Thursday, April 17, 2008

Merlin




And now, for something totally different, this is Merlin. Merlin is 15 (almost)and, despite arthritis and being a bit pudgy (25 pounds at last weigh in), is still getting around pretty well.

Merlin was my father in law's cat. I will never forget going to visit my father in law and seeing this little bitty black cat in a hamster cage with a can of Fancy Feast... My father in law was not well versed in the care and feeding of a new born kitten, but, somehow, Merlin survived it. We had Merlin's brother, a gray Tabby named Sweetie (because we thought he was a she). They were alley cats and my father in law said the daddy cat was the biggest domestic cat he had ever seen. By the time Merlin was 8 months old he was huge. We were stunned, the next time we saw him after the kitten in the cage incident. A panther like creature (with the little bittiest paws) strolled out of the bedroom. Merlin ate whatever my father in law ate. He is the only cat I have seen growl and chase off a dog 4 times his size over a piece of meat.

My father in law gave Merlin to us the year before he died...when alcohol replaced a cat as his best friend. Merlin came to us demanding people food (no sirree kitty boy) and was not, shall we say "cuddly". I think he missed his daddy. Most days I would find him laying on his back, cooling his tummy like in the picture above. It is almost indecent if you stare at it for too long. In time, Merlin became Leonard's best friend. Wherever Leonard was, Merlin was. When Leonard came home from work, Merlin would stroll up and talk to him until he responded. I swear to God, this cat would talk until Leonard paid attention to him. Krandall (the chair) was purchased in part to make room for Merlin to lay alongside Daddy during afternoon snoozes. They were buddies... and now it seems, again, as if this (not so) little guy is lost. It hurts me to see him wander through the house, crying for his daddy. I know people will think I am crazy but he is not the same cat. He has, in a sense, lost his nuclear person twice. I see him, now, trying to imprint on James. James is annoyed by this and does not appreciate Merlin waking him up in the morning as much as Leonard did. Try as I might, Merlin is just not happy cuddling with me and kneads and head butts and rolls around... finally giving up with what I swear is a sigh. I look at this cat, who is one of my connections to my husband and my father in law, and I dread the day I don't hear that cry anymore. Leonard always promised he would take care of the animals "when the time came". That is the reason why we brought them into the house. I guess it's just another thing affected by his not being here. How different and hurtful this life now is... for us all.

20 comments:

Rach said...

Holly continues to look for Hannah. She scratches at Han's bedroom door and yaps at the back door for Han to come out and play.

I feel so sorry for the critters because, god love 'em, they have NO idea what is going on, you know?

Holly, bless her heart, is trying to get Lil to fill Hannah's shoes, but, well, Lil's TWO and it isn't working. My heart breaks for us all, Laura.

HUGS!

Betts4 said...

Oh my! Merlin looks very similiar to our cat Figaro. Black and with those eyes. Fig is 15 also and a bit overweight. For months after Jim was gone, he would have nothing to do with me. Well, he would have nothing to do with me before Jim died also -he was Jim's cat to the max. As you said, they were buddies.
He has just in the last couple months started being friendly and in the last couple weeks he has gotten up on my lap like he used to with Jim.

Hugs to you and to Merlin.

Courtney said...

Oh my goodness. I would have never thought about the animals that are living in someone's home being affected by a loss also. Thank you for writing this. You are giving more and more insight to this grief thing than ever before. I am so sorry you have to go through it for moron's like me to "get" it.

Jana said...

Like Courtney, I never thought about how pets react to the loss of a loved one. I hope Merlin finds some peace.

Linda said...

This instantly made me think of that song "Bless the beasts and the children, for in this world they have no voice,they have no choice".
I hope that James warms up to the idea of Merlin. He is obviously a mans man :>

Karen MEG said...

Merlin is a real guy's buddy isn't he? This is so sad for him as well. I suspect that deep down inside James may not really mind Merlin too much.

Donna said...

Thinking of you sweetheart...sending you lots of love and hugs.....

desperate housewife said...

Poor kitty. It always breaks my heart that animals and kids have to deal with this crap without even fully understanding why. Well, not that any of us FULLY understand what is going on.

Misguided Mommy said...

ummm your cat only weighs 5 lbs less then my almost 3 year old. WOW

BetteJo said...

Since I am a crazy cat lady, I don't think there is anything wrong with your thinking. Cats get very attached to their humans and one of my cats doesn't like men at all. So maybe Merlin, not only losing his 2 humans - is a man's cat. That's why he is trying to bond with James. Loss affects everyone in the family I guess, even the pets. And you can't explain it to him either. Sigh-h.

Ronni said...

Moe has turned slightly vicious towards both Brendan and myself. He was definitely Jim's cat. He doesn't out-and-out attack, but, if one of us pets him, he might just smack our hand with a claw extended.

I had to send Hilary to a shelter, because all the cats were tormenting her. That never happened when Jim was here.

Cristina Mathers said...

your cat looks just like my old cat who had very much the same attitude of your cat and looks like it's twin!

Kathy said...

Checking in to say hi, hoping you are having a bit of sunshine. I've posted twice but they don't seem to be going through. It is very common for me to see pets changed forever by the loss of their human or buddy pet. It is sad. That is one very large kitty you have Laura!

Gina said...

The picture of him on his back is priceless!

Poor guy, he might win James over yet.

Shari said...

Aw, he is cute, though. Who knows, animals probably know more than we think.

I never owned a cat. I never got along with cats for some reason.

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I was just talking to someone the other day about how some animals respond better to men, and others to women, and it's just how they are.

Disproving that theory, though, my brother's cat thinks he (my brother) is the bomb, until a pre-tween girl shows up. Then my brother suddenly doesn't seem so darned special, and all of the love and attention goes to the girl. When we went up to Alaska, when Maya was 4, Hobbes followed her around like a dog from the first minute she walked in the door, and mourned us leaving for a few months after we left. Never seen that in a cat before.

Kathy said...

Hi Laura,
Dropping by to let you know that you are thought of. I hope all is OK.
Hugs

KamaAina said...

Close but no cigar! A dear friend from years ago had four cats, including Winston. Winston was a couple of shades lighter than an orange tabby. He also weighed in at 32 pounds. This was while he was at the vet after having had the runs for a few days. So we're thinking the actual figure was closer to 35.

One day I was on the phone with Suz (his human), and I kept hearing this pounding noise in the background. "Suz, what's going on back there?" Turned out the hot summer weather had just broken, and Winston was cavorting in the bathtub! Thump... thump... thump...

Karen said...

Laura, just wanted to stop by and say hi! Hoping your lack of posting is because you are too busy.

Donna said...

Just checking on you Sweetie!!hughugs