Our effervescent Merlin
The year 2016 has brought with it a new direction for me. In June, I completed the lengthy process to qualify as an Immigration Consultant. The year also came with an unexpected surprise: a second cat. His name is Merlin.
Kidney failure claimed our beloved Obi-Wan in late July of 2015. Bob and I and Obi-Wan’s furry fellow house cat Bebe, missed Obi-Wan terribly, though we were not ready for another animal. Last December, one of Bob’s friends from the USA offered us a cat from a Michigan shelter where his wife volunteered part-time, and my sister Donna offered us her own cat, which she could not take on her next diplomatic posting.
Then one Friday in late February, Bob stopped at our favourite pet shop to get some food for Bebe. At the shop, they have an arrangement with a cat rescue agency called Ninth Life Cat Rescue. They accept cat litters, arrange for people to foster expecting females, and place both kittens and also older cats given up for one reason or another by their owners.
One such cat, named Merlin, was at the shop on that day. Bob asked what the story was on Merlin. Merlin had been raised and owned by a lady, now elderly, who was slipping into dementia, and was struggling to remember to look after Merlin. Just past his 13th birthday, Merlin needed a new home. Bob picked him up, and something magic happened to both of them.
Bob had never in his life brought home an animal. He signed Merlin out to be a ‘foster cat.’ Bebe has taken her time adjusting to Merlin, but Bob and I fell in love with Merlin instantly. Merlin and Bob have a strong bond reminiscent of the friendship Bob and Obi-Wan shared. About two weeks after Merlin came into our home, we brought him to our vet for a thorough check-up, including blood and urine samples. Merlin passed with no issues. Bob signed the adoption papers that day, and Merlin became ours.
Merlin even has his own Facebook Page. Be sure to Like Merlin.
Merlin has taken to his public duties like a duck to water, going with Bob to the International Children’s Day festival in Toronto, where he sat on the podium as Bob spoke; making two appearances on Canada Day; helping Scouts in their annual tree planting; and hanging out with seniors in Mississauga.
Merlin is a smart cat. He’s learned to shake hands, and walks well on his leash. And he is a very handsome boy with piercing blue-grey eyes. Merlin is no live-and-let-live cat. He wants to be where his people are, and be part of whatever his people may be doing. Merlin loves his back yard, and a snooze in the gazebo is his idea of how to spend a summer afternoon. We think Merlin is onto something.
In the first week of his July vacation after Canada Day, Bob needed to relax and let go of the day-to-day need to stay focused and pent-up in his MPP job. He tends to stretch out in the gazebo in that first vacation week, and go through a book or two. Merlin can be found just beneath Bob’s seat in the gazebo. Bebe is indifferent to going for a walk around the block, but Merlin follows Bob right to the door. In his harness walking with Bob, Merlin now walks on the sidewalk. He follows Bob much like a dog. From time to time, Merlin likes to be picked up during his walk. He is always picked up when it is time to cross the street, and sits at the edge of the street. Merlin enjoys his trips to the park.
As we commemorate Obi-Wan’s life a year after his July 2015 passing, Bob and I are convinced that from the hereafter, our late cat not only pulled some strings to offer us this exceptional animal, but seemed to breathe a bit of himself into Merlin. Our big, white, handsome cat, Merlin, is one of the best things to happen to us during the year 2016.
We hope many of our friends will be able to visit, say hello to, and shake hands with Merlin.