Magnum is a highly unusual, neutered male cat. He is not a full Bengal; nor is he or has he ever been part of our Bengal breeding program. However, he IS the cat who inspired us to begin breeding Bengals, and we are often told that Magnum looks like a small cougar or panther!! Read on Magnum came to us as a 7 week old baby, weighing all of 9 ounces!! (NOTE: 7 weeks is WAY TOO YOUNG for a kitten to leave the breeder's for his/her new home, but we didn't know that at the time Magnum entered our life.) He looked like a baby rat no hair on his tail, many bald spots on his body, and huge ears, with the cutest face we had ever seen!! The breeder brought Magnum and his three brothers to our house when they were first 5 weeks old what great fun!! She explained that these were "½ Bengal, ½ Abyssinian".
When we asked the breeder what a Bengal was, she told us that this was a new breed of cat, which started by cross breeding a domestic cat such as a Burmese, Egyptian Mau, or a Tabby, with a wild Asian Leopard Cat. We were fascinated!! We quickly selected Magnum out of the four brothers offered to us, because he was the runt of the litter, and because, while his brothers were off immediately to explore our house, Magnum came right over to us and picked us out!!
At 7 weeks old, Magnum officially joined our household. At that time, we had a very affectionate, spayed Siamese kitty named "Marina" living with us, and she quickly became a surrogate mother to baby Magnum. While Marina ate out of her food dish, tiny Magnum could barely reach his food from a teeny tiny clean ashtray!! Magnum did not know how to drink, so we taught him by mixing baby lamb food with increasingly large amounts of water. He spent hours in the palm of my hand, observing poker games at the dinner table, or trying to steal tidbits of chicken off a plate!!
Magnum is the cat who defined the "prey" game. When he was small, he would take his most favorite furry toy ("prey") to his "lair" (which might be the inside of a paper bag, or up by the fireplace hearth wherever he felt his "lair" was), and growl and hiss at us if we tried to separate him from his prey, or approach too closely to his lair. These days, the prey game has to be by mutual consent, and requires extensive participation on our part. Magnum seizes his "prey", to announce the start of the game, and struts purposefully to his "lair". He still growls and hisses, but if we do not try diligently to get the prey away, he comes right up to us and forces us to play. If we succeed in re-capturing the prey, he tries to get the prey away again, and we growl and hiss at him. And so on, and so on!!
Magnum is special in so many ways to us. During his neuter surgery, he went into cardiac arrest, and we almost lost him. For hours, then days, we were by his side, coaxing and loving him on. When he came out of his coma, he was blind for four days, then had head tremors for several more months. He had to re-learn everything. Happily, he recovered completely, (with the exception of being deaf), which was nothing short of a miracle. The courage and love for us that he showed inspires us to this day.
Despite his hearing disability, he is a very happy kitty, and shares my room with me and several other kitties. Everyone loves Magnum!! He helps raise all our Bengal kittens. Even Maverick, our gorgeous full male Bengal stud, was full of awe for Magnum. First of all, Magnum was even bigger than Maverick!! And, second of all, nothing frightens Magnum not vacuum cleaners, nor even Maverick's loudest warning growls!! Perhaps that's one reason he is such a Mr. Mom squealing kittens don't bother him either!!
Several years ago, we had yet another close call with this most special yet extremely sensitive cat...Magnum developed Fatty Liver Disease. We wrote an article in our "BENGAL CAT HEALTH CORNER" section, to help others who may be dealing with this serious disease. After eight weeks of intensive force feeding, fluid and love therapy, Magnum completely recovered, and was even back in his role as "Mr. Mom", much to the delight of Merlot and her babies in the summer of 1998!! (Notice Magnum's shaved areas from his liver biopsy and blood work in some of the above pictures.)
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