It is now four years ago today since my cat Merlin died and despite the time that has elapsed, I still miss him. Merlin’s death was particularly traumatic because he was only nine months old when he died. It happened at about five a clock in the evening when I heard the sound of a cat coming through the cat flap. This was not unusual, nor was the crying sound Merlin made as he laid on the floor. What was unusual was the fact that he didn’t run towards me and jump on my lap as he usually would. Initially I assumed that Merlin had been playing with bees again and had got himself stung which was a common occurrence.
On picking him up to look for the bee sting, however, there was no sign of one. I set Merlin back on the floor and it was then that I realised he couldn’t stand up. Merlin’s back legs and lower body simply lay limply on the floor. In a panic I ran outside to start the car whilst Rory phoned around looking for an emergency vet. There was no response at all from my car so Rory phoned our friend Owen who immediately set out to come and get us, so we could rush Merlin to the vet. Despite our best efforts Merlin got weaker and weaker on the short drive to the vets surgery and when we arrived he died.
Coming back without Merlin was a shock; although his injuries were severe I had assumed everything would be fine as long as we could get him to the vet quickly. We still don’t know what happened but it is most likely that Merlin had been hit by a car and managed to crawl home. Later we made the heart breaking discovery that there were claw marks all around the path outside the house and on the gate where Merlin had dragged himself home to where he felt safe and where he knew he would find help. I still wonder whether we could have done any more to help him although I’m fairly sure his injuries were too severe, but I can’t help feeling guilty that he died in such pain and I could do nothing.
As most pet owners know losing a much loved pet is like losing a member of the family and this was very much the case with Merlin. Not only did I have to deal with my huge sense of loss but Merlin’s sister Willow spent every day looking for him and crying. It was for Willow mainly that I took on two rescue cats Norman and Ornery (now called Oliver and Oscar). For me taking on those two cats made Merlin’s death more bearable because they so were so badly in need of a loving home. Willow accepted the new cats into her home and they are now one big happy family.
Merlin was such a distinctive personality. He had a very affectionate nature but was also fiercely independent. He was extremely naughty and would swat you with his paw whenever you walked past him. Above all Merlin was full of life and that is how I like to remember him.