Fostering cats was rather like beating myself with a big stick.
Emotionally, it was extremely hard because I have awful separation anxiety and letting my fosters go was always traumatic.
But I’d promised myself that when I retired, I would do something to help animals. This was the only way I could do it, so I just got on with it. Some situations were easier than others.
Merlin came to us quite by chance. One of the other cats had a medical drama, on a holiday weekend, which somehow always seemed to be the case!
So, we’d gone off to an emergency vet that also functioned as a shelter and got our cat sorted out. As we were settling the bill, someone came in with a carrier and placed it on the floor by the counter.
“Oh”, said the receptionist, “is that the rescue?”
Yes, it was a cat someone had trapped and was dropping off.
Grant and I looked at one another.
Then we looked at the cat. A black cat. They are always the last to get homes because people have superstitions about them.
Grant turned to the receptionist and asked “can we take him? We have a foster home.”
So we came home with an additional cat. Grant named him Merlin and as we got to know him, it seemed appropriate.
How beautiful was Merlin! We decided that somewhere in his ancestry, he must have had some fancy genes. In a strong light his coat became a deep chocolate brown and his head had a noble shape.
He merged with the rest of the fosters quite happily.
Merlin had a great personality.
Always alert and ready for fun.
Looking through my photographs to find Merlin, I discovered that he arrived at about the time I had accepted Lily. Poor, forlorn little cat that was being evicted from a nursing home, to the great distress of the nice lady who had been feeding her.
I promised to take good care of her and before long she was upstairs, introducing herself to Panther, my main man and to Joely, my bunny.
If I had not had, upstairs, a resident black cat, I would so much have loved to keep Merlin. But you have to keep perspective and apply common sense.
Panther was my Big Buddy. He was cool with other cats, but he was the Boss. Introducing another male cat with personality plus and a large one at that (Panther was little) would not have been fair to either.
To my surprise I got a call quite soon after I’d listed Merlin for adoption.
Three young college lads came to meet him and it seemed like a good match. We did the home visit and watched Merlin explore his new digs.
Even if my mind becomes vague, I don’t think I shall ever forget any of the cats I fostered, and I have always carried them around in my heart.
Some of the new owners very kindly kept in touch with us, so periodically, I would get an update, but it wasn’t something I thought I could ask people to do. Some I was able to keep track of on Facebook.
Merlin had touched a soft spot with me and two years ago, I sent a Facebook message to the lad who had adopted him, not really expecting to get a reply.
But yesterday, two years later, a reply came! The owner said he doesn’t look much at FB. Merlin is fine! His owner got a job that involves travelling a lot so Merlin, now Denzel, lives with his parents and has formed a bond with his mother.
I can’t tell you how happy that made me!