Four years ago, our vet called and asked if we might be interested in adopting a special needs kitten. We had told them we wanted to adopt two cats but that we would probably wait until we were living in only one house. As it is, we travel back and forth almost every week between our home and our vacation place and if you love cats, you know they don't take kindly to that sort of life. Nonetheless, we said we'd stop by and meet the little guy. When we got there, the cage was empty because the young kids, children of the vets and ancillary personnel had taken him for a little walk ... The vet called out for whoever had the kitten and a little girl appeared and hauled a tiny ball of fluff out of her pocket. Oh gawd. Nobody could resist this little tyke. Purebred Maine Coon but with an injured paw that would eventually necessitate amputation at the shoulder. Okay, so, right off the bat, we're looking at a bill of maybe $1500. Jeeeeeeeez. But, the vet said she'd work with us, discount that bill and cripes, this kitten was unlike any I had ever met. We said yes and that we'd pick him up on our way back by after some shopping. It was thekids who had named him Skip because he didn't limp. He skipped. Driving across the huge lake, we spied a tiny kitten huddled against the concrete wall, did a U-turn, parked and walked out on the bridge to get her. A cop came along, said move it folks but agreed to run interference so we didn't get hit while we attempted the rescue. Just as we got up to her, the kitten made a dive for the drainage hole that led directly into the water below. I nabbed her just in time. She was tiny, her faced badly lacerated and it seemed obvious that some scumbag had tried to throw her over and missed. I've had visions of what I would do if I ever got my hands on that waste of skin but luckily for him, he's no where to be found. We took her back to the vet for a check up and said we'd pick her up later as well. We naeemed her Brodie after Steve Brodie who supposedly lived through his jump off the Brooklyn bridge. Just like that, we owned two cats. They moved right in, put up with the twice weekly drive to and from the lake where they ride in a large carrier with a large dog's behind as their own scenery. Skip turned out to be a most amazing cat. I could write pages but won't. Suffice it to say, I have known many cats but never one like him. Then, election night, I noticed his breathing seemed shallow and ragged and took a closer look. His gums were that awful creamy white of a dead body and called the vet who met us at the clinic at about 10 that night. He put Skip on O2, did radiographs, kept him overnight. The radiographs didn't show anything so he sent him home the next day on a really strong antibiotic. Skip was eating, drinking, peeing, pooping and grooming so I had a little hope. But, he continued to look bad, shallow ragged breathing and his color didn't pink up at all. We decided to take him to a feline cardiologist at the uUniversity vet school. We got there on Sunday, they put him on O2 and wanted to do radiographs and bloodwork. We left him there and drove back to the lake. We were in a grocery store when the vet called to tell us Skip could not be saved and asked to euthanize him. I agreed and asked for a necropsy. The vet said she had done quite a lot of research but had found only six cases like Skip but that there was no real information about the way he presented and that he went downhill so fast. She was glad that we wanted a necropsy and said his case would be presented on grand rounds and that she would like to do an article for the vet medical journals and asked for a photo to go with it. I emailed her several to choose from. I keep telling myself that he was "just" a cat, "only" a cat but no animal deserves to be written off quite so coldly and, Skip really was special.