IMOM is my tribute to a magnificent animal, My Magic Cat. It is his legacy.
This is the story of how our lives together started, and ended. Although Magic went to Rainbow Bridge and is no longer physically with me, we are still and always will be together. We are soul mates.
Magic was born in an abandoned barn in Pennsylvania during the fall of 1979. I'm totally convinced he was born to be my cat and I was born to be his person.
I had wanted a black kitten for a long time, although I had never had a cat. Always a "dog person", it had been a few years since I'd had a schedule that allowed me to have any kind of pet. That is a miserable existence for an animal lover like me!
It was in the evening around 7 PM when the phone rang. I had just gotten in from work, early for a change, gotten into my jeans and was ready to just completely relax. I thought about not even answering the phone when it rang. No caller ID in those days!
When I picked it up it was my best friend, Anne. All I heard was "Jacki, you have to come over right now." Needless to say I was a bit panic stricken thinking something was wrong. She told me not to worry that everyone was fine. There was something I just had to see!
"Trust me" she said, "you'll be glad you did". Well, this was my best friend so I had to trust her and go. Who could ever know what she has up her sleeve. By the sound of her voice it was something really special and exciting.
As soon as I pulled in the driveway Anne's teenaged daughter, Stacey, came running out of the house. "Hurry up Jacki, we can't wait for you to see this". What could possibly be so wonderful that Stacey would be carrying on so?
I walked in to Anne's kitchen and saw she was crying. They were tears of joy. "Don't even sit down" she said, "just go right upstairs to Bobby's room". Bobby was her younger son. Ok, up the stairs I go and then I hear "Jacki, tip toe! You'll wake him up". I got to Bobby's door and expected to see him sleeping or something but instead, what I saw was a little black kitten. He was for me !!! That was why Anne was crying those tears of joy.
Wow, a black kitten!! Don't get me wrong, I love all animals, but there is something about a little black kitty. He was sleeping curled up next to Bobby. I picked him up. He meowed, licked my neck and laid his little head on my shoulder - purring.
When I got ready to take him home Anne warned me that he was going to scream all the way home. He had done that when she got him from the barn and put him in her car. So I had myself all prepared to listen to a screaming kitty for the hour it was going to take me to get home. Guess what, he never made a sound!
I took him into my apartment and sat the carrier down on the floor and opened the door. He just sat there looking at me. I didn't want to force him to come out so I left the door opened and went to the kitchen to put some water and food down for him. When I turned around to walk out of the kitchen he was standing there looking at me. I showed him where his food and water were and then started toward the spare bathroom to get his litter box ready for him. He followed along behind me and watched everything I was doing. As soon as his box was ready he jumped right in. Then for the rest of the evening he followed me around.....meowing softly. I went into the bathroom to take a shower and he came in with me and sat on the edge of the tub. When I got out he sat on the toilet seat while I dried off and then followed me to the bedroom.
At bedtime I put him up on the bed, but he stayed only for a minute. After reading for a while I turned out the light and was going to sleep. He jumped up onto the foot of the bed and began walking up toward the head and rubbing against my body, purring. As he reached my pillow he rested himself, just above my head. He put his little paws in my hair and he stayed there, just like that all night. I went to sleep with the sound of him purring softly. That became his ritual...every night for, almost, the rest of his life. It was magical!
The next morning I was sitting at the table having coffee and he was laying across my leg, sleeping peacefully when the phone rang. It was Anne, and she couldn't wait to see how we were doing. I told her about our first night together, amidst her squeals of joy. I just couldn't thank her enough for finding this kitten for me. (Meanwhile he wasn't real happy about being disturbed) I told her I didn't know what I wanted to name him and I was going to have to come up with something. I had just been calling him "Himself". The conversation continued and I said to her, "Anne, this kitten has brought magic into my life". Bingo........The little black kitten was now officially named "Magic".
Magic was a pleasure to be around. He knew my moods and always responded in just the right way. And he also made certain that I showed him the same respect, which I did. We became inseparable. Soon after I got Magic I started my own business and was working from home most of the time, so we were always together, just the two of us. Our bond was quick and strong.
I had let all my friends know about my new room mate and they all came to see him. I watched as he won them all over. He loved to play with bottle tops and would insist they play with him. Magic would bring a bottle top and drop it by your foot. If you didn't pick it up and throw it, he would jump up and drop it on your lap. He wouldn't be ignored when he wanted to play "bottle top".
Magic grew and developed into a magnificent cat. He walked with a strut that would remind you of the beautiful black leopards you see in the zoo. His home was his kingdom and he was picky about who visited. If someone came to visit that he didn't particularly like he would go sleep in the closet until they left. However if it was someone he liked they would lay their coat over the back of the sofa and he would sleep on it.
There are so many stories I could tell you about the life Magic and I shared for 19 years, but it would take forever. Whatever happened, Magic and I were together. And believe me, those were some fairly turbulent years! He was my companion and my best friend.
As the years passed our family began to grow. Magic and I got a little kitten from the shelter because I heard they were going to put her to sleep. That was Tiki. Then I found a human companion, that was Pete. Pete and I got Rascal, a Pom and Missi, another Pom, and then came Spirit - a third Pom. As one by one they joined us, Magic stayed the same. His home was still his kingdom and it didn't matter to him how many others came. He remained very laid back, calm and respected. Always at the top of the pecking order.
In 1995 at the age of 16, Magic was diagnosed with Diabetes. He had insulin injections twice daily and we were constantly observing and monitoring him. He knew when it was time for his shot and would go and jump up on the kitchen table to wait for it. Our entire lives revolved around his schedule and we were happy to do it for him. Still, his personality never changed.
On December 28, 1997, upon our arrival home after having been out for a few hours, Rascal alerted us that something was wrong. At his insistence we followed him to the bedroom closet. Magic was laying there in a diabetic coma. He was still breathing but he was so stiff it was hard to believe he was alive. I picked him up and ran into the kitchen with him. I pried his mouth open and put Karo syrup all around inside. We called the emergency vet clinic and left immediately after hanging up the phone. He was starting to come around, but just a little. I held him close to me and whispered asking him to please not leave me yet. I kept repeating it over and over. I wasn't ready to say goodbye to me soul mate - not yet - not ever.
They were waiting for us and as soon as we arrived we went directly into the exam room. His blood glucose was now 387, his temperature was 86 and he was dehydrated. The vet worked with him and he started to purr. How I loved hearing that sound!
After that night Magic spent a lot of time at the vets. So many things were happening to him and he was failing rapidly. He got very sick with a bladder infection which we couldn't seem to clear up. Magic's personality was beginning to change and he was hardly ever social anymore. I watched him every minute of the day. When he stopped coming to bed at night I started sleeping on the floor with him. This went on for what seemed an eternity. There would be a few good days and then he would get sick again. Every time we thought we were losing him, he would bounce back. It was an emotional roller coaster and hard to keep up with the day to day changes in his health.
I took him to see a specialist on February 23, 1998 for an MRI. The doctor called me about 3 hours after I had dropped Magic off. There were so many things he had found. While he was talking to me about all of them I asked, "Will Magic ever be healthy and feel good again"? He replied, "I'm afraid not". I said I would come and pick him up to bring home. I just wanted Magic home with me. To this day I don't know how I drove my car.
We came home and I put Magic in his blankets. He never moved, and he didn't even purr when I laid my head next to his on the floor. The next morning I got up and he was in the exact same spot. He had taken nothing to eat or drink in over 24 hours. I would have to take him to the vet again. In the bedroom when I was getting dressed, I laid down across the bed and sobbed. My heart was breaking. The end was near for My Magic Cat. How would I get through this?
When I went back into the living room I found Magic trying to stand up - but he couldn't. I sat down next to him and he relaxed. He was so weak and I just kept thinking about the answer the Internist had given me when I ask if Magic would ever be better.
Just at that time my vet called to see how we were doing and she knew without even asking. Somehow I got the words out and ask her if I could bring him to her so his suffering could end. She told me she would be waiting for us.
There were several people in the reception area when I got there and the technician led me straight to the back. Completely numb, I held Magic in my arms while she was explaining to me what was going to happen. I wanted to change my mind, and almost did, but that would have been so selfish of me. I continued to hold him in my arms as she began to administer the medication. Finally, Magic was no longer suffering and had maintained his dignity. I had given my beautiful boy one last gift of love. I had let him go.
It was over. My Magic Cat was gone. I would never again fall asleep to the sound of his purring, or laugh at the funny little things he did.
Back home I laid on the sofa for days with his red blankets. That was when I first began to understand the bond between the two of us. Magic had always been there for me and never really asked for anything in return.
I had given My Magic Cat a final gift to let him know how much I loved and adored him. I had allowed him to keep his dignity. I had ended his suffering and would somehow have endure my own. It felt like my heart had been ripped from my chest.
And why was the bond so strong? If you've never had the privilege of caring for a pet with special needs, you couldn't understand.