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:
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.
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.
The next several years would feature more of the same.
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.
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.
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.
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.
07/18/20: This day marks what would have been the 6th anniversary of adopting my dear sweet 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.