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The loss of a pet

First of all, I’m astonished that over two weeks have gone by since I made my last post. It feels like it was last week! But I suppose the good thing about time seeming to fly by is that at this rate, spring will be here before I know it! And am I ever looking forward to SPRING!

Last week was very sad and traumatic around the Burke household. Last Saturday night our cat Merlin went a bit crazy and started to attack our dog Max, who is very gentle and whom Merlin has had a perfectly fine relationship with for several years. A similar incident occurred about three weeks ago. Everyone was in the living room, and all of a sudden Merlin just went nuts and started attacking everyone, not just the dog. Stephanie tried grabbing him because it seemed he was going to hurt the kids and she got a couple of nasty bites. The cat just seemed to be terrified of everyone, even our other cat Vivian. But Stephanie got him into the bathroom and he calmed down after maybe half an hour. We had no idea what set him off. It was incredibly strange. I took him to the vet and they kept him for a few days, but could find nothing wrong with him. No rabies, not even a temperature.

So last Saturday when the same thing began to happen again in the living room, the kids and Stephanie immediately ran into another room and I grabbed a blanket and threw it over Merlin. Of course this didn’t help Merlin much, but when everyone had retreated upstairs with Max I released him. He shot away and went under the kitchen table, screeching like a wild beast. And for the next hour and a half  I tried in vain to get him into the laundry/cat room. I tried luring him with food and a soothing voice, but nothing worked. He ended up under the computer desk. I put the cat carrier near him, but he’d have nothing of it (unlike last time). And whenever I would enter the room or approach him at all, he made the most horrific sounds I’ve ever heard. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that afraid of an animal in all my life! The gentle, chubby kitty that would lay next to me on the couch at night had become some kind of insane demon.

He finally left the computer room and ended up back in the living room, sitting on the window ledge, hissing and growling whenever I approached. I decided to leave him in the window and we all went to bed. In the middle of the night he went through the cat door to use the litter box. We had it set so it wouldn’t open from the inside, and there he stayed until morning. He was more like his usual self, but Stephanie went in to feed him and said he still seemed a little odd. And he growled a bit whenever he heard Max walk by outside the door.

So Steph got him in the cat carrier and I took him over to our vets office once again for observation. But there was no doubt in my mind, or Stephanie’s, that Merlin could not be allowed back in our home.

The next day they checked him out again and could find no outward signs of illness. Back in October Merlin had somehow slipped out the back door while someone let Max out, and we didn’t know he was gone until morning. After much searching and talking with neighbors, he finally returned about eleven o’clock that night after I’d put his bed out on the front porch. He had seemed to be in pretty good shape considering he’d never been outside before. Although he hadn’t been hungry when he came back home, which seemed odd at the time.

So we’ll never know what was really going on with Merlin (or ‘Mermer’, as Arthur called him when they were both very young). Out vet and I had a theory that he may have developed a brain tumor that caused his bizarre behavior. Or maybe he somehow ate something during his ‘great adventure’ last Fall that did something weird to him. Or something else happened, maybe some traumatic encounter with a dog? …Who knows?

But after going over all the options we could think of, we had no choice but to have Mermer put to sleep last Monday. I brought him home and we buried him next to our dog Tessa, who died in November. They were best buddies.

So in three months we’ve gone from four pets to two! Arthur was especially upset over losing his friend. And even now, when I lay on the couch to watch ‘Fringe’ on Friday night, I still expect Mermer to jump up and snuggle down on the blanket next to me. Or to see him sprawled on the kitchen floor in the morning, licking himself, yapping for his breakfast.

Good-bye Mermer.

Categories: Animals
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