diagnosis of lymphoma. We had decided that we weren't going to do anything heroic to keep her alive. We tried steroids and feeding her a grain-free wet food. At first, it seemed to work nicely. She ate everything we would feed her and was keeping it down. But after about two weeks, she started vomiting again and that became a vicious cycle. Since we put the steroids in her food, she wasn't getting them and vomited more. Over the weekend, we made the decision to let her go and enlisted our friend and veterinarian, Kate, to help her pass peacefully and with dignity. It was as good an experience as a death can be and we are very grateful to Kate and her staff at Mentor Veterinary Clinic for that. We spent time thanking Millie for all she has done for us and passing along messages from many of the people who loved her. If we had any doubts it was the right thing to do, seeing how accepting and peaceful she was in the end have stopped them. Our home is a lonelier, quieter place without her but we are certainly better for having had her in our lives.
|Laurel & Millie visiting in bed|
|Millie snuggled in bed|
|Thoroughly Modern Millie, an extraordinary cat|