On November 22, 1998, Scott and I lost a dear friend. Merlin was 17 years old, mostly blind from cataracts, shaky of limb, and usually grouchy, and after a spinal stroke and the discovery of a failing heart, we had to make the decision to let him go. It was heart-breaking. But that awful memory is not how I want to remember my friend of all those years.

Merlin's Page

August 21, 1981 - November 22, 1998

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As most of our friends can tell you, Merlin was not always the sweetest tempered of cats. He was known to bite occasionally, yowled and hissed horribly when anyone but us tried to feed or care for him, and once latched onto a pant leg and wouldn't let go, but those occasions were few and far between. Merlin was watchful, observing while the other cats had fun, and in later years, mostly asleep, causing my dear husband to christen him "The Big, Black Blob" and sing the song to him from the 50's version of the movie. That pretty well summed it up, since, particularly in his later years, Merlin mostly stayed in one position.

It wasn't always that way. When I was adopted by Merlin at the age of 4 weeks (him, not me), he was a tiny ball of black fluff with a very strong personality. He crawled out of his nice, warm box, marched up to me and pounded me with his paw. The rest is history. Merlin was a constant in my life for all those years, through the change of 2 roommates, 5 homes, 5 boyfriends and one husband. He endured it all and prospered, but I was still his human and he was my cat. He would hop up on my lap, stroll the length of my body and plant his sizable body (17 pounds at one point) on my chest, with his head tucked under my chin. He slept in my bed (at least before the husband part) and bombarded me from tall window sills at odd hours of the night. Ever been jumped on from three feet in the air by 17 pounds of furball? He ate the thawing porkchops, broke topshelf vases and managed to stuck himself full of rubber cement. It was a life full of adventures.

merlin02 When Merlin was three, he was presented with the first real challenge to my affections in the form of Sunfall To Ennien (Sunny), the stray my roommate Jeanne found in a snowdrift. No problem. Merlin never gave her a chance to move in on his territory. He tolerated her, even played with her, but knew my affections were safe. When he was 11, we presented Merlin with his second, even greater challenge in the form of Data, the Cat from Hell, another stray adopted by Scott. Merlin barely lifted a paw, earning himself a full can of Sheba promised to him by Scott if he didn't eat the kitten. He didn't. Didn't eat the catfood either. (Data did.) Since that time, the three have lived in together in a semi-truce, and as far as we know, Merlin never did hurt the kitten.

A 17-pound cat is a BIG cat. Merlin was big. He filled up my sizable lap and oozed over the arms of chairs. Some of it was his long, silky fur, but most was just him. If there was a patch of sunlight to be found, he would find it and lie in it, working on his tan. Scott said he was a Jamaica Blob and wanted to get a tan, mon. Maybe so. The sun did bring out the reddish Burmese in his black fur. Then there were the times he would lie on the floor on his back, front paws curled like an otter. You could put a toy in his paws and he would continue to lie there, oblivious to all. Maybe a rock and a clamshell would have been more appropriate.

merlin01 For the last year, Merlin attached himself to me almost continuously when I was in the house. He met me at the door, jumped in my lap at any chance and stayed until I put him down. He slept and seldom moved. I don't know if I was just the warmest place to sleep and a comfort for his old bones, or if he just wanted the comfort of being with his human. It was irritating to always have him there and I often got mad and made him get down, but sometimes I just held him curled in my arms for hours. I'm glad now that I did. It was my final gift to him - that and letting him go with no more suffering. My lap seems empty now, even when it's filled by Data and Sunny.

Merlin is gone and there will never be another cat like him. I think he was the closest thing I'll ever have to a child. I know I'll always have a cat or two around, furballs to clean up, a litter box to change, but there will never be another Big Black Blob.

Rest well, dear friend. We miss you!
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