One of my friends at work was looking through these pages and she suddenly exclaimed, "You haven't done a page for Merlin!" And she's right, I really should count Merlin among my cats.
OK, so he's an outdoor cat. "The Stray Who Came to Stay," you might call him. He showed up in March 2006, sitting on my back porch and giving me "the eyes" through the back door.
Could you resist that face?
Anyway, he hung around for weeks and I assumed he was just visiting at first, but it got to the point where he was on the patio day and night and I began to think he might have been abandonded. In the meantime, of course, I was putting food out for him!
I speculate that he had belonged to a neighbor who had moved out. Being a responsible pet owner, the first thing I did was take him to get him neutered, only to find out he was already neutered, lol! Then I decided if he wanted to stay, he was welcome.
I kept him as an outdoor cat because he's so happy outside, as you can see in this photo.
And, as you can see, he certainly doesn't miss many groceries. I wonder if he doesn't have about three or four households in the neighborhood putting food out for him.
In addition, he apparently likes to hunt. You can see him in action below. He's brought me various "gifts" including a live hummingbird that he dropped in my hand and a mouse he left on the patio etc.
I've brought him in the house a couple of times, when the weather has been really bad outside. I do keep him confined to the bathroom overnight and he gets put right back outside in the morning.
When Eric and I moved from my little cottage where Merlin had taken up residence on the back patio, to another home a few miles away, I was in a dilemma.
He was a stray cat so I thought, but did he actually have a home nearby? Should I leave him, should I take him with me? If I took him to the new house, should I put him outside or should I make him an indoor cat? If I put him out, what would happen if he wandered and got lost? If I kept him in, would he be depressed at not being allowed out. What to do... what to do...
I set an vet appointment for him in readiness for moving, and wouldn't you know, he disappeared that day. In fact I didn't see him for several days and I ended up moving without him, which made me sad.
But when I went back to the cottage to clean up, vacuum etc. he was sitting on the back doorstep wandering where everyone had gone. As I mention elsewhere on this site, I called Eric in tears, and asked him if I should bring him to the new house. Eric said if Merlin would let me catch him, to go ahead and take him over.
It was a bit of a production, the carrier didn't hold up and I drove from one house to the other with Merlin by the scruff of the neck, but we made it safely in the end.
Once I got him home, I took it slowly introducing him to the others.
Merlin settled in well and never tried to get out, even having been an outside cat for so long. He was always a huge cat, and certainly a character. When Katie met him, she dubbed him "Onslow" - the character from Keeping Up Appearances, and it certainly fit him.
When we took in Cali and her kittens, we were thrilled that Merlin and Cali bonded very quickly. They spent all day either playing together or curled up together. He also took on the role as "Uncle Merlin" to Cali's kittens.
Sadly we lost Merlin to tongue cancer in March 2015. It was a total shock and completely unexpected. He was only about seven or eight.
RIP Merlin, you big lug, we will miss you.
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