Merlin was born February 27th-28th (it was one of those midnight litters) of 1994 in a purple schoolbus motorhome conversion owned by my friend Linda Miller. She had rescued his mother, who was pregnant, and who proceeded to give birth to a rainbow of kittens in one of her clothes drawers.
Several weeks later, Linda brought little Merlin to my place, telling me he was the toughest kitten in the litter and perfect for a house full of white dogs. The nondescript little brown kitten was free, furious at the white dogs, and cost me $100.00 before the day was done in toys, food, litter, etc.
He slept in bed under the covers that first night, and did every night for the next 15 1/2 years.
Susie and Christy raised him, including allowing him to nurse from them, even though they didn't have milk. They spoiled and babied him and he grew up thinking he was a Samoyed. He was crate trained, came when he was called, and was the best cat ever.
He had the most remarkable blue eyes...sort of a cross between faded denim and a summer sky, and he had nystagmus, a neurological condition common to Siamese and Oriental breed cats, which caused his eyes to twitch from side to side. It can be clearly seen in his youtube video "Merlin Purrlin" which links from his page on my website. Just click on the "See cat. Hear cat purr" green button towards the top of his page after the cartoon and the first few pictures. There is also a video of him rolling around, playing with his favorite tennis ball.
Merlin was a great conversationalist and we had many discussions in our years together. He usually started them with a "Mrrrrrrow?" and I'd respond "Merlin?".
And so forth.
Merlin was Holly's big brother. They had a sibling rivalry of epic proportions and when Holly was 4 months o ld, Merlin bit her on the ear and she never forgave him. he would occasionally go after her, just for grins, and the race was on. It sounded like they were killing each other, but they weren't...not even close. He would wail whenever she went outside, just as he did with Christy, her mother who he had bonded with as his own mother all those years before.
He was the "Hall Monitor" and "The Fun Police"; when the dogs got too rowdy with each other, he would break it up, getting right in the middle of it and stopping the action, then biting the one on the bottom, usually on an ear. Two weeks before he died, he went after the dogs and I had to give him a time-out in my bedroom; when he got like that there was no stopping him. Only a time out worked, either in the bedroom or on the other side of the baby gate. Because of his nystagmus, his balance was terrible and he was never a jumper of gates nor on counters. The joke around here was "brown cat can't jump".
He was also known as "The Brown Dog"..because he was so dog-like. He LOVED riding in the car and would sit and look out the window or stretch across the back seat. He also liked to shower with me, just loved a bath....he was better behaved in the bath than the dogs are!
I could go on and on about how he was the best cat ever. And he truly was. I never expected kidney failure would claim my big, strapping guy, and so fast. He had FLUTD, and I was very careful about his diet, monitored everything, he was an indoor cat, etc. Then back in the end of April I noticed a slight weight loss and got him straight to the vet where he was diagnosed with Grave's Disease. He was put on Tapazole and went downhill from there, losing weight, getting sicker. The treatment for the thyroid unmasked underlying kidney disease that was not evident in the initial bloodwork pre-Tapazole. We fought as hard as we could, but it was not to be.
We spent his last day together on the grass at the vets (we switched back to our old vet, long story, but the short version is that the vet we were using was completely incompetent. Still it was too late to save Merlin), under the shade of an oak tree on a sunny, breezeless day. We spent three hours together, talking of many things, of cabbages and kings, and of legendary magicians of yore, present and future. I told him he was the best cat ever, my one in a million, a million to one. I told him it was OK to leave the beautiful body that was failing him. We talked, and I got video of him talking back to me. He was very much present until the last 30 minutes when he lost consciousness.
I let him go at 4:30 PM Pacific time on Wednesday, July 22nd.
At the moment he passed, a gust of wind whipped up on this breezeless warm day. The vet looked at me and softly said: "The wind has come to take his spirit home".
It had indeed, and it took a big gust to take the spirit of the best cat ever back home.
He is buried here under an oak tree just outside my family room, overlooking the creek that runs on that side of the property. As we each took a handful of dirt to place on his grave, another gust of wind whipped up on this breezeless, warm summer day. Goodbye my blue eyed boy, I'll see you in my dreams and one day, at the Rainbow Bridge.
I can see this spot from the place on our couch where he and I spent many, many hours in front of the TV together. I say goodnight when I let the dogs out for their last run at night.
Those nights are the hardest, with no 20 pound, purring, snoring bed hog tucked in beside me under the covers. The nights are forever without him. The dogs, other two cats and all of us around here are adjusting, but it is a huge adjustment. A big cat...left big pawprints on our hearts...gone on a gust of wind on a breezeless, sunny summer afternoon.
He was the best cat ever. I still can't believe I was so blessed to have that magic in my life for that too-short 15 1/2 years.
And I can't believe he is really gone. Godspeed, my good friend. You were the best cat ever.
Again, thanks to everyone who responded to Dee's email, and thanks to Dee.
and he is also on the samfans refrigerator door: