The Story of Magda, Part 2

by Bruce Whitaker

(For Part 1 of Magda’s story, click here)

took Magda, my mother’s adopted cat, home to Fairview from the Mayflower Rest Home where mother had been living. She started exploring her new home as soon as I put her down. The first thing she did was to make sure there were no other animals in her new house. She thought there was no need for any other animals in the world besides her. Magda was glad to see she was the only living thing in the house besides me. I was there to do as she said and to provide for her every need. She liked the upstairs best because she was able to look down and survey her domain.

In that first night at my house, she started a rule: She would lie on my lap for at least 15 minutes when I went to bed. I had almost stopped watching TV at that time except for the news. I was either spending my time looking up things or playing games on the computer and spent the rest of my time reading.

Computer Discovery

Magda didn’t go for that. She liked to watch TV, and this is how she got her way. She started jumping on my desk and lying down on my keyboard or walking across it. She then discovered my computer had a touch screen and she started rubbing her body up against the screen. I started closing the office door, but she would stand outside the door and cry for me. If I didn’t open the door, she would stand up and try to turn the doorknob. Eventually, she learned to turn a low-hanging door knob.

Magda would stare at the TV but I didn’t know if she really knew what was going on. One night she was lying on my lap when “Hawaii Five-0” was on. In the episode, a van took a corner too fast and rolled a few times. Magda jumped out of my lap and ran under the couch. I guess she really was watching TV.

Whitakers are night owls. Magda would decide it was time for me to go to bed. She would stare at me and make the loudest sound she could make. That meant that she was tired of my staying up and it was time I went to bed. If I ignored her, she would hit my knee with her paw. She would also decide I had slept long enough sometimes. She may have run out of water or food, or just wanted me to turn on the TV. Magda would rub my eyebrow until I woke up.

I didn’t have Magda declawed because of her age and the cost. I heard about plastic claws. I bought a pack of them and took her to the vet to have them put on. They would cut her nails and then glue them on. She didn’t go for that at all. It would take two or three people to hold her down. She fought like a tiger. She would hiss at the woman at the desk while I paid the bill. Magda would never get mad at me for taking her there, though. She liked me and no one else, except my cousin Keith, who looks a lot like me.

I like to travel a lot, and when I was gone Magda would cry for me until she almost lost her voice. She forced me to take her with me. She would raise cane until we had traveled long enough for her to know we weren’t going to the vet. She would only look out the front window for a while, but after a few trips she started looking out the side window as well. Magda was one of the few cats that traveled to 20 states.

Magda soon learned to work with me to make sure she could stay with me. I would check in to a motel and she would hide out of sight in the car. I would then put her in a blue plastic tub with the lid on. Magda would not make a sound as I slipped her in the room. When I let her out, she would have a ball checking out the new place. She would inspect everything in the room. If I stayed at a place with a loft, she could not understand why on earth I would ever leave a place like this and go home.

Big City Kitty

Magda would often sleep when I was driving on the freeway. She would wake up when I slowed down. She would know I was going through a town and sit in my lap to look the towns over. When I went through a big city like Memphis, Cincinnati, or Baltimore, I would get off the freeway and drive through downtown. Magda loved to look up at the tall buildings and at the crowds of people. She would try to look in every direction at once. I always wanted to take her to the top of the John Hancock Center in Chicago and let her look down on the apartment buildings with the swimming pools on top, but I didn’t think I would be allowed to do it.

I stayed a week at a condo in the mountains of Pennsylvania. The condo had a fireplace with glass doors. Magda would go over and smell and look over this strange contraption every night. One evening I came home from a day at the flea market and the glass doors were open and the metal screen was open. She had figured out how to get into it and had gone inside to look it over and see if it met her approval.

This past January, I took Magda, who was 16 years old at that point, to Myrtle Beach. We stayed at a place that overlooked the marina. She liked to look out the window and supervise the boats. One night she screamed loudly twice, so I got up and held her a while. After that she did not seem to feel well or have much energy anymore. I think she may have had a stroke. When we got home, she made me put a chair for her next to my computer and my TV. She would just stay next to me but did not seem to want to do anything.

At the end of February I took her with me to Lake Fontana. She seemed to enjoy the ride out there, and looked at everything out the window. When we got there, she would only lie on the floor. Every few minutes she would move a little, as if she could not find a comfortable spot. One morning she woke me up with a loud scream, and I rushed her to the vet in Robbinsville, but she died on the way. No one ever had a better companion.

Local historian Bruce Whitaker documents genealogy in the Fairview area. He can be reached at 628-1089 or [email protected].

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