Welcome to Magnus's Rainbow Bridge Memorial Residency
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Memories of Magnus
I first saw Magnus in June of 2014.
In April I lost my tiny kitty Topaz from a sudden lung issue. It was jarring and heartbreaking.

After a few months, I was ready to find a new companion. In May of 2014 I visited Heartland Animal Shelter in Northbrook, IL, as they claimed to have "big cats". I like larger domestic breeds. This visit was the first time I saw my boy. They said he was found outside in January of that year (it's COLD outside in January in Chicago area!). Seven months seemed like a long time at a shelter. Even though his cage was open, he was sitting inside, and did not seem to be very comfortable. He was definitely a big boy, and I think that might have been a reason why he was not yet adopted. I was still in evaluation mode, still unsure about taking in another kitty "so soon", so after some time looking at all of the other cats I left.

I made a return visit in July of 2014, and this time I made a more deliberate effort to visit and interact with him. For whatever reason, he looked in better spirits. It turned out that he has some minor allergies to the environment at the shelter, and had been at a foster home for a few weeks to help make him better. I coaxed him out of his cage, sat on the ground cross legged, and put him on me. He stayed. And eventually, started purring. and THEN, he did The Move. He nestled in and laid up against me. That was it, was the move that got him adopted. I knew I had to take him home.

The first day I brought him home, I'll always remember that the very first thing he did when he waled out of the cat carrier was scratch the area rug with his front paws several times. After that, he spent a few hours under the futon, but then during the evening, he came up on the futon with me, at the other end. I was so surprised and very pleased. But then that night eh surprised me even more by coming up on the bed with me! The second day, while I was laying on the futon, was the very first time came up and sat on me on his own with no coaxing needed. I was so shocked that he was so outwardly seeking affection after barely being with me for a full day. I was afraid to pet him because I didn't want him to run away. But I couldn't resist the temptation, and after several minutes, I gave him some petting on his head. He not only stayed, but really seemed to love it. And from that point on, we were best buddies.

After a barely a week of owning him, I was set to go RV camping with my parents. This was planned before I got him, and I didn't want to leave him, so I brought him with. He was totally calm and relaxed the entire car ride into Indiana, about a 2 1/2 hour drive. I had him in a cat carrier but with the door open, and he stayed inside, totally chill and relaxed. He made himself at home inside the RV as well, and acclimated better than even some dogs do. He was calm and even tempted the entire camping trip, from hanging out inside the RV, to the car ride home.

Over the next several weeks, we developed out routine:
I'd come home from work, and I could hear him at the door, meowing and waiting right on the other side. He would be right at the door as I opened it, ready to greet me. He did this virtually every single time I came in, whether it be from work, an errand, or coming back from my parent's or other visit somewhere. At night, while I lounged on my futon, he would come up on me for cuddle time. It would start with him jumping up on my chest as I laid down on my back. He would sit facing me at first. Sometimes he would rub his face on my chin over and over. Eventually he would shift to what I call his "Side Sphinx" position. This was where he turned his upper half facing outwards while still laying on me. Then, after some time, he would do "The Move", where he would lay completely on his side on my chest. He would stay like this for sometimes as long as half an hour. All the while, purring away or falling asleep. I would pet him in his mane on the front of his chest, and could even touch and "pet" his big paws. He never repulsed at my touch. Ever.

If he wasn't on me, he would be near me. Wherever I was in my condo, he'd be in the same room as me. If I got up and went into the kitchen, he'd follow me, even though I was just in there for a little bit and was coming back. My computer desk was a favorite place of his, as I am there often. He'd jump up on it, and after a while, he'd lay down full body and relax and sleep right there in front of me. If not there, I had a big pillow for him underneath my dining room table that was a very frequent spot. In any of these places, he would lay how I called "Fancy sitting", where he would cross his front paws over each other as he laid in his "Side Sphinx" position.
In order to get my attention, he had very specific places and things he would paw and scratch at. This was mostly to get fed. Also, occasionally he would go after electrical cords. If he was in one of those moods, he would grab at and if I didn't stop him even maybe start chewing on them. I had to hide/protect many cords to prevent that from happening.

I am fortunate to live near my parent's and occasionally I go and visit them and stay over for long weekends or holidays. With as attached to me as he had become, I didn't want to leave him home alone for more than about a day. So I would bring him with me. My parents had another cat, and the two of them got along almost instantly. They got along better than any other cat parings we have owned, and they didn't even live together. He was at home there equally as he was at my place. He had his places he liked to sit, including on the top of the short couch, and looking out the front or back door, which is not something he had the opportunity to do at my place since I live on the 2nd floor. He also liked to lay on my parents shoes and slippers while we were watching TV, whether feet were in them or not. Funny, is that to get our attention to feed him, he would have particular places to paw and scratch at, just like at my place. You had to give him a little something to make him stop. At night he would would be right by my side while I would fool around on my dad's PC, and at night would be in bed with me just like at home.
I took advantage of this situation and would leave him here when I would take vacations, either solo or with my parents. They didn't mind at all, as they are pet people, and they grew to love him quickly. I think they may have even looked forward to his visits.

The next several years would feature more of the same.
Our "enter the condo" ritual.
Bonding & cuddle sessions on my futon.
Laying on my desk while I played PC games or was just messing around on my PC.
In bed with me at night.
Visits to my parent's place, either while I was there or to leave him there while I was away for a few days.

But then everything changed in 2020. Some time in March, he tried to jump up on my computer desk but missed by not jumping high enough, and fell. He never to jump up there again. As a substitute, he choose to lay on the ground underneath the desk by my feet, to till be right there by me. I also noticed that more nights than before, he would be missing in bed with me. My boy was never a jumping cat, and the desk and my bed were the highest distances he would jump, but it gave me mild concern that he was not able or willing to jump up there.
Then on May 14th, late in the afternoon I noticed that he was struggled to walk. He was dragging one of his back legs, limping noticeably, and was open mouth breathing a bit. I immediately rushed him to an ER Vet. By the time I got him there, most of those symptoms had gone away. They tested his back legs for blood sugar levels, reflexes, and circulation, and everything came back fine. Very frustrating, because due to COVID I was not able to be in there while they looked him over. Everything was said over the phone. After a check up, they didn't see anything serious with him. They thought it was maybe nerve damage. Also, they were concerned with his walking gait. He always walked kind of bow-legged in his back legs, so I commented it wasn't anything startling. But I got some nerve medicine, and he came home. I was so revealed that it was not the dreaded Thrombosis, and that he appeared to be healthy. I was still nervous though.

A follow up visit to my normal vet showed an enlarged heart. We said we would monitor it, and I should bring him back in a few months.
Weight had always been an issue with my boy. In 2016, I had his teeth cleaned, and a few had to be removed. Ever since then, he became an eating machine. It made me wonder if it hurt him to eat before. For most of his life, he was around 18-19 pounds, and in early 2019 he just barely topped 20 pounds. His ideal weight would probably have been around 16 or 17. We tried to manage his food intake, feeding him less and less, and did start to make progress. I almost got him a pound down before all of these troubles began.

The next several weeks there was a slight change in his behavior. He was his normal self most of the time, but other times he seemed anxious, tentative, nervous. I had put a "stepping stool" of a chair by my desks so he could jump back up there. I found a Rubbermaid crate as a stepping stool for my bed. He used both. He also started laying in not common places. Almost all of them were places where the floor was cold or cool. This included the bathroom, which is odd because it's not near me like he preferred to be. I think he was trying to regulate his body temperature and cool it down. One thing my vet said was to see his breathing. She said it should have been something like 30-34 per minute. He was around 48. So even while calm, much higher than normal. It's a it frustrating, because I don't remember what his breathing rate was before. I think it was fast like that before as well. We still had our cuddle time, but they didn't last for nearly as long as they usually did, maybe about 5 minutes or so. He also would not be in bed with me several nights as well.

Then came June 13th, which has become one of the worst days of my life.
I had run some morning errands, and when I came home, he had just thrown up (which he normally didn't do), and was laying in a strange way. he was hyper ventilating, and in very clear physical discomfort. He tried to get up and walk, but instead he was just pushing himself and his back legs were not moving. He was occasionally yowling as well. I instantly took him back to the Vet ER. Again, very frustrating, because due to COVID I was not able to be in there while they looked him over. Everything was said over the phone. But the worst was confirmed = he just had a major Thrombosis event. Blood clots had cut off circulation to both of his hind legs. And just like that, within the span of a few hours, he went from being ok to terminal. Turns out that the event of a month ago was very likely a more mild Thrombosis event, and it got dislodged on its own relatively quickly. But it probably left some lingering damage, which led to his modified behavior the next several weeks, and that the enlarged heart was probably from years of growing heart disease. He was in a lot of pain, and there was no other choice.

When I adopted him, the shelter thought he was about 3 years old. It is possible he was older, maybe even as old as 5 or 6. It's hard to know for sure, and would perhaps help explain the severity of the heart disease.

So on 06/13/20 at 2:30 PM, I had to say goodbye to my deer sweet boy Magnus. It's crippling, devastating, and heartbreaking. I am completely destroyed. I lost my best friend, my cuddle buddy, and my comfort outlet for daily stress (which can be high with my job due to long hours), and companion. I will never forget you Magnus. You will always have a place in my heart, which is the place that is aching with a numbness I don't know if I have ever felt before.

06/20/20: Well, it's been little bit over a week since my boy left me.
This week has been extremely hard all around. The sharp raw anguish has mostly subsided and not nearly as constant like it was those first few days, but now it's this dull numbness inside and anxiety I can't shake, especially when I have dangerous time to myself and at night.
I'm trying. Here's to you Mr. Magnus...

07/18/20: This day marks what would have been the 6th anniversary of adopting my dear sweet boy.
I still can't believe he's gone, but it's slowly is getting more manageable. I get hit with waves of straight up despair at certain times of the day, especially when I'm alone (which let's face it, is almost all the time) during what should be the more quiet times of the day. Hopefully those become less and less frequent. But when those don't happen, I still have this emptiness and numbness that doesn't go away. Maybe once things start to settle after all of the change I've had these past several weeks (I don't deal with change well at all, good or bad). Can only get better right? I still crushingly miss my boy...

06/13/21: It has now been a full year since I lost my boy. Time has indeed made the raw emotions fade, but every now and then I find myself missing him, and there's still an empty place both literally and metaphorically. In some ways I was fortunate enough to had a job change distract me during the late summer early fall, but I still have moments when I think about my boy.
I still do not have a new cat. I didn't even think about getting another for several months. Now that I think I'm ready, any time I begin the search process, it reawakens emotions and makes it fresh again. It's been pretty challenging, as the few I've had interest in quickly become unavailable. I know it's not about finding a "replacement", but I feel like I had the best cat ever, and I won't be able to find another that compares. My Magnus will always have a place in my heart, and hopefully I can find room for another soon.

12/18/21: Well, it finally happened. I have adopted not just one, but TWO new kitties. Their names are Nordstrom (a Maine Coon Mix about a year old) and Norway (a grey tabby about 8 months old). I had initially shown interest in Nordstrom, but found out these two boys were (and are) a bonded pair. I couldn't bear to separate them, so I decided to take them both into my home. They lay on top of each other and are very close emotinally. I just brought them home (well, to my parent's place at least) today, so they are still acclimating, but together next to each other and seem mostly relaxed. It is possible that Magnus could have used a companion buddy to help with his separation anxiety while I was at work. He seemed to enjoy being at my parent's place with their cat Giselle (and more space than my place) sometimes.
This is perhaps the final stages of the healing process for my dear Magnus. I will never forget him, he will always have a special place in my heart, and always cause me to feel the full spectrum of emotions (joy from his time with me, and sadness he is no longer with me). I'd like to think he would approve, and want me to move on with these two new boys. I will do the best I can to provide for them, and they will provide a constant reminder of my previous cats (Topaz included) as we continue our days together.
You are not replaced. Only now do I feel ready to open up my life to another pair of kitties, and how long it's taken only proves your impact on me. So here's to you, Magnus. This just means we'll have more buddies when we all get together again.

06/13/22: Year two. Still miss my big boy Magnus terribly, but with the two new boys in my life have helped ease the pain of your loss. They have been renamed Dickens (Norstrom) and Fezziwig (Norway), Christmas Carol themed since I got them around Christmastime. Every now and then they do similar things that Magnus did, but are definitely their own kitties. They do like to sit by or near me, can be affectionate at times. In fact, Fezziwig is on the desk as I type this, laying there grooming himself all relaxed. But are very energetic and bouncy. They still have that 'kitten energy' a bit, so definitely cause trouble and mischief.
We had a massive super-cell thunderstorm sweep through this late afternoon. Wonder if the weather is mimicking my mood on this dark day. I will always remember, but I hope in time I can use it to reflect on the things I have and take appreciation for them.

06/13/22: Year three. It doesn't sting quite as much these dyas, time has softened the pain some, but one the milestone day it's hard to not think about him. It still gets me. The two "new" boys Dickens and Fezziwig have acclimated nicely, and spend a lot more time with me and near me. They've gotten more affectionate even in just the past few months, and want to be near me and even lay on or near me. Their destructiveness has toned down a little bit (but not totally gone). Life moves on, and making sure that I appreciate these new boys along with life's other adventures.
Interesting. Similar to last year on this date, the weather outside is not great. Cool for June, and rain passed thru, which we haven't had in weeks. However, not a thunderstorm, so much more muted. Maybe similar to how the pain of my loss has softened a bit with time as well.
I'll always remember you Magnus. Only now it's not only with sadness of our parting, and starting be warm memories. Till we meet again...

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