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Our sweet Chicken Cat

Merlin was born in a barn, and died beside the sea.

Out sweet little chicken cat, the scrawny gray kitten we really did find in a smelly old barn as a Valentine’s Day gift for our three children in 1997 … the cat who became my muse as the inspiration for my first children’s book … passed on during our annual vacation in Maine on July 20, 2010.

All loved pets are special. Merlin was certainly special. We were informed by our vet in early July that he had a tumor and wouldn’t last long. He’d lost a lot of weight very quickly. That was the case, too, with my wonderful father who died of pancreatic cancer in December 1989 … never sick a day in his life, and then very sick for a short time, and then gone.

We had rented a home in Maine several months ago with plans to spend from the 17th to the 24th there. We didn’t want to leave Merlin home with a stranger or kenneled, not knowing how long he would make it, so we took him with us.

While he clearly wasn’t well, the trip was uneventful. We made space for a large kennel for him in the car with everything he needed, and he took all medication without complaint. While we weren’t allowed pets at the house in Maine, the owner graciously made an exception for Merlin. We’d brought a little tent for him so he could feel the sea breeze and live in comfort.

I brought him to a local vet on Tuesday after he stopped taking medication. The doctor’s name was Chris Angel, and perhaps that should have been a clue. He informed me that the tumor was very large now … that we basically had a five pound cat with a three pound tumor. He said it would be kindest to put him to sleep.

Merlin spent his last day by the ocean. He found a nice shady spot to curl up in under a berry bush. I really miss him.

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