Handsome Merlin came to my foster home completely by coincidence – another one! I’m going to start counting the times I use that word

One of our other cats got sick on a weekend when our regular vet was not available, so we rushed him to a 24-hour hospital and got him sorted out.

As we were paying the bill, we noticed a cat carrier on the floor by the counter. It contained a large black cat. “Where’s he going?”, asked Grant. “Oh, he just got dropped off. He’s waiting to get taken in”. Grant and I looked at each other. “Can we take him?” Grant asked, seizing the carrier handle. And off we went. I suppose it saved the hospital having to do paperwork and I daresay they didn’t need another black cat. They are a dime a dozen.

Sadly this seems true. Black cats are the last to be adopted even if they are young and healthy. An older black cat with problems doesn’t stand a chance unless a “black-cat rescuer” comes by. There are such people.

Some cat-people monitor petfinder and the local “kill” shelters and when they see a cat that has run out of time, they go down and get it. I imagine some people dedicate themselves to black cats just because the odds are stacked against them and it is so unfair. Black cats are wonderful. I can’t believe people are still superstitious about them.

I would have taken cats off death row too, if I hadn’t always been trying to find space for the cats people kept bringing me.

One of the cats I was more than willing to take in was Lily. We got a call from a lady who was desperate to place a cat that had been visiting her sister in a nursing home. They had been feeding the little stray on the patio outside her sister’s room. There had been no problems at all, but the nursing home management, like nursing home managers everywhere, had to stick their oar in.

Lily was just a very shy, quiet little creature that could not have caused anyone a problem. I suppose nursing home managers have a rigid set of rules they are obliged to follow, but it seems a sorry state of affairs, considering the comfort patients often derive from animal contact.

I was more than delighted to accept Lily but I felt very sad about her situation. I think she really liked the lady who cared for her.

Merlin was delighted to greet her too, even though he acted a bit coy at first. That’s who he was looking at in the above picture.

Merlin was an absolutely gorgeous cat. He was black and yet, as you can see, he was only black in certain light. We have no idea where he came from or what sort of cat he was. When I look at the bottom right picture, I think he could easily have been Burmese. He carried himself like a “posh” cat!

We didn’t care what Merlin’s history was. He was just another lovely cat that we accommodated temporarily, and his stay was comparatively short. After only two months we got a call from a young college student who wanted to meet Merlin. He showed up with a bunch of his college buddies and they seemed like really nice chaps.

Grant and I went to check out the apartment where the lads were living, bringing Merlin along to get his input. He moved in on the spot. We could picture him lazing around with his new friends, a cigar in one claw, a beer in the other. It appeared to be a good match.

The awful thing about giving cats up for adoption is that you very rarely get to know how their life goes after you turn them over. You can’t expect people to keep in touch, and if you’re like me, you always worry and wonder. Merlin was so cool. I often think of him.

7 thoughts on “Merlin

  1. Merlin reminds me of my dear Duffy who died of an acute asthma attack several months ago. I still have one black cat, Henry, who is the world’s most chilled out cat.

  2. How wonderful that Merlin got to be a college student! I love ALL cats, but black ones have a special place in my heart. Furby was a grey tabby when I adopted him, but over the years, his color changed constantly. Sometimes, it was because of the season of the year as well as the light he was in. He eventually became almost all black. Minnie, is completely black except for one white whisker!

  3. Carolyn, I just saw the painting (which I am calling Cats of all Colors) that you donated to the Mansion Memory Care Unit and I just love it! You know, it made me think of you before I read of who Jon said donated it. Did you paint it?

  4. Gosh no….I should be so talented. The artist is Drew Strouble whose website is He does wonderful paintings. He’s on Facebook too.

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