True story: when I read Chris Rahn’s Twitter thread that explained his design for the Magic: The Gathering — War of the Spark ‘Charmed Stray’ cat card, I cried. Immortalizing our furry friends after they pass over the rainbow bridge is tough, but often necessary for the healing process. Rahn got a more unique opportunity than most: to include his beloved cat, Willow, in a Magic: The Gathering card.

On Tuesday, Rahn shared a close-up of the art from the card and explained how it came about. “There’s a story behind this one,” he wrote. “Last year I lost my cat, Willow, after 17 years. I adopted her halfway through my first year of art school and she was the first pet I had on my own.”
Rahn went on to describe a familiar and important bond. “She saw me through everything,” he wrote. “Art school, graduation, getting my career off the ground, break-ups, you name it. Needless to say, it was hard to let her go.” After she passed, “A couple months later, I got a tentative email from Dawn Murin [the senior art director for MTG at Wizards of the Coast] asking if I’d be interested in an assignment that would include her in MTG (they already had a cat card planned) and I jumped at the chance.”
“When the assignment came in it had been tailored to match Willow exactly,” Rahn continued. “Painting it was a lot of fun and helped me get over it. Anyway, that’s the winding path that got my old girl into War of the Spark.”
In case the story itself isn’t enough to make you cry, Rahn also included a photo of the late Willow.

As someone who has included her cat in Dungeons & Dragons campaigns and even cosplayed with her, this story hits especially hard. It’s bittersweet, to say the least, but the meaning behind this card makes it that much more powerful.