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My tribute to Merlin

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Merlin died May 6, 2003. It has taken me this long to bring myself to write this tribute. He was hit by a car. I know many of you will want to chastise me for letting him outside, but please don't. I already know.
We live on an acreage and have very little traffic and I honestly thought it was safe and he wanted outside so badly. I have many cats outside and in all the years I have lived here on the farm only one has wandered close to the road (which is a ways from the house and not much traffic)and been run over. And Merlin never went near the road so I truley thought he would be okay. Please don't attack me on this I feel badly enough.
He is buried under the red maple tree we planted in honor of my father almost three years ago when he died. I have planted a Bleeding Heart on top of Merlin's grave as well. I will never forget holding his little limp body under that tree before I placed him in the hole my brother had dug, and bawling my eyes out and looking at the heavens and asking WHY...why HIM?????????????????????????????

Merlin came into my life at a time when I needed him the most. I had just lost my father a week or so before that.
I don't know his exact birthdate, but I know it was in the first part of September 2000. (dad died Aug 24th)

Merlin's mother was a cat that I got from someone who didn't want her anymore and was going to have her put to sleep.
I was planning to have her spayed as soon as possible, but before I could do that, she got pregnant by a feral tom cat. A big black feral who had been hanging around and wouldn't let me anywhere near him.
She abandoned all her babies and even though I went looking for them I could only find one....Merlin...scared, shaking and half dead in the shed.

I brought him in the house much against my husband's wishes. He did not want cats in the house and was very adament about it.
I told him Merlin was staying inside until he was well and strong enough to be outside again.
I nursed Merlin back to health, feeding him kitten formula and then canned cat food which I put in his mouth using the handle end of a small spoon.
Eventually even my husband fell in love with Merlin....Merlin liked to play with him and they became very close.
Merlin became my one and only "inside" cat....sleeping with me at night. I would shut him in the bedroom during the day while I was at work because I did not yet trust him to have the "run" of the house when noone was home. (This was just when he was little, when he was older he of course had the "run" of the house and was free to go into whatever room he pleased)
He was the most rolly polly fat little kitty I have ever seen!!!! He literally waddled when he walked!!!! He was sooooo cute!!
Merlin loved to play!!! He loved to chase things. My hubby's arm was one of his favorite things to attack and chew on! This never changed either, they still played this game even when Merlin was no longer a kitten...he would wiggle his fingers until Merlin would crouch low and attack them.
My husband used to attach a ball on a long bungee type cord to the ceiling fan and Merlin would leap way up into the air playing with it. We got such a kick out of him! I never saw a cat jump so high!!
He learned to play fetch also! I would ball up a peice of paper and toss it across the room and Merlin would chase it, pick it up in his mouth and bring it back to me and drop it at my feet or in my lap to throw again. He really enjoyed this game. He also had a tiny stuffed spotted leapord beeny baby that was "his" and he loved to play fetch with it as well.
When he got older we let him have the run of the house when we were gone...he was very smart and quickly learned what was "acceptable" behavior and what was not...he knew he was not supposed to climb the drapes or knock over the plants...although once in awhile he would be onery and do it anyway, but that didn't last long...he was pretty well behaved for the most part.
I had him neutered which was quite an ordeal since one of his testicles was lodged up inside him and they had to do surgery twice to get to it since the first time they didn't get it. He had to be kept inside only for several days after that, which drove him nuts because he loved to go outside to play. I did worry about him going out, I knew it would just kill me if something happened to him, but he loved it so, and I didn't have the heart to keep him in when he wanted out so badly and we had very little traffic on the road and it made him so very happy to lay in the sun, chase butterflies, bugs and play in the barns. And I never did see him go anywhere near the road.
He was such a smart cat. He knew the word "out". I would say "Out?" and he would run to the front door. He would also stand in front of it and wrap his paws around the door knob when he wanted to go out or just sit in front of it and Meow.
When he wanted back in he would jump on the window ledge and stare in at us until hubby or I went and opened the door to let him in.
He also knew his name and would come whenever I called it, even if he was outside down at the barns.
I'm not sure if Merlin ever realized he was really a cat like the others, he never had much social interation with them.
He refused to eat their cat food and didn't go anywhere near thier food bowl. He knew he had his own special bowl in the house with his special food in it. Even when I threw treats out for the other cats he wouldn't touch them. No matter how delicious of a treat it was, even if it was one of his favorites like roast beef or hamburger - if it landed on the ground, he wouldn't eat it. He'd watch the other cats pouncing eagerily on it, grabbing it, growling at each other to keep away from thiers, pushing each other out of the way trying to take it away from each other, and he would sit back with this look on his face like he just couldn't believe how pathetic they were being! If I offered it to him from my hand he would take it, but not from the ground. Ever. I guess he didn't like his food getting dirty! He also hated it when his feet got dirty. He wasn't at all fond of rain or snow. He didn't venture out long in the winter but prefered instead to sleep on the heat vents. He also hated wind. If it was a very windy day and he wanted out, I would open the door for him, he'd check the situation out, like he always did, to see what the weather was like or who happened to be sitting in front of the door, (one of the other cats or dogs) and if it was very windy he would not go out. I use to tease him, because I knew he wanted out, but didn't like the wind. I'd say, "Oh go on you big weenie--it's just a little wind!" and I'd laugh.

Merlin never just "walked" when he went outside either....no he "strutted". Tail straight up in the air and he had the longest tail I Have ever seen on a cat. I loved his tail! I used to play with it alot. He would strut about the yard eyeballing the other cats & dogs and finally choose a nice warm spot to lay in the sun. He was very aloof. Almost like he thought he was a little better than the other cats were. I suppose it's because I spoiled and babied him so much and he knew he was the only one alllowed inside. He was very cuddly with Brent and I though...he loved to be petted, especially behind the ears, on top of the head, and his favorite spot, under his chin on his neck. He didn't like his feet or ears messed with, but he was okay with me playing with his long tail. He would make this noise when we would pet him....it wasn't really a purr---I guess it was his way of purring---but he did it with his mouth just slightly open, eyes squinted, and it sounded more like a K sound...."kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk"
I hope I never forget what it sounded like. I have never heard any of my other cats make a noise anything like that.

Merlin was a bit onery at times......although he never broke anything or messed with anything he knew he wasn't supposed to. I had over 100 resin Boyd's Bear figurines sitting around the house and he never broke even one. He could jump from the floor onto the small curio cabinet that was in front of the window and never knock over any of the Boyd's Bears sitting on it. He was very precise. He always landed between the breakable bears and the edge of the cabinet, which was a space of no more than maybe 6 inches. From there he would hop onto the window sill. He never scratched the cabinet either, which was made of oak, and a good 4 foot leap from the floor, but yet he did this all the time. How he mananged to do this without ever breaking anything or scratching the wood, I'm not sure. He was just very talented I guess (or very thoughtful)
He did however know what was "safe" to mess with and knock off just to get my attention but yet wouldn't actually get him in any trouble....for example....(this shows his onery side) if he wanted to go outside and I was sleeping...he would jump onto the dresser and proceed to knock off books, papers, my watch, etc until I got up and let him out. And if I was sitting at the kitchen table, paying bills or writing something and he wanted my attention, he would jump up on the table and start knocking off all the spare change my husband would put there...one at a time....and look at me after each one. I would say "Merlin, no" (he also knew what "no" meant but he didn't always listen.) If knocking the coins off didn't get my full attention, he would knock off my husbands comb, then his wallet etc until finally I stopped what I was doing and gave him my full attention!
(If all else failed he would just come over and lay right on top of whatever I was writing or reading and that always did the trick)
One of the other examples of Merlin being onery was when he got into my groceries before I got them put away and chewed through my $7 bag of deli roast beef. At the time I was pretty aggitated, but now I realize if I could have him back again I would let him claw up all the roast beef I ever bought. It just wasn't that important in the whole scheme of things...what's a little roast beef compared to having my cat here, alive, healthy and happy?
He also had a thing for homemade bread. My mother-in-law would make it and put it in a huge gallon size ziploc baggie and he would jump up onto the kitchen counter (something he knew was a major no-no and generally didn't do) and knock it off, maul it to death leaving teeth and claw marks all over the bag and the bread, drag it into the living room and leave it there. I'm not sure why....he never bothered any other food on the counter..just the bread.

He knew the cupboard where his canned cat food was kept that he got once in a awhile as a treat. He didn't get it every day, since I had heard soft cat food every day would rot a cats teeth, but he got it a couple times a week and it was a huge big deal to him because he loved it more than even roast beef. It was his favorite thing to eat. So I could not open this particular cupboard for any reason to get anything out without him hearing the doors opening (full length cupboard with double doors) and flying in from whatever room he had happened to be in at the moment, and rubbing against my legs and the cupboard doors and basically just getting right in my way, hoping I would give in and give him some. Sometimes I would and sometimes I wouldn't. I still have 2 cans of it in there...I wish so badly I had given them to him.

I have put up his cat food bowl...noone will ever use it again...that was Merlin's bowl....but his litterpan is still where it always was...with the litter still in in it, I cannot bring myself to dump it...even now...that is strange, I know...but it doesn't smell or anything, I think he just walked around in it a little bit, didn't use it very much that morning, and his paw prints are still there. *sigh*

He also recently learned how to open the cupboard doors with his paw. At first I kept accusing my hubby of leaving them open and he'd say he didn't..then one day I saw Merlin do it. He was a pretty smart cat!

He was pretty good with Amber (my baby) too. I was worried at first, but he mainly just avoided her, and on a couple of occassions when she crawled up to him (even though we did keep a close eye on that) I did catch her grabbing a handful of his fur and pulling rather hard. I was afraid he would strike out at her, not realizing she didn't mean to hurt him, but both times it happened he just gave a "meow" and bolted away from her then would look at me like, "Why do I have to put up with this creature???" but he never hurt her...I think he realized she was little and didn't know better. I don't know how he knew that...but he did.

Merlin filled so many holes in my life...dad had just died a couple weeks before he came along and Merlin was there for me. He was like a child to me and losing him hurt so badly....I loved him so very very much...it hurts so bad even thought it has now been almost 3 months since he died.

Some people say they "own" a cat. I never "owned" Merlin. He was a free spirit....came and went as he pleased. I was his caretaker, his friend, his "mommy" (that's how I refred to myself...I'd say..."mommy's busy right now" or "Come see mommy, Merlin")...but never his owner.

He seemed to have that feral blood in him. From his father (although I realize being feral is not inhereted, it's if they have been handled by humans and tame or not) But he seemed to have that "wild" streak in him----he would have never been happy being kept indoors all the time like some cats are. I know many cats love being indoors only and get all they need and want from that, but not Merlin. He had to have his freedom, even if it did end up costing him his life. I feel having him for almost three years, and him living the kind of life he did, was better for him and happier than if he had lived for 10 years but had been kept inside only. It would have caused him much anxiety and unhappiness and broken his spirit. It was just in his blood...the outdoors, the farm...he loved it so much.

At first I felt guilty for ever letting him outside where there was even the slightest chance of danger, but he wanted out so badly that I took that chance...and I lost him. But after thinking about it constantly for the first two weeks after he was killed, I stopped feeling guilty...I know that if Merlin could come back and talk to me right now, he would tell me that he was much happier being let outside, it was what he wanted, and that he never would have been truely happy had I not let him go out. I think he would tell me he had a wonderful life, even if it wasn't as long as it could have been, and that I should not feel guilty. He had the kind of life (even though it was shorter) that some cats only dream of. He had the best of both worlds. I'm not advocating letting your cats outside, I think it depends on where you live, if there is much traffic or not, and the type of cat you have, that is if they can be happy inside or not.

I realize had I kept him inside I would still have my beloved Merlin with me today. But only at the price of his freedom and happiness. I know he would not blame me for what happened and would not want me to balme myself.

My brother who found Merlin that morning on the road and moved him, said he could tell Merlin had only been hit once, and hit hard enough that he died instantly---he didn't feel any pain. That made me feel a little better, because the thought of him laying there, hurting, in much pain wondering where "mommy" was and why I wasn't there to make it go away, just about killed me. I don't think he knew what happened at all. One minute he was there, possibly chasing a butterfly or a frog, not realizing how far he had wandered off, and the next minute he was just gone....continuing to chase his prey in the other world. Like he just went to sleep but never woke back up. This is what I pray.

I will miss my little friend...My Merlin. I don't understand why it had to be him. The one that meant the most. It's so hard to believe. I've never loved a pet this much...he was like family to me.

I could go on and on about Merlin but I know I have to stop somewhere. The tears will stop eventually, and the heartache...a huge part of why I have not been back to TheCatSite for the past few months...but Merlin will never ever be forgotten. He will live on in my thoughts, deams, memories and most of all...in my heart.

I love you my Merlin....and I miss you.
post #2 of 34
You did what was best for Merlin. You showed him a life filled with love and happiness and that he was always welcome back inside after venturing outside in the fresh air that he loved. There was nothing wron in what you did. As cat lovers, we are all guilty of one thing, giving our companions what they want and there is nothing wrong with that.

I'm sorry that Merlin has passed away but he's not lost. He will always be a part of you. I'm glad that the hurt has subsided for you to be able to talk about Merlin. Let time mend your pain and heartache.

My deepest condolences to you and your hubby. I'll be keeping you in my warmest thoughts.
post #3 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thank you Mags for your kind words! It means alot to me to have people read this...it's like by reading this it keeps him alive somehow.
post #4 of 34

TheCatSite will always be here for people to lean on.
post #5 of 34
Thread Starter 
You are so sweet! Thank you!!!!
post #6 of 34

Merlin couldn't have had a better life or a better mommy. He was fiercely loved and spoiled rotten. I give you my deepest and most meaningful condolenses. You were a wonderful mommy to him.

You never lost him. Not really. His physical form isn't there, but his spirit and his heart is with you always, and until the day you meet him at the bridge he'll always be there.

May you always feels his whiskers dance across your checks when a slight breeze flitters by.

My love and prayers,
post #7 of 34
Debby - After reading this and sopping up my tears with a paper towel, I was thinking to myself...Merlin couldn't have had a better Mommy than you. You save his life, you raised him to be a happy and healthy boy... It's no wonder the two of you connected and loved each other so much! The joy he brought to your life is priceless!!
I know you miss him deeply and had to muster up a lot of strength to write this tribute. This tribute keeps Merlin's memory alive. Thank you for sharing such an important part of your life with us.

post #8 of 34
Debby, this is wonderful - I feel like I know Merlin better now too. I hardly ever vist this forum, it always makes me cry, but I had to read about your special wonderful boy! You have really captured his character in this story. We'll all miss him too, you always had such lovely stories about him.
post #9 of 34
Debby, that was such a beautiful tribute! You were a wonderful mom to Merlin, you gave him a lot of love and he had a high quality life with you and your family. I am so sorry you lost him, but you will always have wonderful memories of him, and he will always have a special place in your heart.
post #10 of 34
Debby, that was beautiful. I was laughing at parts, because Merlin seemed to have so much personality, and by the end I was crying beacause he's no longer here in his physical form. The bond you shared with Merlin was extraordinary. You did nothing wrong by letting him outside... I firmly believe that if that's what he wanted, that's what was best.

Your tribute is a wonderful way to have Merlin's memory live on.
post #11 of 34

What a great tribute to Merlin. I loved reading about all his little quirks and antics. I realize you still say, "what if?", but you literally saved this kitten from death and gave him a happy life that he would not have otherwise had. I am so sorry that he had to be taken from you so soon, but I am also happy that he had you for his mom for the time he did.
post #12 of 34
Debby, Merlin sounds like he was such a wonderful companion to you. He obviously was very special to your family. And he lived a good life. He is resting now in peace, and he knows how much you love him.
post #13 of 34
My thoughts as I read your tribute Debby, are that you bestowed so much love and affection on Merlin. Both of you needed each other for so many reasons and he brought you laughter and smiles thoroughout the time you were with him. There were many reasons why the two of you hooked up, why you defied your husband and brought this tiny kitten into your home and why he became such a big part of your heart. Amber is truly lucky to have a mom so sensitive, loving and caring, just as Merlin was lucky that you found him.

I know you miss him, I know you ache inside, but the ache lessens with time and what he taught you and the fact that having him brought you to this board is something that will stay in your heart forever.

I am glad you still are opening your heart to other cats and kittens, for you to shut off that deep caring part of yourself would be a travesty.

I am so glad you are back, that you are starting to heal. You weren't only loved by Merlin, but you are loved by all of us who are fortunate enough to call you our "friend."

Major hugs Sis! Welcome Home!
post #14 of 34
Absolutely beautiful! Just remember Merlin is smiling down upon you and thanking you for loving him.
post #15 of 34

What a wonderful tribute to your boy. It is obvious that Merlin was a much loved and cherished cat who had a life most other cats can only dream of. You were truly the perfect kittymom for him.

Please know that Merlin will always be with you and look for bits of Merlin that will now start to show up in the other cats who come to live at your place. A cat who was deeply loved by his people will never leave them. He will always be waiting for you and snuggling against you when you need him to be there.

I am glad that you are ready to come back to TCS. We have missed you so much, but I think we all understand your need to grieve alone for a while.

Welcome back.

post #16 of 34
Debby I am so glad you had the strength to share your happiness and sorrow with us. We can all understand how special he was to you and how he will always hold a peice of your heart.

I firmly believe that if we have a special pet in our lives that is taken too soon, they will be returned to us in time. Keep a look out for him. I don't think anything will keep him from you.
post #17 of 34
Debby, I never realized until it was too late just how much Merlin meant to you and what an important part of your life and love he was. This wonderful, wonderful tribute is so full of love.... I'm left pretty much speachless. I, too, laughed and cried... and I still have such a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. It is so painfully obvious you loved each other intensely, and I agree with everyone else - you were a wonderful mommy to Merlin, and he couldn't have lived a better life. You said it so perfectly, Debby. It may not have been as long a life as either you or Merlin might have desired, but it was a wonderful life.

Debby, I think it was Ghyslaine who once gave someone this advice, and it struck me as so wonderful and poignant. Imagine all the souls who pass to the Rainbow Bridge become stars when they cross. Pick a Merlin star, and he will always be with you, brightening your night, bringing smiles on difficult days.

Debby, we love you, we've missed you, and I know the pain hasn't passed yet... but please know we're here for you!!!!



post #18 of 34
Debby, that was such a beautiful tribute to Merlin. Your love for him touched each work you put down for him, just as it touched each and every day that you spent with him.

He was a very special kitty, with a very special Mommy. He is not gone, he will never be gone. He will always be with you in your heart.
post #19 of 34
Hi Debby. I really enjoyed reading about Merlin. He sounds like he was a wonderful friend and companion. Definately a rare and entertaining personality.

I'm sorry he had to go to The Bridge when he did. I can only imagine how hard that must have been, and still is. It's perfectly understandable that you needed time away from here. I would have done the same.

post #20 of 34
Debby, your tribute to Merlin was beautiful. It's obvious how much you loved him, and how much he meant to you. And I'm sure he knew that, and loved you back just as much. You were a good mommy to Merlin, and that's what matters.
post #21 of 34
What a lovely tribute to who was an obvoisely special, special lil babey

My thoughts are with you Debby! Stay Strong!
post #22 of 34
Debby darling, I'm so happy to have finally seen your tribute. It is beautifully written and heartfelt in the extreme. The love you held for Merlin, and his for you, comes through so strongly.

But most of all - it is that important first step in coming to terms with what happened, and understanding that time will heal.

It's funny how such a small animal can hold such a huge piece of our hearts - we all either have, or have lost our own personal 'Merlin' - that cat with which we have that special bond, that unspoken agreement of affection and understanding; and everyone here so understands the intense loss you've felt.

I do hope this tribute and the responses you receive to them will give you the strength to venture back to The Cat Site, albeit gradually.

Loads of love
post #23 of 34
Hey Debby,
I'm sorry that merlin has left for the bridge. he sounds really like a sweet little fella who loved freedom and all..let yourself grieve and let yourself be assured that he is off to somewhere better with lots of other playmates. You have loved him unconditionally and this is the best you could have done for him. Please dun feel guilty about it anymore. Anytime u need somebody to talk about merlin, you know the whole board is here to listen.
post #24 of 34
Debby that was beautiful and brought tears to my eyes! You managed to convey not only your deep sorrow but also portray Merlin as the wonderful cat he was. I feel like I know him so much better now.
post #25 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thank you all!!!!!!!

Reading your replies did make me cry, as I knew it would...but it also made me feel a bit better inside, just to know that you all read about him, and knew him in a way, through my tribute.

Thank you for taking the time to read it and your kind words.

I still look out the bedroom window every night to see the spot he is buried in and tell him I love him and miss him.
post #26 of 34
Omgosh he was so gorgeous!!!!
post #27 of 34
Merlin is cute and he knows it.

Debby hun just think of all the female cats who are turning a "whisker" when they see that gorgeous thing walk by

post #28 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thank you! I have more pics of him stored on my digital camera, but I have to figure out how to transfer them to the computer first! I'm not very smart at these things!
post #29 of 34
Awww Debby I look forward to seeing them!
post #30 of 34
Thread Starter 
I miss my Merlin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's been hitting me really hard lately.
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