Moving on without Magnolia's Living Physical Body
by Michelle Ward
After a while of grieving over the death of my cat daughter Magnolia, I reached the decision that if she wasn’t coming back in her materialized body, then I wasn’t up for getting another cat unless it was biologically related to her. Yet, at the same time, I was also hoping to die so I wouldn’t have to live with the reality of the absence of her physical presence and all that had taken place before her physical body expiring. Then, after six months had passed since her breathing living physical body had been gone, I had become seriously depressed and lonely.

So, one Spring day, I went for a walk outside in my neighborhood. I found a solitary place, sat down, and started praying to God inside my head. That is, I did not say anything out loud with my mouth. In short, I told God that I missed Magnolia. Then, I asked him to bring her back to life as herself or else to bring her back to me through reincarnation.

Yet, at some point in my internal prayer, it occurred to me that should Magnolia be reincarnated, I would need to recognize her new body. I wondered how it would be possible for me to recognize her incarnated form. Not only that but being that my apartment complex had a one cat rule, I could not risk getting the wrong cat. So, I shifted my prayer to how I would like Magnolia returned to me.

I told God that I didn’t want to have to go to an animal shelter and be forced to pick out one cat in front of all the other cats there. I felt that it would not be fair for all the other cats to feel rejected by me. I would feel terrible. Not only that, but I was afraid of the possibility of choosing the wrong cat and Magnolia being one of the rejected ones. So, I had wished that a cat without a collar on it would just come running up to me. I wished that I would search for its owner/s and check for missing cat signs in the neighborhood to no avail but find that the cat had no owner. In essence, I wanted the cat to choose me and to let me know it belongs with me and thus to show me that it’s Magnolia. I had heard about things like that happening, so I wanted it to happen for me.

After I finished praying, I walked home. I went over to my garden plot in my backyard, sat down on the edge of its wooden frame and began to garden. It hadn’t even been an hour since my prayer when something so amazing happened there in my garden.

A brown-and-black striped tabby cat came running up to me from out of nowhere. It was male. He greeted me with a meow, came right up to me, and insisted I pet him. He didn’t have a collar on!
I was totally blown away at how this had happened not even an hour after I prayed for it to happen. Not only that but seeing stray cats in my yard was rare, and seeing collarless ones was ever rarer. The cat was also super sweet and friendly. I wondered if he was Magnolia reincarnated.

However, an orange-and-white striped tabby cat then bolted out of the same direction that the first cat had came from, and it too came running up to me. It was another male. He was meowing. His meow sounded like Magnolia’s meow. He had white paws, a white crest, and white around his mouth. He too didn’t have a collar on. He too insisted that I pet him.

I thought it was neat how his meow sounded like Magnolia’s. I also could not get over how white his sock-like paws were. Being that Magnolia was an all-white cat, I wondered if showing me a striped tabby cat of one color and then showing me a striped tabby cat of another color was God’s way of showing me that the second cat was Magnolia reincarnated. Like, it was God symbolically showing me that when a soul is reincarnated into a new body, the new body can’t or won’t always look like the old body. However, I had heard of spirits reincarnating into multiple bodies. So, I wondered if maybe both cats were Magnolia’s incarnated soul.

Yet, my heart sank and I remembered the one cat rule in my apartment’s lease agreement. So, I returned to having internal dialogue with myself and God again. I told God that I wanted both cats and that I wish there wasn’t a one cat rule. I told him that I couldn’t choose between the cats. I told him that I wished there was a way out of this dilemma.

Eventually, a male tenant in my apartment complex had collected the two cats and brought them to their home in an apartment building across from ours. So, apparently, the cats already had a home. I started to wonder what the point of that whole experience was.

I mean, I had been living in my apartment complex since 2014, and never once had a cat run up to me there before. Not only that, but I had never seen cats running around in my garden before, and I had never seen pets running anywhere without their collars on. It was just too much of a coincidence for the cats to come running up to me without their collars on not even an hour after I had said a silent prayer to God and had specifically requested that he send a cat to me without a collar on.

Anyway, sometime after meeting the cats in my garden, while I was in the hallway of my apartment complex, I saw the tenant who had collected the cats and taken them to their home. I decided to ask him if he knew who the owner of the two cats were. He told he that he thought he knew who the owners were. He mentioned that the cats are indoor cats but that they escape out of their home every now and then. He then told me that he heard that the owner is moving and is looking for a home for the orange and white striped cat.
So, I got a pen and a piece of paper and wrote down my contact information and a short note. I handed the paper to the guy and asked him if he could give the paper to the owner. I told him to tell them that I will take the orange and white striped cat.

The next day, a woman called me on the phone. It was the owner of the cats. I was super excited.

To my surprise, she said she was actually giving away BOTH of the cats. She said the orange and white striped cat could not go by himself. She said the cats go together and must not be separated. She also mentioned that they are brothers of the same litter.

I was happy and yet saddened to hear this. I told her that I would love to take both cats, but that my apartment lease has a one cat rule. I mentioned that if I were to violate the lease, I would be homeless.

She responded with something so unexpected. She said “You CAN have more than one cat here! I currently have five cats and I have been living here for years. I know a handful of people here who have multiple cats. I had the permission of the former apartment manager years before our last apartment manager was here. Once you have the permission of an apartment manager, the managers that come after them can’t take back that permission.”

I told her that if that was the case than I would certainly take the cats. However, I asked her if she could talk to the current apartment manager for me just to make sure it would in fact be okay for me to have them both. I figured this would be best since she also knew the apartment manager from once having a position as garden plot coordinator.

The woman ended up talking with our apartment manager and making sure it would be okay for me to have two cats. I also checked in with the apartment manager myself afterwards. The apartment manager confirmed that it was okay.
Then, I was given my boys. Anyhow, once I knew they were for surely mine, I asked the woman, now their former owner, what their birthdate was. She told me that they were born on October 11, 2017. This kind of amazed me because Magnolia died on October 4th, 2017. So, my boys were born just seven days after her death. It made me feel even more like one or both of them was Magnolia reincarnated.

I ended up naming the brown-and-black striped tabby Lord and naming the orange-and-white striped tabby Jesus. I really find them to be a miracle. I mean, the way everything played out was just one amazing miracle after the other.

I am still traumatized by the way Magnolia died. I still miss her physical presence. I still have regrets. However, I am happier now that I have cats that live in my home again. Lord and Jesus are very funny and entertaining. I am no longer lonely.

Although I think it is a strong possibility that one or both of them are Magnolia reincarnated, I will never know for sure if they are her or not. Whatever the case be, I know for certain that meeting the collarless cats in my garden -- just less than an hour after silently praying for such an encounter -- was no coincidence. Finding out that I could bypass the one cat rule at my apartment complex was also a miracle. It is no doubt clear that God sent these cats to me.

I also think that it’s wonderful to have two cats. Magnolia’s death showed me how having an attachment with just one cat affected me when it died and left me all alone. I mean, when the time comes for one of my boys to die, I will still have the other one there to comfort me, to provide me with companionship, and to give me something to live for.

As for Magnolia’s corpse, it took a year for the freeze-dry taxidermist to do their magic. But, I have her body back now and it can no longer decay. I’m able to brush it and put costumes on it. Hence, it’s not as painful for me when I see cat clothes and cat costumes when I go shopping. I actually bought a Santa costume and put it on her body. I also put a winter coat on her body that I had bought for her before her death. I plan to use the body for Day of the Dead and All Souls Day celebration themes too. In a way, it’s like her body has become a medium for her soul to be a sage. Between my two cats and Magnolia’s freeze-dry preserved body, I really feel Magnolia’s strong presence.
Comments would be appreciated by the author, Michelle Ward
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