1993 - 2009
Merlin was all cat, but sometimes I wondered if he wasn't a whole lot more. He was unusually sensitive to the needs of those around him, with almost canine attention and devotion, and communicated his feelings unambiguously. He once came to find me when Curi was trapped in the closet, and on another occasion when she got locked in the garage. He was the peacemaker, always ending fights without violence rather than joining the fray. He was attentive to me when I was sick, and generally staid close to Eilien, or me, whenever anything seemed to be wrong. In fact, acknowledging that he had long term health problems, his final downward spiral started shortly after he lost his sister Love, and they both ended up passing within months of each other. Medically, Merlin died of a broken heart.
That all said, he could be a crafty schmooze. For years, he would jump up onto Eilien's lap, after she was done eating but still at the table, act sweet and court attention, but always with one eye on the table and any handy tidbits he might like to try, and often got. He would wake me up most mornings that we slept together, by gently prodding my side or touching my face. I could convince him to wait (sometimes by brandishing the squirt bottle), but after fifteen minutes or so, his impatience would get the better of him, and it would start all over. He liked to wrestle, with me, Love, Bert, or Curi, and would stave off boredom by running amok in the basement, with triumphant cries whenever he stopped on a high vantage point. Whenver he broke away and got outside or into some room where he knew he wasn't supposed to be, he would never try to hide, but instead would attract attention, and look back as if to say "Isn't this Cool? Look where I am!"
I never knew a cat that moved so many people, especially considering how painfully shy he could be. He was still making friends up to the last day of his life, 31 March 2009, when he succumbed to euthanasia, in my lap, and ended the ordeal of the previous six weeks. There was something in his face that made me feel like he was always listening, watching, trying to understand. Oddly, his favorite English word to hear was “squirrel”, although I never knew why. It always got his attention when he heard it, and it put him into an expectant mood. We'll all miss you, Squirrelly Merly Boo.