A Story About Our Black Cat

About nine months ago I read this post from E.  click ‘here‘.  It’s about her cat M. (I just loved she chose to keep him anonymous!)  When I found E.’s blog The Third Glance I went to the beginning and read every single post she’d written.  She was fairly new to the blogging world and so it was relatively easy to read all her posts in a few days.  I sent Richard the link to My Cat is My Hero because we have a black cat also with a name starting with the letter M.  Also from a rescue shelter and also a pet that we absolutely adore.  Unlike E.’s cat however, Merlin announces his presence to anyone who is capable of bending down to pet him.  He demands attention and shamelessly pursues anyone who seems remotely willing to give him his due.

Prior to Merlin, Richard was a self-proclaimed “dog man”.  He explained to me patiently that he did not particularly like cats, that given his preference he would surround himself with dogs.  In fact, Richard, when I brought up the idea of getting a cat after the children kept asking for one, said to me, “If you care about me and our marriage, you will not bring this up again.”  To which I replied, “I do care about you and our marriage.”  And the subject was dropped.  (By me.)  However that did not hold for Nic and Emma.  They brought the subject up repeatedly (and I did nothing to discourage them, though I will deny this to Richard, even after he reads this here, I’m still going to deny it.)  And finally when Emma said, in a particularly adorable and sad voice, “Bring kitty home?” while at our weekly trip to the pet store, Richard said, “What do you think about getting a cat?”  To which I casually replied, “Oh, good idea.” Eye roll and the slightest of smirks.

When we arrived at the pet store we explained that the cat we were looking for would need to be comfortable with children and loud music.  One of the employees brought over a rust colored cat whom he assured us loved being held and was a “lap cat”.  He was adorable, but Richard looking slightly ill, leaned over as I held the kitty in my lap and whispered, “We are not getting that cat, he looks like liverwurst.”  “He does not Dad!” Nic cried.  But Richard stood firm.  We continued to view the dozens of cats and then Nic said, “Mom.  Look at this one!” And there he was, black as chimney soot, green eyes calmly staring at us, he even swaggered as he made his way over to us.   I had been reading Temple Grandin’s book, Animals Make Us Human  and had made a mental note about her suggestion that black, male cats were often calmer and she advised gently putting the cat on his back with a light hand on his belly to see what he would do.  If he bit or clawed or panicked, he was probably not the right cat for a family with children, but if he was calm, he was, most likely ideal.  I did as suggested and Merlin purred, relishing in the attention, then righted himself when he’d had enough and wandered over to Emma, who began to pet him.

Both Nic and Emma expressed their approval and after the lengthy intake process where we had to present referrals and swear to uphold a lengthy list of requirements such as promising not to declaw him, take him regularly to the vet, etc we were allowed to bring Merlin home.  Though there was an anguished moment when Nic asked Richard, “Dad, aren’t you so excited?” And Richard said loudly, “Yeah, right Nic.  I am NOT excited to have this animal come home with us.” Meanwhile the manager of the shelter was standing behind Richard looking none too pleased.  It was one of those moments when I thought our plans to adopt were dashed and Merlin would not be released to us after all.  But even with Richard’s ill-timed, less than enthusiastic response, within hours Merlin was home and strutting about as if he owned the place and by the second day was scaling the curtains, climbing to the highest places he could find, walking like a tightrope walker along the curtain rods and then leaping down on top of us, much to our terror.

Despite all of this, or perhaps because of it, Richard began to soften.  Merlin being the brilliant cat that he is, immediately began following Richard around as though he were a faithful hound and NOT a cat at all.  Within a week Richard was speaking to him and by the end of that first month it was clear Richard had succumbed to Merlin’s charms.  In addition to all of this there were sightings by Nic of him using the toilet to pee and it was also around this time that Merlin taught us to play fetch with him, which sealed the deal for Richard who now cannot be away from Merlin for more than a few hours before mentioning him.

Please enjoy this video, shot by the ever adoring, Richard just last week while I go brine our turkey.


18 responses to “A Story About Our Black Cat

  1. That’s a beautiful cat, I love dogs the most but I love cats too, I think black animals are beautiful, it’s sad that most people wouldn’t take a black cat, good thing that you did. 🙂
    I love cats as much as I love snakes and horses.

  2. It is my sincerest hope to not ever be without a pet. So glad you found each other. 🙂

  3. I loved the story and approve of Merlin’s pose on the bookshelf.

  4. I’m quite sure that liverwurst cat is dead by now, but you have to stop blaming me! Ha! One point left out: I really insisted on a black cat because only a black cat was an option for me. It had to at least look cool. Merlin turned out to be cool to the core, stole my heart away and now I like all cats! Yes, I’ve been converted to felinism. Plus, he matches all my clothes.

    • That adorable liverwurst, I mean odd colored cat was younger than Merlin. And now that you have become a cat lover, I’m thinking we should revisit the idea of the liverwurst kitty, because I’ll bet Merlin would like a friend… ;D

  5. Ok, I’m suffering from a herniated disc and it hurts to laugh, but seeing a cat fetch was totally worth it!

    My husband is decidely NOT an “animal person” – cats, or dogs. He has, however, succumbed to the charms of both the pets we’ve had for most of our marriage.

    He got me our cat, Zoey, for my 25th birthday. I had just left my ex-boyfriend, and given him custody of the two cats I adored, because I initially moved back in with my parents. I was sorely missing them, so Joel got me one of the kittens from a litter his mom’s cat had just had. At the time, he was off work healing from a car accident he’d had on the job, and I was working full time. So, Zoey became his full time companion. He was essentially an “only child”, and adored us, but loathed everyone else. My niece referred to him as Psycho Kitty – he’d rub up against you, exposing his tummy, wanting to be pet, and then BAM – he’d wrap his legs around your arm and start biting you! But, we loved him – and I was terrified how he’d react to us bringing a baby home!

    Risa never wanted anything to do with Zoey, which was fine with him. He tolerated her pretty well cause she left him alone. Jesse, on the other hand, was nowhere as considerate. The second he began walking, he began chasing the poor thing. It soon became a battle of wills, with Zoey usually taking refuge downstairs. The poor guy was getting up in years by then, and just didn’t have it in him to fight off a toddler!

    About six months after we had to have him put to sleep, we adopted Stuey. He was found during a week of 100 plus degree weather, wandering near a park that is apparently a big dumping ground for animals. 😦 He was about six months old, no collar or microchip, and ridden with fleas. He was at the shelter for a week before we came along.

    I’ll never forget seeing him for the first time. Joel spotted him first – all the other dogs were jumping all around, barking and excited, wanting attention. Poor Stuey sat in the far corner of his kennel, shaking and terrified. He immediately warmed up to me, though, and calmed down as I pet him. We were told his age, and that he was a “beagle/basset” mix, who wouldn’t get much bigger – as an adult he weighs in at about 50 pounds.

    That was over two years ago. And while he is a ROYAL pain in the ass most days, I love him dearly. He is the very defintion of the faithful hound dog – officially, he’s the family dog. And he loves all of us, but is truly a Mama’s Boy. He literally doesn’t even like me out of his sight. As I write this, he’s lying on the bed, just a few feet away.

    As for Joel and the kids – they adore him, even Risa. She’s really started to play with him the last six months or so, and nothing makes him happier than getting “lovins” from his little girl. He sleeps with Jesse every nite, greets Joel enthusiastically every day, and is generally just a big, spoiled baby.

    Your Merlin is beautiful. He looks like a mini panther! I find it hilarious that Richard is now a “cat person”. Too funny! I grew up with dogs but truly love all animals.

  6. purrrrrrrrrrr! mrrrrow 🙂

    I am currently parenting 2 cats – there’s a kitty living in my office at work temporarily. It’s wonderful having an office kitty. But I ❤ my baby M at home more. I'm just babysitting the office kitty.

  7. I am not a cat person. I wound up with a cat twice because I am an animal person and I genuinely loved my rarely mentioned cat Phantom. I took her because at the time our local SPCA had not gone no kill and there was always a surplus of cats. She was born outside my door and it was a difficult delivery so I thought she might be brain damaged so I agreed to take her when she was old enough.

    I think she knew I was not a cat person because she was very doglike for a cat. I had her for several years before introducing a dog into the pack. It was regretably a white dog as Phantom too about 3 seconds to turn the dogs face red. They did learn to get along over time and the cat had this weird ability to find the dog. We lived in a suburb that bordered on a huge park and the dog liked to elope for a walk. I could say Find Tiny and dang if the cat couldn’t find the dog and get the dog back to the house in minutes where if I tried I could sometimes spot the dog but not convince her she wanted to come home.

    When Tiny died and I got a puppy things went smoother. I had read they likely would (introducing a juvenile of a species tends to be easier they say than two adults) Phantom whapped Shadow around a lot but always kept her claws in and they would greet each other with a nose rub more frequently than Tiny and Phantom (they did it once a day usually) The cat hasn’t been moved to my new place though since I live on a busy road and she’s an indoor/outdoor cat. Loves to hunt. The day or day after I brought Shadow home I think she killed something like 18 mice in record time as if demonstrating how much more useful she was as a breadwinner than the tiny new canine I was carrying around.

    I still recall vividly one day shortly after I got Tiny waking in the morning to some light streaming in onto me and the cat curled on my chest and the dog tucked in beside me. That was contentment.

  8. I love this story. The names are pretty great too!

  9. Diversity is Art immediately captured my attention because of liking cats, horses and even Snakes! What a surprise! Most people detest snakes, but I’ve always liked them too, especially rattlesnakes because they’re such gentlemen/ladies, always warning you before they strike, and then they devour rodents, which can be a good thing, as in the animal world, rodents are not my favorite.

    As you know, I would certainly have a cat if I didn’t have a doggy-door through which a cat would almost certainly learn to go, and then be in coyote/fox land, so it’s only dogs for me.

    Love the video. Merlin is a real sweetheart. So glad you rescued him!

    Love all around,


  10. We’ve got our first dog, Mina, about 4 years ago, when Jane first received his diagnosis at the age of 6. As I was looking for more information on developmental delays and autism, one of the first things that showed up was a concept of animal assisted therapy. Although as an approach it is not well researched, risks weer minimal, so we’ve got the dog. At the beginning, Jane was ignoring the animal, but gradually he become really fond of the dog. Later, Mina fell in love with a local dog, she got a daughter, and then two more puppies before she died with violent death in 2011. Chiara & Giuseppe are the puppies we are left with.
    I would say that an experience of taking care of an animal was very important for my son. He is more tolerant, more open to new experiences, he has felt the joy of job well done and immediate reward (feed the dog – she will love you). Although it was a tragic accident that we lost our first dog, it taught him on the life cycle, coping with loss and grief.
    I thing that having a pet is wonderful for every child, but it is even more important for special kids.
    Kind regards,

  11. Merlin is too awesome!! Love black cats, I used to have two. My big fluffy lion like kitty was named Felix would play fetch with me. Awww….. you reminded me of good times. So glad that Merlin has been a wonderful addition to your family! He is a beauty.

    Cats rule! hee hee

  12. Ah, fellow ailurophiles!

    We’ve always had cats (since 2 years before I was born, and I’m the oldest). I think my adolescence was saved from being an absolute disaster because of my darling Brightspot. And I swear Imber (she of the cute face on my gravatar) is Brightspot’s reincarnation / next life. Both were / are possessive of me, and 1-person cats.

    I could never imagine living without cats. They’re too necessary. (Dogs are okay, too, like Sancho Panza – my parents’ Costa Rican mutt – but they’re noisier and less independent than cats – for the most part, Mew can be as noisy as Sancho – so I’m not as fond of them. But they’re nice.)

    🙂 tagAught

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