It was September 2020, the lockdown period was so long since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic and we all felt like it was a never-ending case of virus surging, people dying – we asked ourselves, “When is this ending?”.
People spent days working from home; going out only to buy essentials; starting new hobbies, and spending more time with their pets and loved ones. Life was different as if we were animals locked up in cages. We weren’t used to it although it made us realize how we need to slow down. We did everything to keep us sane during the lockdown.
Miro, a few days and weeks old.
Meet Miro, my miracle kitten, now a cat who is the true epitome of the saying, “Cats have nine lives”. His mom, Tres, abandoned him when he was two days old in 2020. He had siblings but they all died and he was the only one left from the brood.
When he was young, he was bitten by red ants because his mom took her litter in our open kitchen cabinet. Good thing we found him and took him so we could take care of him properly since his mom was always moving him to other hiding spots or leaving him crying. We named him Miro short for a miracle, at first Mira when we thought he was a she but our veterinary doctor, Dra. May Rulibeth Legayo-Javier said it was a he! Miro kept me afloat during the pandemic.
I couldn’t stand not trying to make this new little bub live. In my heart, I keep telling myself, “He needs to stay alive. There are so many people dying, I can’t have this kitten die on my hands“. It was hard as if I was raising my child. We had to make sure he was warm and well-fed day in and day out. His cries made my heart break into pieces because sometimes I don’t know what he needs – is it food, is he cold or does he misses his mom?
Raising a little kitten
I remember bringing him with me during meetings at work and whenever I was writing the news. My bosses didn’t know that I had a kitten on my lap. I had to make sure that I was there when he needed milk. That was the trickiest part, training him to feed through a bottle which was so difficult. He didn’t want any at first but after a few days and with a lot of patience, he finally started sucking on the milk bottle!
Even milk for pets at that time was scarce like infant’s milk in the supermarkets! There were days we had to stop by several pet shops just to find one. He was my little buddy through and through as he slept on my lap, loved the aircon in my home office, or when I tried to make him sleep on my bed at night before moving him to his makeshift kitten box.
He grew up to be a little rascal months after, with so many funny antics from joining me while I was working out at home; watching me cook and the best thing was snatching a bag of bread from our grocery haul! He loved bread but not all, Gardenia, was his favorite or any that reminded him probably of milk.
I even bought him his tippy tent from the pet shop, Pet Lovers Centre, even if it was a bit expensive because I loved him like a child. Do you know how pets just love you for who you are? That was how Miro was to me. He slept on my chest or on my neck, his favorite spots, keeping us both warm, on the bed or my hammock. We spent days watching TikTok videos or Instagram stories.
He kept me young and happy during that time when I missed traveling, seeing my loved ones, eating at restaurants, and missing the normalcy of life. He arrived at the right time when work had a huge change and was quite hectic, on my birthday month. We spent Christmas, New Year, and family birthdays with him. You probably say he’s just a cat for me but for me, he was my soul. He knows my pain, my joys, and my problems without needing to tell him everything.
Mori, his new best friend
After a few months, he had a new friend, Mori, who suddenly appeared in our garage one night when our dogs kept barking. She was a tiny bub who was spared from being killed as my dogs don’t like cats! We don’t know where she came from or how she even came through our gates without our dogs catching her. Miro has a new friend, now his girlfriend.
They did everything together from playing to cuddling. He was becoming a toddler then soon a teenager. He doesn’t want his human mommy giving him hugs and kisses all the time. They evaded my workspace; sat on my lap while watching TV, and pestered our older cats, Uno, Dos, Tres, Krispy, Kreme, and Maxi. They all learned to love our two little rascals.
Miro almost lost his life to our dogs
Months passed by, and we thought that was going to be the only time we will have a difficult time raising Miro but we were wrong. Didn’t I tell you cats have nine lives? He was down to eight when he barely survived as a kitten. He accidentally stepped on Clorox when we were cleaning the backyard! We didn’t mean to because we thought all our pets were inside the house or in their cages.
His vet wrapped his paws in a bandage so they can heal properly. Oh boy, he was annoyed! After healing, he was his usual self but after a few months as an adult cat, he learned to fight with the stray cats that sometimes venture into our yard. His face had scratches that won’t heal so we had to bring him again to his doctor, Dra. Javier. While writing this story today, he reminded me of myself as a child, who was so sickly and my mom was always bringing me to my pediatrician. We were both fighters!
The worst thing that happened to Miro was when he went in front of our garage where our dogs, Hunter and Scout, were. It was late at night when we heard them barking and usually when they do it’s either other dogs or humans walking outside. Their barks were different and I heard a cat screaming for help! I ran down to the garage in my pajamas, and found my two dogs, tossing Miro like a rag doll.
I remember my grandfather saying how dogs with black tongues are hunter dogs. He had them back in the days on the farm that’s why he loved his dog, Kelly when he was living with us in the 90s. We have several dogs with black tongues and they do kill cats who crossed their paths. Don’t get me wrong, we make sure all our dogs and cats are separated – cats at the back, dogs in front except for Hershey and Toffee who love our cats because they grew up with them inside the house when they were young.
I felt my heart give way to seeing Miro being played with my big dogs. They don’t kill cats because of their bites but usually because they play with them like rag dolls. I screamed at them to no avail and called my mom for help, it was dangerous to touch your dogs when they are in attack mode. Thankfully after a few minutes, we were able to stop them but Miro was breathing heavily, so scared, and was barely alive.
What we don’t understand is how he got there as our cats don’t venture towards the front of our yard and there are gates to separate them. He was probably looking for prey since he and our other cats loved catching insects at night. Our dogs probably got ahold of him and he couldn’t run back to our house.
We brought Miro to the vet again, he had surgery on his stomach near his legs where he had several bruises. When we brought him home he didn’t want to eat and was only drinking water for a week. He also suddenly had a huge lump on his shoulder probably due to an internal wound. His vet did another surgery and remove the swelling on his body so he won’t get infected. He had a cone on his neck so he wouldn’t lick his wounds but he still did so we had to bring him back so they could clean his wounds. Weeks after we brought him back and his vet told us he wants Miro to be confined again so they can dress and clean his wounds every day. It was hard doing it ourselves at home because despite being sick and all, he was still feisty!
Thankfully after a month or so he finally healed but he was so annoyed with his cone and not being able to do his usual routines. Today, he is back to his original state with his girlfriend Mori, who is always sleeping on my bed with him, sometimes even wrapped in my blanket! He loves playing with Omi, our cat born in 2022 who is now big for his age (only seven months), and learning to love our new kittens, Mia and Mio.
So if cats have nine lives, Miro has six more lives to go! I can’t imagine losing him and hope he stays alive until he’s grouchy and old. If you love pets as we do, take care of them and they’ll bring so much joy to your life. Whether they are strays or have breed, they deserve all the love and care in the world like humans. It doesn’t hurt to be kind to them, especially in times like this when the world is still upside down.